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If you've ever sat at a poker table (or hell, even across from a potential boss at a job interview), you know some people are incredibly hard to read. Thankfully, when it comes to customers, there are metrics and tools that spill all their secrets so you can easily discover exactly how satisfied they are, without ever needing to even see their face.

In this guide, I'll share all my best methods for how to measure customer satisfaction like NPS, CES, and customer satisfaction surveys, and how you can master them to improve your products and services based on real feedback.

Key Takeaways

Discover Customer Satisfaction Easily: Measuring customer satisfaction through metrics like NPS, CES, churn rate, and CSAT is essential for understanding and improving your customer satisfaction score, loyalty and experience.

Utilize NPS, CES, and Surveys: Effective customer satisfaction surveys can be conducted through various channels such as online, email, social media, and SMS, each offering unique insights and improving response rates.

Master Customer Feedback Methods: Acting on feedback, analyzing satisfaction data, segmenting customer data, and empowering employees to address issues are crucial steps for enhancing overall customer satisfaction and loyalty.

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Customer satisfaction is a measure of how well your products, services, and overall experience meets customer expectations,

What Is Customer Satisfaction, And Why Measure It?

Customer satisfaction is a measure of how well a company’s products, services, and overall customer experience meets customer expectations. When customers are happy, they are more likely to return, recommend your brand, and develop a deep emotional connection that translates into loyalty. This loyalty often makes customers less sensitive to pricing, allowing you to maintain higher margins and increase customer lifetime value.

On the other hand, low satisfaction scores can reveal pain points and provide data-driven insights for improving products, services, and the overall customer experience.

It’s crucial to regard customer satisfaction as a dynamic metric, given the fluctuating and evolving nature of customer expectations. By frequently measuring satisfaction across a range of metrics, you'll be able to adapt and continuously strive to create and maintain happy customers. This adaptability (and I can't stress this enough) is vital for achieving customer satisfaction and ensuring long-term success.

4 Key Metrics To Measure Customer Satisfaction

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Specific metrics can help you measure customer satisfaction, including CSAT, NPS, CES, and Churn Rate.

Specific metrics that deliver actionable insights are crucial for measuring customer satisfaction. You'll find each point I've outlined below captures different aspects of the customer experience.

1. Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)

Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) measures how well a product or service meets a customer's expectations through a percentage score derived from survey responses. CSAT score surveys ask customers to rate their level of satisfaction with a product, service, experience, or company. To calculate a CSAT score, simply add up the sum of all scores and divide the sum by the number of respondents.

Your CSAT score can also be calculated by dividing the total number of satisfied customers (those with the top-two-box scores) by the total number of survey responses, and then multiplying by 100 to get the percentage of satisfied customers.

2. Net Promoter Score (NPS)

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) measures customer loyalty and satisfaction by asking customers to rate the likelihood of recommending a brand on a scale of 0 to 10. Based on their responses, customers are divided into either:

  • Detractors (0-6)
  • Passives (7-8)
  • Promoters (9-10)

The NPS is calculated by subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters.

To harness the full potential of NPS, pose the question to customers: “On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend our product/service to a friend or colleague?” Analyzing the responses can help identify areas for improvement and set customer satisfaction KPIs. For example, if the NPS is low, you can focus on converting detractors into promoters by addressing their concerns and enhancing the overall customer experience.

3. Customer Effort Score (CES)

Customer Effort Score (CES) is a metric that evaluates how much effort customers have to put in when interacting with a company. It, alongside customer journey analytics, measures the relative ease or difficulty of completing certain interactions, such as to resolve issues, access support, or complete purchases. The CES score ranges from 0 to 100, with lower scores indicating less effort and higher satisfaction.

To gauge CES, as your customers “On a scale of 0 to 100, how easy was it to resolve your issue today?” This question helps identify friction points in the customer journey and areas that require improvement. By setting CES-based KPIs, you can focus on reducing customer effort and enhancing satisfaction, ultimately leading to increased loyalty and retention.

4. Churn Rate

Churn rate indicates the percentage of customers lost over a period, helping you understand customer retention and satisfaction. A high churn rate often signals dissatisfaction, prompting a review of other satisfaction metrics and corrective actions.

To calculate the churn rate, follow these steps:

  1. Take the number of customers at the start of a given period.
  2. Subtract the number of customers at the end of that period.
  3. Divide the result by the customers at the start of the period.

