How to monitor customer satisfaction without surveys?

how to measure customer satisfaction without surveys
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I am sure I need not stress on the importance of customer satisfaction. It is tied to the overall business success and scalability. As one of the most critical KPIs for any business, it needs to be measured. Surveys are considered to be the best method to measure customer satisfaction. However not all businesses use surveys. Some cannot while some don’t. This post is for businesses that for some reason cannot use surveys. So how to monitor customer satisfaction without surveys?

What is a customer satisfaction survey?

Usually, it is a quick survey consisting of 5 to 6 questions in a multiple choice format. Customers could choose one from three or five options to rate every question.

The usual options are: 
- extremely satisfied 
- somewhat satisfied
- not sure or cannot say
- somewhat dissatisfied, and
- extremely dissatisfied

There would also be a question asking if customers are willing to refer the business to their friends and family. This is often called the Net Promoter Score (NPS). A lot of companies use NPS as a benchmark to measure their customer satisfaction.

It is advisable to include a subjective field in the survey. This could be used to request customers to share a feedback or suggestion. This is the true voice of customer. A qualitative analysis of this section can prove to be more informative and insightful in comparison to the quantitative analysis of the remaining survey. In a one line explanation, a customer satisfaction survey helps a business capture and understand the voice of the customers. The voice could be favorable or unfavorable. That decides the actions to be implemented to improve the customer experience and satisfaction.

How could you capture voice of customer without a formal survey or questionnaire?

Voice of customer can be captured via phone calls, emails or meetings.

Voice of customer could be captured at every customer touch point. The term “voice” may mislead you. In today’s digital era, it is more than actual verbal or written words of the customer. It includes non-verbal signals too.

  • Customer emails and calls are the most obvious source for the “voice” – they may express their displeasure or satisfaction while speaking to one of your representatives. They may send an appreciation on email. They may share their grievances on email
  • Meetings with the customer is another great source. Be attentive to what the customer says. Observe the non-verbal signals
  • Product or service inquiry emails or form submissions. You may let prospective customers inquire or order products and services on your website via a form or direct email. Make a note of frequent questions and comments
  • Transcripts of web chat. If you have a live chat or chatbot integrated with your website, you would have access to the chat transcript. This is another great documented source for the voice of customer
  • Comments and responses on your social media profiles and posts. Customers who are not able to reach your customer care or concerned representative use social media to voice their concerns and displeasure. Be responsive to all comments on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter
  • Comments made on online customer forums and groups. It is a good strategy to regularly search for comments about your company, products or services on popular forums and groups

These were examples of direct voice of customer.

Here is a list for indirect voice of customer:

  • Browsing and shopping behavior on your website. Use website analytics to observe customer behavior and convert it into the voice of customer. How they interact with the website content? Which pages have a relative high exit rate? Where do most customers abandon the shopping process?
  • Response to email campaigns. The open and click rates to your email newsletters and promotional campaigns give you a hint about the customer preferences. A careful analysis helps you understand their likes and dislikes
  • Changes in purchase habits and consumption patterns as you introduce or discontinue products or product features

How can you use the “voice of customer” to monitor customer satisfaction without surveys?

  • A qualitative analysis of all or some of the above sources is one way to use the voice of customer. You would be able to decipher the trend of positive and negative comments made by customers. You may not be able to assign a number to it, but it gives you a fair perception about how satisfied are your customers? If the balance is shifting towards positive comments and reviews, it is an encouraging sign. You know it is time to dig deeper if the trend is in the opposite direction.
  • You could monitor multiple metrics from the sources mentioned above as a customer satisfaction benchmark:
    • Count of complaints received every week or month. You may further categorize these comments as high, medium and low severity complaints
    • The live chat software or app usually allows customers to rate the chat experience while they exit the conversation. This could be another benchmark.
    • Count of negative comments divided by total number of comments on social media profiles and posts
    • The trend of customer ratings for your business on Google and Facebook

While these methods help you get a feel of the customer experience and satisfaction, it is recommended that you use surveys for an accurate score. Surveys along with capturing customer feedback and satisfaction score help you get direct views about new product launch, product features, design changes etc. Also, there are several tools available that make it a very easy DIY exercise.

I will follow-up this post with a review of available tools for measuring customer satisfaction.

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By Nitesh Verma

Founder - Business Management Blog. I am an independent business strategy consultant, helping companies take data driven business decisions. My mission is to find and implement simple solutions for complex business problems.


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