Measuring customer satisfaction: hard versus soft data

Libby Margo in Growth hacking on 10th of May 2019
How to measure customer satisfaction

How to measure customer satisfaction

Ensuring your customers are satisfied is a crucial part of running a business. If your customers aren’t happy with the service you’ve given them, there’s no reason why they should continue to do business with you. On the other hand, if you’ve done everything you promised your customers, then you’ll have no problem getting them to turn to you when they need your services.

How do you measure customer satisfaction?

There are many ways to determine customer satisfaction. In this article, we will discuss two types of data that can help you find out how happy your customers are with your brand: hard customer satisfaction data and soft customer satisfaction data. We will also discuss some of the most useful measurements within each.

What is hard customer satisfaction data?

Hard customer satisfaction data involves quantitative statistics relating to customer engagement and purchase behavior. When discussing the hard data relating to customer satisfaction, it helps to break it down even further into categories: inferred hard data and concrete hard data. Today, we’ll talk about concrete hard data, which explicitly relates to customer satisfaction and success without much need for analysis. Essentially, what you see is what you get. A good example of concrete hard data is the Customer Effort Score, a survey that asks customers to rate the amount of effort it took to complete a particular task while engaging with the company. Another is the Net Promoter Score, which we’ll now discuss in detail.

Net Promoter Score

Also known as NPS, this tool determines the likelihood of a customer recommending a brand to their peers by asking them: “On a scale from 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend our product/service to a friend, family member, or colleague?” Respondents are then placed into 1 of 3 categories:

  • Promoters: Those who provided a score of 9 or 10, indicating a strong likelihood of making a recommendation.
  • Passives: Those who provided a score of 7 or 8, demonstrating an indifference in terms of making a recommendation.
  • Detractors: Those who provided a score between 0 and 6, meaning they’re unlikely to make a recommendation.

Autopilot’s Delighted integration allows you to send NPS surveys in many situations. For example, let’s say your goal is to increase repeat purchases. The following journey enables you to send an NPS survey to customers after every order is completed. By finding out how satisfied your customers are with their orders, you can identify spots for process improvements and action customer feedback when required.

Essentially, the NPS is a strong indicator of whether or not your customers are satisfied with the service you provide. On the one hand, satisfaction is a prerequisite to brand evangelism; if a customer is willing to recommend your brand to their friends, they are also likely to be satisfied with your service. On the other hand, customers who are identified as detractors are more than likely to be unhappy with your business’ ability to help them achieve their goals.

What is soft customer satisfaction data?

In contrast, soft customer satisfaction data focuses on qualitative information your customers have provided, either to your business directly or to a third party; this data provides insight into how satisfied they are with your brand. Great examples of soft customer satisfaction data include:

  • Further explanation of responses within customer satisfaction surveys
  • Comments on blog posts, your social media pages, and third-party blog posts that mention your brand
  • Product review sites such as Capterra and G2Crowd
  • Conversations between your customers and customer support teams, either on the phone, in person, via email, or live chat

The best thing about soft data is that your customers aren’t limited in terms of what they have to say, which means that their open-ended responses can provide a more accurate idea of how satisfied they really are. Understanding what went wrong gives you the opportunity to not only learn, but make things right again with your customer.

how to measure customer satisfaction

An example of a satisfied customer review of Autopilot on G2Crowd

A final note on customer satisfaction

Understanding whether or not your customers are satisfied with your brand is important. But nailing “customer satisfaction” down to a single metric is not only near-impossible but not very helpful, either. Instead of trying to simplify (or dumb down) customer satisfaction into a single score, it’s better to analyze the data you derive from measuring satisfaction.

Along with your ability to provide your customers with a positive experience, customer satisfaction is also affected by whether or not your business did what you claimed it would do—and what you did to help customers who fell short of their goals. By adopting a macro approach to customer satisfaction, you’ll then be able to gain a much clearer picture of how adept your organization is at satisfying your customers and helping them succeed.

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