Monitoring the churn rate allows you to establish KPIs aimed at reducing customer churn and boosting retention. For example, if the churn rate is high, you can focus on identifying reasons for customer dissatisfaction and implement strategies to retain customers, such as enhancing the product, improving customer support, or offering loyalty programs.

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How To Measure Customer Satisfaction For Increased Performance

Measuring customer satisfaction can be done through a few different methods, each providing unique insights into customer sentiment and satisfaction. Before I get into those, however, it all has to start with setting the right goals and creating a clear plan.

1. Define clear goals and outline your plan

Defining clear goals is a fundamental step before initiating a customer satisfaction survey. These goals will guide your choice of question types and survey methods, ensuring that the survey is tailored to specific objectives and provides actionable insights. Consider questions such as “What will we do if we notice that a portion of our customers is not satisfied?” to help outline the actions you’ll take after the feedback is gathered and analyzed.

Consider the data and weigh its value against the cost of collecting it before making a decision at this stage. Evaluating the potential benefits and expenses is important. With well-defined goals and a laid-out plan, you can practically guarantee the effectiveness of your surveys and generate valuable insights to enhance customer satisfaction.

2. Choose a type of customer satisfaction survey

There are different types of customer satisfaction surveys, each offering unique benefits and insights that can help you measure customer satisfaction at various touchpoints in the customer journey:

Online surveys

Online surveys offer quick and measurable ways to gain customer insights. You can deploy these as post-purchase emails, website pop-ups, or integrated into mobile apps. Use multiple-choice questions to get detailed insights into specific customer experiences and preferences, and open-ended questions so that customers to provide detailed feedback in their own words.

I recommend you send a customer satisfaction (NPS) survey 7 days after signup, 30 days after the first survey, and every 90 days during the customer lifecycle. Using a survey creation tool can make building, deploying, and revising online surveys more efficient compared to custom coding.

Email surveys

Email surveys are another great option as they're cost-effective and easy to track. These can also gather detailed feedback through quantitative metrics and open-ended questions. I've found a lot of success with setting a behavioral trigger and time gap between the trigger and email to automate the sending of survey emails, enhancing efficiency. Check out our guide on how to implement marketing automation for tasks like this, and make sure your survey emails include:

  • Attention-grabbing subject lines
  • Preheader text
  • A clear link to the survey
  • Personalization by addressing subscribers by name
  • Incentives, such as a chance to win a prize, to increase response rates.

Survey emails should be designed to fit the look and feel of your brand for more consistency and engagement.

Social media monitoring

Social media monitoring can bring in a wealth of information regarding customer satisfaction. It can help you to engage with customer sentiment in real-time, post polls and record feedback to gain immediate, direct access to customer opinions, and track customer sentiment, complaints, and praise. Yeah, that's a lot from a simple little tool.

The first step is to track tags of your brand so you can gauge customer experiences and satisfaction levels. Then, try directly asking satisfaction metrics through polls or voting features on social media to gather clear, measurable feedback. Using emojis in social media polls is also an easy little trick to simplify customer feedback by translating feelings into visual responses.

Short message service (SMS)

Every time your phone lights up with a new text notification, it gets your attention, right? It's because of this reaction that SMS surveys typically offer a high response rate, with customers responding about 31% of the time. This makes SMS a great option for gathering feedback, as it allows you to:

  • Reach customers directly on their mobile devices
  • Send surveys relatively cheaply in bulk
  • Use specialized tools to build and deploy surveys without coding.

To maximize the effectiveness of SMS surveys, keep the questions short and easy to answer. For example, asking a simple question like, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how satisfied are you with our service today?” can provide valuable insights. While you'll want to make sure you're only contacting numbers who have opted in to receive text messages from your brand, you can quickly gather feedback and address any issues to improve customer satisfaction.

3. Design your survey

Once you've set your goals and selected the method you want to use for your survey, it's time to design the survey itself. As you do so, keep these tips in mind:

  • Customize the layout and questions according to your specific goals
  • Ensure relevancy to help you get high completion rates
  • Keep the survey short (again, for better completion rates)
  • Offer incentives such as discounts to encourage more thorough responses
  • Use a mix of methodologies, like CSAT and NPS, to get a comprehensive view

As far as timing goes, remember that surveying too often can lead to low response rates, and you can use event data to trigger a survey like time since sign-up, key actions taken in an app, or the completion of onboarding. Follow-up surveys are particularly effective for capturing immediate reactions after brand interactions, such as after a long sales call or a tricky support case.

