In the age of improved customer experience, CSAT (Customer Satisfaction) Scores have become far more valuable in gauging overall CX, resulting in increased profit for businesses and greater ROI on their initial CX investments.
One of the ways this profit is being generated is through increased customers spend – I mean, it stands to reason that a happy customer will spend more, but now there is data to support this idea.
However, simply getting customers to spend more is not the only reason to improve CSAT; customer loyalty should be equally prioritized.
CSAT Scores are a primary indicator of consumer repurchase intentions and are a factor in reducing customer churn, increasing customer lifetime value, and decreasing negative word of mouth.
In fact, a small 5% lift in customer retention can boost a company’s profitability by 75%, according to Bain & Company.
These benefits should spur every contact center management team to find ways to enhance CSAT scores, but how to go about the process is the million-dollar question, so here are some guidelines.
Conduct a Thorough Review and Evaluation
Improving CSAT starts by thoroughly reviewing and evaluating the following elements that, combined, provide a benchmark on which to measure future results:
Current CSAT scores – What are the existing customers saying? Is there any change to historical CSAT scores?
Listening to calls (where customer feedback is provided) – Were agents courteous and empathetic? Did they resolve the problem quickly in a single interaction?
Agent training and coaching – Is training by curriculum only or are other techniques such as role-playing involved? Do team leaders support agents on the floor and in what ways?
Customer journey – What occurred before the customer interaction? Why is the person calling? What is the customer’s expectation regarding resolution?
Supporting technology – Do agents have the information they need to process the call successfully?
Call flows – Is the opening clear, concise, and to the point? Are agents identifying the problem early during the conversation? Does the closing make sure all issues are resolved?
Contact center culture – Because customer satisfaction and agent satisfaction go hand in hand, it is essential to review and evaluate the contact center culture, asking questions such as: Does the contact center produce engaged agents? Are they happy? Do they arrive to work on time?
Simple, Valuable Formula for CSAT Success
Beyond review and evaluation, contact centers can improve CSAT by implementing a formula devised by Jeff Rumburg, Managing Partner at organizational management company MetricNet, which states:
Competency + Courtesy + Speed = Better Customer Satisfaction
Let’s examine each component in greater detail.
Competency relates to how well agents help customers achieve the outcome they expected from the call. Agents who are successful create a benefit for which customers are willing to pay. Conversely, calls that fail to meet customer expectations cost companies plenty in lost revenue.
Another word for competency is quality, which is a critical customer-centric performance metric. Top centers track contact quality at a high-level, center-wide, and with individual agent performance measurements.
The best way to assess contact quality is by monitoring and recording agent interactions with customers. Quality assurance specialists or supervisors then rate the contact using an evaluation form consisting of criteria the center and client feel contributes to a quality interaction from the customer’s perspective.
Common quality criteria include:
- Use of appropriate greetings and other call scripts
- Capturing key customer data
- Providing customers with correct and relevant information
- Data entry and call coding accuracy
- Text communication grammar and spelling (email and chat).
Having competent agents who provide a quality customer experience is one thing, but agents who can do so in a tone that expresses courtesy, empathy, and understanding is quite another.
Communication skills and tone-related performance are critical components of CSAT, and tone is often cited as a reason for lower CSAT scores, even when the agent followed internal processes correctly.
Ensuring agents communicate using the proper tone is the responsibility of the training team. While many contact centers train for metrics alone, the key to long-term profitability relies on training for behaviors.
Agents who know how to interact with customers in a way that demonstrates these characteristics will not only meet the client’s KPIs, but will also make for happier, more satisfied customers, leading to better CSAT scores. For that reason, contact centers should spare no expense to ensure that these agents operate at the highest level possible.
Most customers look for an immediate response whenever something goes wrong. They want the problem resolved quickly, first time, and in a single interaction, without being passed from one agent to another.
This is referred to as first-call resolution (FCR), a metric that correlates directly to better CSAT scores. In fact, no single KPI has a more significant impact on customer satisfaction than FCR.
A study by customer contact research and consulting firm Service Quality Measurement Group found that every 1% improvement in FCR resulted in the same percentage improvement in customer satisfaction.
The same study revealed that centers achieving “world class” customer satisfaction ratings had an FCR average of 86% while the less elite averaged only 67%.
The activities described above cost money for a good contact center to implement, which is why choosing the cheapest option isn’t always best.
Contact centers that place the proper emphasis on improving CSAT can transform from a cost center, merely responsible for cost control, to a value center that actively drives revenue.
However, their goal is more than mere customer satisfaction and above average CSAT scores; they are on a mission to build a proactive, results-driven, client-focused culture that encourages customer enthusiasm and creates value.
Engaging with such a company will result in greater customer loyalty, higher CSAT scores, and better ROI, as they are not only concerned about the customer’s satisfaction, but the client’s as well.