Never mind the score, focus on the actions

Updated: Aug 9

Introduction


Companies that use customer satisfaction surveys to measure their performance often develop complex and highly sophisticated processes for collecting and analysing that data. But as a result, they can often lose sight of what's really important: action. That's right—while it's great to know how satisfied your customers are (or aren't), it's even better to know what you can do about it!


Customer satisfaction surveys are a great way for companies to get feedback about the service experience, and most companies with call centres and consumer-facing products and services use them.


Customer satisfaction surveys are a great way for companies to get feedback about the service experience, and most companies with call centres and consumer-facing products and services use them. But what does it mean when you hear your CSAT score (or NPS – the system that is used is irrelevant)? And how do you improve it?


It’s important to remember that CSAT isn’t the only metric that matters. Companies often overlook some critical questions in the survey like “Why did my customer choose a competitor instead of my company?” or “What can we do better next time?” These answers will help you understand what customers like about your company, but also give insight into what needs improvement before they are willing to come back again.


A common complaint is that customer satisfaction survey results are gamed by management, who want to influence the results in a positive direction and increase their bonus.


One of the most common complaints about customer satisfaction surveys is that they can be gamed by management . How do you think the results are going to look if the manager wants to influence them in a positive direction? But what if it’s not just management doing this? What if your frontline staff are gaming the system as well? If you give them an incentive for providing good feedback, then you’re likely going to get some of that feedback — but it may not be genuine.


It's true: Gaming occurs on both sides of the survey process. You need to keep an eye out for it from both sides: from customer service managers and their teams, as even from customers themselves, if they think they may gain something.





Companies can try to game this by using complex algorithms to adjust the results, but it's impossible to get rid of all gaming without sinking too much time into it.


Don't worry about the score.


Here's the real question: do you care more about what your company does or how it looks? If you're like most managers, you probably want both to be good. And that means gaming the system isn't really an option. It's a bad idea anyway because gaming takes up time and energy that could be spent on doing useful things like improving customer experience, researching new products and services, or working on other important initiatives.


The solution is to focus not on the number but on the actions taken based on the results.


Instead of getting bogged down in the score, you should instead focus on the actions taken based on the results. Surveys and the insights they provide are just numbers that don't tell us much about how we're doing as an organization unless we take action based on them. The solution isn’t to fixate on these numbers—it’s to get up every day and ask yourself whether or not your team is improving over time by measuring the right things and taking action accordingly.


Don’t let survey data become another piece of meaningless jargon thrown around at meetings or used as ammunition against employees who aren’t meeting expectations (or have been removed from their position). Instead, use it as validation that some things need improvement or change—and then go out there and do something about it!


If you find that a representative consistently gets low scores, follow up with them and find out what they need to be successful. Don't treat it as a disciplinary issue, but take a more constructive approach, demonstrating to staff that you want to support their development.


If you find that a representative consistently gets low scores, follow up with them and find out what they need to be successful. Don't treat it as a disciplinary issue, but take a more constructive approach, demonstrating to staff that you want to support their development.

If the employee doesn't know why he/she is receiving low scores, ask what you can do to improve the situation. Is there something about how the service desk is being run that doesn't allow them to focus on providing good service? If so, what could be done differently?


Focus on taking corrective actions instead of obsessing over your CSAT (or NPS) score. Ensure that you analyse the incoming data in detail and ascertain the negative (and positive!) drivers for the feedback that you are getting. Explore what you can do to improve the negative drivers and how you can further develop and expand the positive ones.


A lot of times, we are lost in the weeds of our business and forget to look at the big picture. While it is important to understand your CSAT score and its drivers, this should not become an obsession. Focus on taking corrective actions instead of obsessing over your CSAT score. Ensure that you analyse the incoming data in detail and ascertain the negative (and positive!) drivers for the feedback that you are getting. Explore what you can do to improve the negative drivers and how you can further develop and expand the positive ones.


Conclusion


It's easy to get frustrated at a low score, but the solution is to focus on actionable steps that you can take to improve your customer service. It doesn't matter so much if you get a low score—what matters is how you respond to it!


 

Note: In this blog, I talk about CSAT, but it doesn’t matter what system you are using, CSAT, NPS or CES. The principle applies to all systems.

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