"How do I improve my CSAT scores?" I saw this question on a conversation thread on LinkedIn. There was some great discussion that focussed more on the finer technicalities of conducting research. I won't bore you with the details but it made me think about a piece of work we have completed called 'The Ideal Customer Experience'. The theory being that if customer service operations can deliver this 'Ideal Customer Experience' then ipso facto (sorry that makes me sound like Kevin Rudd) CSAT scores will increase.
So what constitutes 'The Ideal Customer Experience'? Before exploring that let's start with defining what we mean by Customer Experience. There are many books, journal articles and industry leaders that argue their definition of Customer Experience, particularly around what should and shouldn’t be included within it. The Cambridge dictionary for example, defines it as;
'The way someone feels at all stages of doing business with a company or organisation'.
Typically, organisations view Customer Experience with a focus on rational responses to interactions (e.g. level of satisfaction, recommendation) whilst neglecting emotional responses.
Fifth Quadrant goes beyond the rational and defines Customer Experience as:
'A holistic assessment of the rational and emotional response of a customer to an interaction with an organisation. It should be seen as an all encompassing reflection of a customer's relationship and level of engagement with an organisation'.
Why is understanding Customer Experience so important?
Human behaviour dictates that we constantly assess and re-evaluate our relationships. When we do, we generally ask ourselves three key questions:
- What do I think about it?
- What do I feel about it?
- How much effort do I have to put into it?
If Customer Experience is seen as the 'reflection of the relationship and level of engagement with an organisation', then it is critical for any organisation to understand what that level of engagement is and how their customers may be re-evaluating their relationships with them on an on-going basis.
By constantly measuring and understanding these factors an organisation is able to identify any existing problems that customers may encounter while trying to interact with them. Additionally it will help identify any potential pain points that may cause the customer to terminate their relationship in the future. Once these areas have been identified then the organisation has an opportunity to implement service improvement initiatives that lead to:
- Significantly improved customer experience, value, engagement and loyalty
- Increased revenue
- Reduced costs
- Increased profitability per customer.
We often get asked how this translates to front line staff behaviours. Research shows that when service experience focuses on delivering a benefit to the customer such as 'Responsiveness', 'Low effort' or 'Easy to do business with', this leads to higher levels of customer engagement and ultimately better business performance.
Our statistical modelling of Customer Experience over the last 15 years has identified core attributes that organisations need to perform well on in order to deliver great service. These are:
- First contact query resolution
- Quick query resolution
- Ability to speak/engage with someone quickly.
And in terms of best practice we recognise the following service attributes as key drivers of positive customer service:
- Knowledgeable staff
- Staff that are able to listen to the customer effectively
- Staff that are personable
- Staff taking ownership of the query to ensure resolution