Deciding which customer feedback solution is right for your business can seem complex. With NPS (Net Promoter Score), CSAT and more custom feedback solutions like Stella Connect offering different insights and benefits, how do you choose?
The first question to ask yourself is what you’re actually trying to achieve. Are you looking to get feedback on specific areas of your business, identify brand advocates, track the performance of your front-line team, or some combination of all of these things? Taking time to think about this question can help guide your strategy.
You also need to think about how you’re going to leverage the insights to drive change. Too often we talk to companies that are running NPS and/or CSAT programs but have no strategy in place for activating the data. What’s the good in knowing who your brand advocates are if you don’t know why they’re advocates? And is there really value in collecting customer feedback if you’re just going to use it for executive reporting and not to drive performance improvements across your organization?
At Stella Connect, we believe that a successful customer feedback strategy should start with measuring the performance of front-line staff and then using the feedback to drive sales and service improvements. A recent Accenture study found that poor customer service is costing U.S. businesses $1.6 trillion. Using customer feedback to continually improve the performance of your sales and service team should surely be priority number one.
When we spend time with customer service teams, we hear a recurring theme: service leaders don’t have the resources or bandwidth to measure individual team member performance in a truly representative way. Most QA programs analyze such a small percentage of customer interactions with each employee that no meaningful insights can be gleaned. It’s a frightening reality that companies may have hundreds of front-line team members interacting with customers every day, but they have no real visibility into how well they’re doing their jobs. This is particularly concerning for online businesses, where front-line team members provide the only human connection with customers.
That’s why we created Stella Connect. Stella Connect captures real-time customer feedback on the performance of individual front-line team members after every sales or service interaction. Customers rate the team member they dealt with using a star-rating system. After a positive interaction, customers can leave comments, share their positive experience across social media, and suggest you give your team member a reward like a high-five or a cup of coffee. Alternatively, after a negative interaction, customers can suggest areas for improvement and leave comments highlighting ways you can improve.
In real time, each front-line team member sees his or her own feedback, ratings and rewards as they flow into personal streams. This constant stream of feedback throughout the day motivates your team to deliver their best during every customer interaction, which results in peak performance by your team and happier customers. As a manager or executive, you can see aggregate performance metrics on your whole team, groups of employees, or individuals, which helps you shape customized customer service training and hiring strategies.
Once you’ve put in place a system for measuring and improving your front-line team, you can start to layer in additional feedback. CSAT questions are a great way to bolster your feedback insights. By focusing on your CSAT score, you can dive deeper into a particular topic through fully customizable questions. CSAT is tactical in nature and typically used for gathering company level insights, rather than employee level insights. The questions you ask could focus on service or could explore sentiments towards other customer touch points like your web experience, your marketing programs, or your products themselves.
The NPS question operates at a more macro level, and is used solely to provide visibility into overall customer loyalty and advocacy. NPS is the highest level and least actionable of the different types of feedback, but the NPS methodology, developed by Bain & Company in 2003, has become a bellwether metric for many organizations, which can give you the opportunity to benchmark your performance against industry averages.
Similar to CSAT questions, NPS doesn’t just focus solely on customer service. Service is, of course, a crucial driver of whether a customer becomes and remains an advocate of your brand or company. However, there are other elements of your business including your prices, your policies and the quality of your products that also impact a person’s willingness to recommend doing business with your company.
Given the very different applications for these three types of feedback, it is a mistake to think of them as an either / or; instead you should consider a strategy that encompasses Stella Connect, CSAT and NPS. It is because of their highly complementary nature that we have recently added the ability for Stella Connect clients to add a CSAT or NPS question as part of their Stella Connect feedback requests.
We believe it’s important to take a truly holistic approach to gathering customer feedback after customers interact with your team. Stella Connect enables employee level ratings, rewards and performance data for driving sales and service improvements; CSAT questions provide a more granular view into customer satisfaction across a range of different business areas and functions you care about; and NPS can deliver a macro snapshot into overall customer loyalty and advocacy.
Together, these three types of measurement will deliver a deep and highly actionable set of insights that you can use to drive change and improvement across your team and your organization.