4. Analyze customer satisfaction data

Finally, you've designed and sent out your survey, and hopefully received a great response rate. Now that you're swimming in customer satisfaction data, you need to put your marketing information management skills to use to clean and organize it. As with so many other tasks, marketing software can help you with this, but you'll want to make sure you remove duplicate and irrelevant entries, and standardize formats for accurate analysis.

With your data ready, I recommend you use data visualization techniques like bar charts and heat maps to help you identify patterns and trends in your data. Also compare your survey results with historical data to identify trends and changes in customer satisfaction levels over time. Again, marketing software can help with this, and it all helps you to gain valuable insights into your customers and identify areas for improvement.

Here are a couple more tips to keep in mind when analyzing your results:

Segmenting survey data

Not all customers are alike, so segmenting survey data is crucial for identifying specific trends within different customer groups. Demographics and purchase history are key parameters for segmentation, and NPS tools can facilitate this by enabling easy categorization of respondents and integration with other products. By segmenting the data, you'll be able to personalize at scale to address the needs of different customer groups and improve overall satisfaction.

Identifying pain points

Identifying pain points in customer satisfaction data is crucial for improving service quality and addressing areas of dissatisfaction. Statistical methods and data visualization techniques can help identify recurring pain points from survey responses. Common triggers for customer unhappiness include poor customer service and frustration at specific ordering processes.

5. Take Action Based On Customer Feedback

With all of that information and clear insights at your disposal, it's time to take action. Chances are, you have a few things you need to fix in order to improve your customer satisfaction score. Start by acknowledging received comments to show customers their voices are heard. Then, you can develop clear action plans and implement changes to show them you're really on it.

Here are some steps to follow:

  1. Identify key areas of improvement from the feedback received.
  2. Prioritize the areas based on their impact.
  3. Create a detailed action plan with clear steps.
  4. Assign responsibilities to ensure changes are effectively implemented.

Communicating changes

Another key part of taking action that I've found incredibly helpful is to empower employees to take initiatives and foster a culture of proactivity. Here are some ways to do that:

  • Enable the entire company to see relevant insights
  • Encourage front-line employees to actively gather customer feedback
  • Follow up with customers who provide feedback to build trust and encourage future feedback

By getting everyone at the company involved, you'll spread the message to both your business and customers that you truly care. You then just need to communicate your actions to customers to show that their opinions are valued and impactful. This transparency helps build trust and encourages customers to continue providing feedback, knowing that their voices lead to tangible improvements.

Tools For Measuring Customer Satisfaction

Various tools can be utilized to measure customer satisfaction, each offering different features and benefits to streamline the feedback collection and analysis process. Some of the best marketing software like SurveySensum, HubSpot CRM, and specialized survey creation tools can help businesses efficiently gather and analyze customer satisfaction data.

These tools often come with features like real-time notifications, analysis reports, and integration with other systems, making it easier for businesses to act on the feedback received.

Tips For Measuring Customer Satisfaction

Effectively measuring customer satisfaction levels involves more than mere data collection. Here are a few of my best tips for small business marketing to enterprise companies, with best practices to follow for your best approach:

Consider alternative methods

Alternative methods, such as in-app surveys, live chat transcripts, and focus groups, can provide valuable customer feedback outside of traditional surveys. Live chat transcripts, for example, can be analyzed to gather customer satisfaction data without directly asking for participation, providing a seamless and non-intrusive method of feedback collection.

Focus groups can also be used to gather valuable customer feedback outside of the survey format. A focus group typically involves six to ten people who are asked for their opinions, perceptions, or attitudes about a product, service, or idea. Again, your method of choice will come down to your goals and whatever resources you have at your disposal.

Regularly update surveys

Regularly updating your surveys ensures that they stay relevant and aligned with current market trends and customer expectations. Updating surveys should include:

  • Integrating current customer inputs and standard requirements
  • Incorporating customer loyalty metrics like Net Promoter Score for long-term insights
  • Including customer effort scores to measure how easily customers can resolve issues

For continuous improvement to be truly effective, it requires a commitment from management. Make sure you keep communication lines open with your team not just for the initial survey process, but for updating them as well.

