Why CSAT and NPS Are Not Enough

January 28, 2021

How do you measure your customers' satisfaction? Most companies would have the same answer, with different abbreviations, by introducing a survey of some sort and asking them to answer it.

Asking customers questions or asking them to score the company is used every day across all industries, providing additional information needed to assess the customer's current state. But these methods are not enough to paint a complete picture.

What's missing? More data. The good news is that you already have it - you just need to understand where it is and how you can add it to the mix.

What Are You Really Measuring?

For us to understand what data we need, we first need to understand what information we already hold according to our method of choice:

Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) - 

As the name suggests, this method focuses on understanding customer satisfaction from the product and services provided to them. 

Customers are asked to rank their satisfaction from 1 through 5. The goal is to have as many customers vote 4 or 5. The final score is based on percentage when 80% is considered a good score. 

Net Promoter Score (NPS) - 

This method focuses on overall customer satisfaction, ranked on a scale of 1 through 10. NPS asks customers to rate whether or not they're going to recommend the product to others.

The ideal score is 9 or 10 when customers who rate 7 or 8 are usually not entered into the percentage calculation since they're considered passive. 

Value Enhancement Score (VES) - 

Gartner, who introduced this method, focuses on customer behavioral loyalty (retention, share of wallet & advocacy). It measures the customer's ability to use the product or service and measures the confidence in the decision to purchase them.

It's a 2-question survey, in which the customer has to scale their agreement on a scale of 1 through 7. The questions are whether the product provided value and how was their experience with customer service. 

And More…

There are additional survey and measurement tools in the market. They include:

  • Customer Effort Score (CES), which measures interactions with the company
  • American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), a broader concept that measures the satisfaction of consumers across the U.S. economy
  • "Happy" - "Neutral" - "Not Happy" index for the customer to choose from
  • Bluntly asking the customer what they like or don't like

And so on.

Each method can help you measure a different aspect of your customers' satisfaction levels and provide data. This brings us to the next step of the process:

You've Got the Scores, Now What?

You're running your surveys and analysis, and you know which customers might require more attention than others. At this point, you have some idea as to the status of most of your customers.

On a similar note, you probably also know which customers require more attention than others, whether it's because of a low score, frequent support tickets, or by them merely telling you they're not happy.

Now, you need to act on your findings. Usually, it's up to your Customer Success Managers or Account Managers to reach out to the customer, hear what they have to say, and understand the next steps.

These surveys act as great conversation starters. CSMs can ask customers what they like or don't like about the product, inquire can be improved, or even try and offer additional services and products. 

In other words, these surveys and scores are a good place to start - and now it's up to your CSMs to take it to the finish line. 

How Can You Leverage Your CSMs?

Customer Success Managers are your main point of contact with the customers. In an ideal situation, they'd have a close relationship. The customer feels free to talk about anything, alert if something has gone wrong, and invest in the mutual relationship.

Now, your CSMs need to turn this relationship into data. They need to take those findings, questions, and alerts from the customers, make sure the entire company knows about them, and act on them.

In most companies, any customer-related conversation is (or at least, should be) added to the CRM. However, time constraints and multiple conversations usually end up in a short sentence, bullet points, or a single word that can't convey the entire concept.

In some cases, Customer Success Managers send summary emails with a longer description of what happened and what can be done. But emails are not a great way to store knowledge, especially if you have a high turnover rate of CSMs who won't have access to emails sent before they joined. 

Furthermore, it's not just about keeping track of the conversations; it's also about adding this data to the existing survey-related answer to better understand the situation.

Having said all of this - there's no right or wrong answer. Each team and each company need to understand what works best for them. For this to succeed, you need to make sure you have the following:

  • Cooperation of the team
  • One primary source that stores the data that everyone on the team has access to
  • Time and availability of the CSMs to summarize everything

Once your Customer Success Managers know they can spend extra few minutes writing everything down, it'll become much easier for you to gain that critical data, analyze it, and know your customers' status. 

Bottom Line

We don't want to be too dramatic, but your survey data is only 50% complete without the added input and insights of your CSMs. 

It's enough to help you gain insights into the customers' current status, but it might not be enough to help you understand how to act on it.

What can you do? Ensure you provide the right support, tools, and time for your CSMs to document essential notes.

That means choosing a single platform that anyone can access and use, encouraging the team to over-share their findings, and make sure you practice what you preach - update, document, share, repeat. 

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