Measuring Customer Satisfaction – The Agile Way

A question that I get asked sometimes is,  “What is the best metric for measuring Customer Satisfaction in a Contact Centre? Is it NPS (Net Promoter Score), Customer Effort Score or CSAT (Customer Satisfaction)?”

And the answer that I always give is, it doesn’t matter which metric you use; but how you use it.

If you use the Net Promoter Score (the number of customers that would recommend your company minus the ones that wouldn’t) or Customer Effort Score (the score your customers give to how easy it is to do business with you), you’ll get a metric that reflects the end-to-end experience of the customer with the entire company. I like the second one better by the way.

On the other hand, if you use the Customer Satisfaction Score, you will get a more targeted view on how the Contact Centre is performing.

Regardless of which one you choose, the measure should become the compass for the team, that is,  the number that tells the team if they are doing well, or if they have opportunity to improve.

Where everything goes wrong…

In my view, the problem occurs when metrics are used to assess the individual performance of the people in the team.

Customer demand of service organisations today is totally unpredictable; which means that individual agents can’t chose the nature of the next call they receive. Therefore, having any kind of individual assessment is completely unfair with the people working in those contact centres; and would have a detrimental effect on the culture of the team.

Some companies, in my view, also make the mistake of setting a team target for metrics or even worse, set individual targets to reward or penalise their agents.

If you set people individual targets and rewards to achieve an increase in Customer Satisfaction, you will find that people start “cheating” the system to achieve their individual target.

As Deming said: “Numerical goals set for other people, without a roadmap to reach the goal, have effects opposite to the effects sought”.

Let the team own it

Instead, flip that around and let the team own the metric and target. Form a group that represents the entire team and let them own the program. The team can agree on a team target for each month. You’ll find that when you let them set their own target, it will probably be higher than the one you were thinking.

If you have budget for a Reward and Recognition Program, allocate some of your budget to reward the entire team if the target they set themselves is achieved. Furthermore, give them the freedom to choose how they want to spend it.

That way, instead of being a measure or a program that the team sees as a controlling methodology by managers; it becomes an empowering and engaging experience for everyone working in the Contact Centre.

Look at it form a different point of view...

The Customer Satisfaction of your Contact centre will improve as a result of all the strategies you put in place: how well you understand customer demand, how are you working with the company to eliminate failure demand, how you improve the system of work, how the team feel empowered to take decisions, etc…If you do all of these things, customer satisfaction by any measure will go up and, importantly, be sustained.

In other words, don’t use the metric to drive improvement. Set a culture of continuous improvement and see how the metric goes up.

In summary…

So…will implementing NPS or other type of Customer Satisfaction metric improve the performance of your Contact Centre? The answer is NO. It is a key tool to get real time customer feedback on how your transformation strategies are tracking, but it can have a detrimental effect if used in the wrong way.

Written by:  Eduardo Nofuentes

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