Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) is a metric tracked by over 70% of support teams.
It’s one of the many ways to measure how satisfied your customers are with your service.
So, it’s normal that when you don’t see your CSAT scores as high as you’d like, you immediately start looking for areas in your support system to address.
- Where should you be looking?
- What exactly should you be looking for?
- And how do you go about addressing these issues in a way that actually improves your CSAT scores?
Well, that’s what we asked this f(el)ine bunch of people who are leading Support teams of their own at some a-meow-zing companies from across the globe!
And here is what they had to say were their most actionable techniques to improve CSAT.
Set clear expectations (and overdeliver whenever possible)
Nothing will prompt customers to voice their frustration via CSAT faster than a mismatch between their expectations and their actual experience.
To bridge this gap, you’ll need to ensure that your communication is clear and consistent across all your channels. Besides being completely transparent about what your product can and can’t do, this will require alignment between your different teams (like product, marketing, sales, support and customer success, etc.).
So make sure they’re in constant communication and stay on the same page delivering a unified message.
Setting clear expectations is just half of it, though. You’ll also need to follow up on these expectations you’ve set to ensure customers have the best experience possible.
Being communicative and proactively keeping your customers informed every step of the way goes a long way in doing just that.
Foster a culture of empathy in your organization
Empathy is arguably the most sought-after skill you look for when hiring for customer service – with good reason.
If your customers feel like they are being listened to and understood, they’re more likely to trust you. Which eventually translates into receiving better ratings on the CSAT surveys you send out.
However, for it to be effective it needs to be ingrained as a part of your company culture.
Here are some tips to help you do just that:
- Hire people with a passion for helping who share the same mission and values that you hold dearest.
- Ensure your onboarding process for new agents lets newcomers know how you expect them to communicate with your customers and covers things like voice and tone, language and structure, formatting, etc.
- Dedicate your early conversations with new clients completely to learn about their needs, workflows, and the customers they serve.
- Make time to have ‘non-work related’ conversations focused on finding common interests, experiences, and connections that help build rapport with your customers.
- Measure the empathy displayed by your team by creating a separate category that contributes to your overall Internal Quality Score. Additionally, you could even consider increasing its weightage or marking it as a critical category (which means that if a conversation receives a negative rating in this specific category, the entire conversation is marked as failed).
Respond to queries promptly on all your support channels
This one sounds like an absolute no-brainer.
This is why it’s surprising that so many companies still get this wrong.
Your customers expect fast, useful responses with a human touch. And anything else can show itself adversely via the CSAT scores your customers provide.
Speed is often the king and your response times have a huge impact on your CSAT score.
So, here are some tips to help you cut down on your FRTs and average response times:
- Break down your average response time by agent to identify those not hitting their targets. Find out what’s slowing them down and suggest ways they can improve their workflow.
- If a group of agents seems to be struggling, you should consider conducting a training session. This will help you get everyone on the same page about how and when to respond to case submissions. It will also reinforce that response time is a metric that you’re striving to optimize for.
- You can decrease your response time by adding other faster customer service channels (like live chat) on your website to give your customers more options. However, avoid spreading yourself too thin by trying to be active on more channels than your team can handle.
- If you have a high volume of cases submitted during non-business hours and on weekends, you might want to consider rescheduling shifts. This is especially useful if you’re serving customers across multiple time zones.
- Encourage the use of templates and shortcuts that eliminate the need to come up with custom responses to the same questions while also reducing the number of keystrokes needed to send a response.
Give your agents the tools and training they need to thrive
When we talk about CSAT, a word that you’ll often hear thrown around is customer experience.
But an equally important yet overlooked aspect is the agent experience.
If you’re trying to deliver delightful experiences to your customers, your agents must be in the best position to do so.
- When picking customer service software, you’ll obviously want ones that match your budget and have the feature set you’re looking for. But it’s equally important that your agents enjoy using it as this impact will carry over into the quality of customer interactions they have.
- Additionally, you’ll want to actively involve your support agents in the decision-making process (in all areas, not just picking tools) rather than just handing down orders.
- You’ll also want to be in regular contact with your team to provide them with all the resources they need to succeed in the form of regular customer service training activities, team meetings, and 1-to-1s with your agents.
- Lastly, keep an eye on the motivation levels and make sure your support team always feels appreciated, whether that’s through shout-out channels on Slack, fun group activities, swag packages, surprise gifts, etc.
Simply put, improving the agent experience usually translates into improving the customer experience and helps you achieve the kind of CSAT scores you’re aiming for.
Set up a support QA program and conduct regular conversation reviews
Your focus should lie on the aspects of your support that you can control.
The easiest way to do that is by setting up a support QA program to measure how well your support is performing against your own quality standards.
“We refocused on being the type of people that help customers “feel the love” rather than trying to drive a CSAT score. This fundamental shift enabled every team member to innovate and lead toward what mattered most; caring for the customer.
We use KHC (Kind, Honest, Confident) as our categories in the IQS program. IQS gives us the space to learn how to help customers feel the love. CSAT just tells us if it’s working—and it does! This paradigm has powered several teams from the high 70s for CSAT into the upper 90s.”
Paul Tucker, Head of Support at EveryoneSocial
Regular support QA reviews will give you unique opportunities to track how your team is doing over time and show you areas where you can improve.
Moreover, It will provide you with insight into your agents’ individual progress, which you can then follow up with personalized feedback.
So while support QA isn’t directly related to CSAT, it helps you focus on areas that’ll improve customer satisfaction. For example, how:
- Dreem set up a customer care strategy to boost CSAT from 80% to 90%.
- Livestorm ensured their CSAT sat steady at a staggering 95% while their team grew by 5x.
- Rentman stays ahead of their competition with a CSAT of 96%, even with a near-complete turnover in their support team.
Build an efficient feedback loop to show you’re listening
We already touched upon how important it is to make your customers feel heard.
And this includes taking notice of feedback given by your customers and addressing them immediately.
Besides using different techniques to actually collect feedback, you’ll also need to have an efficient way of articulating it internally and projecting the voice of your customer.
There’s no better way to show your customers that you’re listening than by incorporating their requests into your product.
Now, of course, this won’t always be possible. But even in such cases, you can still show them that they’re being heard by having one of your Product Managers directly explain why a particular feature isn’t being built, for example.
Proactively address areas of dissatisfaction before they appear
No matter how good your product and service are, customer dissatisfaction is unavoidable.
But there are still ways you can address these issues before they reflect themselves through your CSAT:
- Map out the journey your customers take, list out all the obstacles they may face along the way, and create an action plan that prevents each one of those hypothetical scenarios from taking place.
- Create a community for your customers to talk to themselves and use this space to better understand how customers use your product, what they think about new features you’re going to launch etc.
- Go through the support interactions of churned customers (and the corresponding notes) to prevent the same thing from happening with other customers.
- Stay up to date with what your customers are saying on review sites and social media. You can even take this a step further and try to capitalize on areas where your competitors are doing poorly.
Focus on being customer-centric, and CSAT will follow
Ever-increasing customer expectations mean that as opposed to just one, you’ll need to combine multiple techniques to effectively boost customer satisfaction.
But as long as you always strive to deliver your customers the best experience possible, high CSAT scores will follow.
This also happens to be where our very own support quality management platform Klaus comes in. Helping you deliver great customer experiences at scale.
Finally, a massive shout-out to all the fine folk above who helped us compile this article. If you have any questions for them, let us know in our CX-obsessed community Quality Tribe, and we’ll pass your message along.
Continue reading: Closing the Gap Between Customers and the Business