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Ways to measure customer perception

Customer perception is not a mystery!

Brands can monitor and measure perception by investing a little time and using smart tools and techniques.

Customer perception, when measured, provides a stream of valuable consumer insights. When a brand conducts deep dive and measures customer perception,  It unlocks behind-the-scenes of how customers look at your brand. You can see how customers engage with and react to your brand.

So how do companies monitor and measure consumer perception when they’re looking at it from behind the scenes? let’s cover the steps for measuring customer satisfaction, tools to measure it with, then we’ll list some ways you can achieve it at your business.

–           Define your goals.

–           Outline a plan.

–           Choose a type of customer satisfaction survey.

–           Customize your survey’s layout and questions.

–           Determine your survey’s trigger.

–           Select your survey medium.

–           Analyze your survey data.

–           Make adjustments and repeat.

Define your goals.

Depending on your business or organizational capabilities, there’s a lot you can do with this information. It’s important to have a goal in mind so you can get the most out of your customer data. Every business faces disappointed or upset customers, but not every company has a solution.

With that in mind, the specific solution isn’t necessarily the important part here. The important part is stepping back and saying, “If we see that a segment of our customers is unsatisfied, what will we do about it?”

Outline your plan.

Once your goals are defined, you need an actionable plan to achieve them. Before collecting customer data, your team should outline the actions you’ll take after feedback is gathered and analyzed. Some examples you can execute are: Improve key UX bottlenecks that contribute to poor customer experience.

Expedite customer support interactions with the most frustrated customers.

Operationalize proactive support like a knowledge base and customer education.

Test different live chat scripts and support strategies.

You can also plan actions based on your segment of highly satisfied customers. Methodologies like NPS® segment your customers into promoters, passives, and detractors for a few reasons. First, NPS provides you with an aggregate satisfaction score, thus providing a health check and a longitudinal metric to track and improve over time.

Second, it gives you the possibility of segmenting customers based on attitudinal metrics like satisfaction. You can offer your promoters special perks or encourage them to spread the word about your business; they’re the most probable people to act as your “external sales force” — in other words, your willing and excited customer advocates.

Choose a type of customer satisfaction survey.

Once you’ve sat down and discussed your plans with key stakeholders, you need to design your survey. The first step you should take is determining the type of metrics you’ll use to measure customer satisfaction. You can choose among a few different options for customer satisfaction surveys. There’s no unanimous agreement on which one is best. A few popular methods are:

Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)

This is the most standard customer satisfaction metric, asking your customer to rate her satisfaction with your business, product, or service. Your CSAT score is then the average rating of your customer responses.

The scale typically ranges between 1 – 3, 1 – 5, or 1 – 10. A larger range is not always better, due to cultural differences in how people rate their satisfaction. An article in Psychological Science, for example, showed that people in individualistic countries choose the more extreme sides more frequently than those in collectivistic countries.

An American is more likely to rate service as “amazing” or “terrible” than for example a Japanese, who will stick to “fine” or “not satisfactory.” Such differences are important to be aware of with an international customer base.

Simpler scales are more robust to cultural differences and more suited for capturing service quality. This is why the US government uses a simple emoji-based CSAT question for its feedback, and why the live chat survey example above uses a 5-star rating.

The charm of the CSAT metric comes from its directness. The downside, however, is that satisfaction is hard to estimate, even for the customer. It’s directed at a sentiment, which is fleeting and mood dependent.

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) measures the likeliness of a customer referring you to someone, and it’s probably the most popular way of measuring customer loyalty. Customers are asked how likely they are to recommend you on a scale from 1 to 10.

The strength of NPS is that it’s not about an emotion of satisfaction, but about your intention of referring – which is easier to answer. It cuts down to the question of whether the product is good enough to put your own reputation on the line.

Calculating your NPS score is quite easy. Take the percentage of respondents who fall within the ‘promoter’ category (10 – 9) and subtract the percentage of ‘detractors’ (0 – 6).

Some tools for measuring NPS work with email questionnaires. Examples are Trustfuel NPS (free) and Promoter.io (paid). Others work with in-app surveys, like Wootric (freemium). The Net Promoter Network offers a benchmark report to give you insight into how you compare in your industry.

One added benefit of NPS is that it directs your customers’ attention towards referring, an option they might not have thought about before.

Customer Effort Score (CES)

With this method, customers aren’t asked for their satisfaction or likeliness of referring, but for the effort, it took them to have their issue solved — generally on a scale from 1 (very low effort) to 7 (very high effort). Your aim is, of course, to lower this average score. According to CEB, 96% of customers with a high effort score showed reduced loyalty in the future, while that was the case with only 9% of those who reported low effort scores.