Foster a customer-centric culture

Speaking of your team, fostering a customer-centric culture means involving all employees in suggesting improvements and giving them credit for their ideas. Encouraging a company-wide effort to keep the customer satisfied ensures that every department is engaged in improving customer experiences.

To create this culture, make sure you document failures and successes, encourage teamwork towards common goals, and instill a culture that prioritizes feedback in decision-making processes. This showcases a genuine commitment to customer satisfaction, as evidenced by our numerous satisfied customers.

Keep communication open 24/7

Communication, communication, communication. You hear this about personal relationships all the time, and business is no different. Keeping communication open 24/7 ensures customers can reach the company whenever they need assistance, offering them complete peace of mind. For your team, this round-the-clock accessibility also enables them to address any issues promptly.

Of course, I understand that you won't always have staff available to respond 24/7. This is where chatbots and live chat messages can be extremely helpful. Bots can be assigned to reply to live chat messages when your team is out of the office, buying some time before they get back. Reps can also have the option to respond to customers using help desk software on their mobile devices or through social media when they are unable to access their work computers. This flexibility enables them to engage with customers across various platforms, helping them as soon as possible.

Prioritize ease in the customer journey

Remember that customer effort score metric? Prioritizing ease in the customer journey enhances customer satisfaction and loyalty, and this can be done a few different ways. Here are some of my tips:

  • Make pricing open and honest so that customers will have a clear understanding of the value they will receive from your product or service. This can help manage their expectations and lead to higher satisfaction with your business.
  • Teach new customers how to use your product and how to get the most value out of it through educational content and training.
  • Make it easy for customers to change or cancel subscriptions. To prevent frustration, it is important for your cancellation process to be clear and concise.

Join For More Customer Satisfaction Insights

I've talked about a lot in this article, but what I hope you took away from it is that measuring customer satisfaction involves understanding key metrics, choosing the right survey methods, designing effective surveys, analyzing data, and taking action based on feedback. By following these steps, you'll be able to improve customer satisfaction, enhance loyalty, and ensure long-term success.

Remember, the key to customer satisfaction lies in continuous improvement and a genuine commitment to understanding and meeting customer needs. You'll never be fully done with it, so keep communication lines open and set up triggers for timely survey sends (psst... not too often!)

If you enjoyed this article, let us know on LinkedIn! I'd love to connect, and while you're here, make sure you subscribe to The CMO newsletter for even more great tips and insights straight to your inbox.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is customer satisfaction and why is it important?

Customer satisfaction measures if a company’s products and services meet customer expectations. High satisfaction leads to increased customer retention, loyalty, and business success.

What are the key metrics to measure customer satisfaction?

The key metrics to measure customer satisfaction are Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Effort Score (CES), Churn Rate, and Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT). These metrics offer insights into customer loyalty, effort, retention, and overall satisfaction.

How can businesses effectively measure customer satisfaction?

To effectively measure customer satisfaction, businesses can use various methods like online surveys, email surveys, social media monitoring, and SMS to gain unique insights into customer sentiment and satisfaction. Using multiple methods can offer a comprehensive understanding of customer satisfaction.

What should be considered when designing a customer satisfaction survey?

When designing a customer satisfaction survey, consider customizing the layout and questions according to specific goals, using a mix of methodologies, keeping surveys short and relevant, and planning timing and triggers carefully. These considerations will help ensure a successful survey implementation.

How can businesses take action based on customer feedback?

Businesses can take action based on customer feedback by listening to feedback, analyzing the data, developing action plans, implementing changes, empowering employees to act, and communicating improvements to customers. This approach can lead to improved customer satisfaction.

Stephanie Hood
By Stephanie Hood

Stephanie Hood is an experienced marketing professional and Editor of The CMO. With nearly a decade spent as Marketing Manager at Discover Holidays and Executive Editor at VIVA Lifestyle & Travel, she built her career leading editorial and marketing teams and strategies that turn six-figure budgets into seven-figure profits. She now enjoys connecting with the world's top executives to learn their secrets to business success, and shares those insights right here with her community of like-minded professionals. Curious what she’s uncovered? Be sure to sign up for The CMO newsletter.