How to Measure Customer Satisfaction

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Your customers are crucial for your business’s success; if they remain happy and involved with your brand, they’ll keep buying from you, increasing your revenue and your market share while allowing you to grow. The better their overall customer experience, the less likely they’ll be to switch to a competitor—and the more likely they’ll continue spending money with your brand.

Customer experience itself is a broad topic; it includes elements of customer service, marketing, sales, and multiple other strategies, all designed to give customers the most valuable and memorable experiences with your brand possible. And if you’re going to be successful with a customer experience (CX) strategy, you’ll need to pay attention to and improve many different types of customer interactions.

One of the most important elements of customer experience is customer satisfaction. But how exactly is it defined, and how can you measure it?

What Is Customer Satisfaction?

Customer satisfaction is the degree to which your brand has met or exceeded your customer’s expectations. If you provide customers with exactly what they need and you go above and beyond to provide them with excellent service, customer satisfaction should be high. If your product is lackluster and you make no effort to try and rectify the situation, customer satisfaction should be low.

Customer satisfaction plays an important role in determining not only brand loyalty, but also your brand reputation, word-of-mouth marketing potential, and more.

The Importance of Measuring Customer Satisfaction

Why is it so important to objectively measure customer satisfaction?

There are a few important reasons:

  • Subjective perceptions vs. objective reality. First, you can’t assume that you know how your customers feel. You might have a subjective idea about your customers’ level of satisfaction, but you might be influenced by cognitive biases or limited information. Only objective measurements can tell you how your customers truly feel.
  • Identify problem areas. Measurements also help you identify problematic areas in your business. If you’re measuring satisfaction consistently, you’ll be able to study the specific customers whose experiences weren’t up to par, and figure out what you could be doing differently. It’s a perfect opportunity to learn how to improve.
  • Tracking improvement. This is also a good way to track how you’re improving over time. In other words, if you implement a new customer experience strategy, only customer satisfaction and other measurements will tell you if it’s working. Are your numbers trending upward?

How to Measure Customer Satisfaction

Of course, customer satisfaction can be a tricky thing to measure. It’s primarily based on a customer’s internal, subjective feeling—so how can you measure it objectively?

  • Surveys. One of the most common and most effective ways to measure customer satisfaction is with the help of surveys. Ask your customers a handful of direct questions, including something like “how satisfied are you with your recent purchase?” or “how satisfied are you with your interactions with our brand overall?” You can ask customers to rate their satisfaction on a scale of 1 to 10, or rank themselves as “satisfied,” “highly satisfied,” “dissatisfied,” etc. These survey questions allow you to collect quasi-quantitative data and analyze it effectively.
  • Interviews. If you’re looking for more qualitative data, consider conducting interviews with a small handful of customers to see how they feel about your brand and their past interactions with it. Have they always been satisfied? How do they think you could improve?
  • Reviews. Make it a point to collect reviews from your customers, both for specific products and for their interactions with your brand overall. By reading these reviews, you’ll get a clear sense of how satisfied they are in each area.
  • Live chat transcripts. It may also be a good idea to monitor and regularly review live chat transcripts between your customers and customer service agents. Are customers generally happy with your brand, or upset with it? How do they seem to leave these interactions?
  • Social media mentions. Track the mentions of your brand on social media. In what context are people referring to your brand? Are they promoting your company to their friends and family members, or are they trashing it because of a bad experience?
  • SMS follow-ups. Some companies try to gather more customer experience data with SMS text follow-ups. Sometimes, a quick message prompting users to define their past customer experience is ample to get a sense for how they’re feeling.
  • Customer churn. You can also pay attention to customer churn, or the number of customers you lose. By this point, it may already be too late—but you can learn from departing customers so you can improve satisfaction in your current ones.

Whatever combination of customer satisfaction measurement strategies you use, make sure you employ them consistently. Track customer satisfaction across your entire customer base if possible, and take measurements on a regular basis to see how they change.

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