It challenges the accepted idea that excellent customer service equals exceeding customer expectations. Through their analysis, the authors found that customers are much more likely to punish bad service than to reward good service.

They showed that the costs of exceeded customer expectations are high, while the payoffs are minimal.

Instead of putting all that effort into delighting the customer, the authors argue it should be invested in making the customer experience and problem resolution as easy as possible.

The authors found that the ease of having your problems resolved was a much better predictor for satisfaction than having expectations exceeded. Improve the customer experience by gasifying your customer’s journey.

This new service philosophy requires different measurements, which is why the CES was developed. They showed that CES is superior to CSAT and NPS in predicting consumer behaviour.

Don’t ask, “How satisfied are you with this service?” ; ask, “How easy was it to get in contact/make a purchase/have your issue resolved?”

Relevance is crucial here. The time to pop the question is right after your customer had her experience. Otherwise, the ease of the experience might have been forgotten. It can be asked in-app (ease of the website/app experience), via live chat, or via email (ease of the service).

Check Market offers a free template to create your own CES survey. With some tweaking, many customer service tools are suited for this purpose. Read more in our post on how to get to the right customer effort score question.

Social Media Monitoring

Social media has had an immense impact on the relationship between business and customer. Where before, a great or poor service experience would maybe be shared with the closest family and friends, social media offered an outlet and reach to potentially millions of people. Because of that, it’s the perfect place to hear what your customers are really thinking about you. If you have the right tools to track this, that is. Facebook and Twitter are of course relevant platforms to track, but also platforms like Quora, Yelp, TripAdvisor, etc.

Some helpful tools: Google Alerts. This Google service notifies you when your brand appears in a prominent position. Mention. A powerful freemium tool that gives you a heads up whenever your brand is mentioned on the web. It’s especially handy for social media tracking, for which Google Alerts is not suitable.

Social mention. A free tool that analyzes social mentions of your brand on the web. Among others, it shows the likeliness of your brand being discussed on the web, the ratio of positive to negative mentions, the likelihood of people mentioning your brand repeatedly and the range of influence.

Customize your survey’s layout and questions.

The above four styles are commonly used, but those aren’t your only options for customer satisfaction surveys. Depending on your goals, you can also send longer email surveys that include things like demographic questions. You can customize it to your desires — just remember that shorter surveys tend to have better completion rates.

Most importantly, don’t ask questions if you won’t do anything with the information. This not only wastes your time but your customers’ time as well. And, studies show that 66% of adults believe that the most important thing a company can do is value its time.

Still, sometimes longer surveys can be useful, like in the example below. Sharing a more thorough survey can be advantageous if there’s an added incentive for doing so like a discount or a giveaway entry for a chance to win a prize. This way, you receive more data and the customer feels like they get something in return.

Determine your survey’s trigger.

Tactically, you can trigger a survey pretty much anywhere, at any time, and to anyone. But, doing it strategically, depends specifically on when and where it’s triggered. Good examples of event data that can be used to fire a survey are:

  • Time since signup
  • Key actions taken in your app — for instance, Qualaroo asks right after you receive your 10th survey response
  • Complete user onboarding
Select your survey medium.

In general, there are three primary methods by which you can send customer satisfaction surveys:

  • In-App or On-Site Surveys
  • Post-Service or Post-Purchase Surveys
  • Long Email Surveys
Analyze your survey data.

Once you’ve collected your data, make sure it doesn’t just sit there dormant and unused. You’ve got all this customer insight, and it’s just waiting to be uncovered!

Most NPS tools give you the ability to easily segment respondents based on their category, and they usually integrate with products where you can take action based on each segment. For instance, HubSpot users can easily integrate with their survey tool of choice to trigger emails based on survey response scores.

Make adjustments and repeat.

Back to my first point: Now that you have these insights, what are you going to do with them? Ultimately, this is a personal decision that will reflect your own findings and capabilities. You may find that a whole segment is dissatisfied because of a particular experience. In that case, you may need to further investigate why that experience is causing dissatisfaction and make changes to improve it.

The customers you’re selling to can both buy your product, and tell you how to keep them coming back. Figuring out what’s going right or wrong during the buyer journey is invaluable when looking to innovate and grow your business. Measuring customer satisfaction will help your company meet the needs of its customers, and we hope this guide will help you incorporate more customer opinions into your business strategy.

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