As a marketer, I can relate to the love of numbers. Knowing exactly how many people make purchases on your website or having a clear insight into the exact numbers of returning users is a rewarding satisfaction. But what about the customer’s satisfaction? More often than not we tend to find examples of companies pushing the responsibility of metrics regarding customer satisfaction over to customer success or service teams. So what is the difficulty with measuring customer satisfaction? It is, after all, such an ambiguous metric. It is. But treating it as such is a grand mistake.
In this article, I will show you how measuring customer satisfaction is a chore worth taking and how the right approach to tools and methods will make these metrics ease to collect, clear and interpretable.
That is measurable, countable, convertible into numbers and statistics data. Analyzing such data with a with a tool like Google Analytics to get the first glimpse into customer satisfaction. In theory, you can assume that a customer that buys from you again is satisfied with your services and offer. Otherwise, they would choose another vendor. So the percentage of returning visitors and customers can be a good basic measure of customer satisfaction. The easiest way to check this is to dig into Google Analytics to see how many orders come from returning customers.
Keep in mind however that depending on the type of business you run, repeat purchases might not necessarily be a good indicator (car dealerships for example). Therefore quantitative data is not enough. A good qualitative analysis will fill in the blanks.
Never forget that customers are real people – their feelings and opinions will speak better for their action than raw numbers. Here is a very simple but powerful example: People buy from you on a regular basis. Why, you should be happy, right? Business is moving and apparently, you are te best around. However, you do not know the reasons. What if they hate you but buy from you out of necessity, as you are the only option they have? This means that a new entrant will destroy your business and customers will not think twice about going to them instead. Your business will practically die overnight.
That’s why it’s worth to collect qualitative data – it will uncover their motivations, it will show you what customers appreciate, what they dislike, what you should improve etc. It will help you build a strong position in the market and you will worry less about possible newcomers. But most of all, it will create a lasting relationship with your customers. Here are a phew good options for collecting meaningful qualitative data.
Targeted website surveys.
Before we dive into researching customer satisfaction with targeted website surveys, let’s see what they look like:
Usually, they are used to assess website experience or to research and improve website usability. But you can do far more with them. Firstly, you use them to run a post-purchase survey that will appear on a ‘Thank you’ page. You can ask new customers about their experience – what obstacles they met, what worked as intended and what needs improvement.
Secondly, you can use the fact that many (or at least some) customers will return to your website after making a purchase. You can identify them (based on their cookies and viewing history) and ask about their satisfaction. It’s an especially useful technique if you don’t have expertise in email marketing – when you want to run email surveys for measuring customer satisfaction you need some know-how: how to avoid spam filters, how to land in the primary inbox, how to write an effective email copy encouraging people to give you feedback etc. But if you’re familiar with email marketing, you can use email surveys, which bring us to the next point.
Email marketing is still not dead and it’s an important way to keep in touch with your customers. This is why so many companies send newsletters, promote special offers via email etc. This same channel can be used for measuring customer satisfaction with two different approaches.
First – you can create a typical survey or form and simply link to it in an email inviting to take part in the survey. You can use google forms to run a survey this way. Mind you this is not the most professional looking method but it gets the job done if your volumes are low.
The second and far better option are surveys with the first question embedded in the email. Whatever the respondent chooses gets counted as a response to the first question and the next question is displayed on a new tab. Even if the respondent abandons the survey, their first answer is still recorded. Here is how a survey like this can look like:
Whether you choose a targeted website surveys or email surveys, there are a few features you should look for in a tool you want to use to research customer satisfaction.
- Skip logic (or question/conditional branching). It’s a must-have of all survey tools. It allows you to show a different question based on an answer to the previous one. Both the user experience and the validity of results are improved this way. For example, instead of asking “What car do you drive if you own a car?” just ask “Do you own a car?”. If the respondent answers yes, a second question will ask to specify the model.
- Custom design. Taking your survey is a part of your company experience. So, make your survey a branded one. Fly your company colors and logo on it proudly. Your tool needs custom CSS possibilities to give you control over design.
- Multiple question types. The simplest tools limit you to asking single-choice questions or open questions. There are so many other possibilities if you have a larger choice of question types. Smiley Scales, ticks, sliders etc.
What you should measure
So, you now know how you can start measuring customer satisfaction – targeted website surveys, email surveys, or both. It’s time to define what exactly you should measure. Customer satisfaction is a wide term and you must narrow it down to several questions you will ask customers in a survey. If you the question ‘How satisfied are you with our company’ don’t expect high response rates – people will not know what you mean and what kind of answer you expect. The results of such a survey won’t be very actionable. I recommend 2 closed-ended questions.
The likelihood of being recommended
Long story short – Net Promoter Score. Ask a question ‘How likely are you to recommend our company to a friend or colleague?’ and a follow-up question ‘Why’. Here’s how to calculate NPS from answers:
Hint: If you want to learn more about NPS take a look at our Net Promoter Score Guide.
Likelihood of returning
Loyal customers who buy from you again and again, they are the key to the profitability of businesses. That’s why you should ask new customers how likely they are to buy from you again. Ask them a question like ‘How likely are you to buy again from us in the next 3/6/12 etc. months?’.
Those two questions are the best if you want to actually measure customer satisfaction and get some meaningful numbers. Of course, there are also other questions worth asking your customers (take a look at this article about customer satisfaction survey questions) but numbers are easier to track and allow to spot trends. And, most of all, you can easily push numbers and answers to closed questions to Google Analytics.
Numbers + opinions = the full picture of customer satisfaction
Now that you know how to measure customer satisfaction, I’ll show you how you can combine qualitative and quantitative data. What you will need: Google Analytics and a survey tool integrated with it (for example, Survicate). Here’s the trick: you integrate a survey tool with Google Analytics, which means that the collected answers will be sent to GA as events. Then, you can create an advanced segment to observe the behavior of users who gave you certain scores or answered in a certain way.
Thanks to that, you see how survey responses translate into behavior like visits to your website and purchases. That’s the ultimate trick of people who are really into measuring customer satisfaction. After some time, you’ll be able to see trends and how responses translate into behavior. For example, you’ll see that 50% of people who say they will purchase again actually do. You can calculate expected LTV more accurately and thus better allocate marketing and sales budgets.
Hint: learn more about Survicate Google Analytics integration.
To sum everything up, you can measure customer satisfaction using quantitative and qualitative data. Qualitative data can be gathered with customer satisfaction surveys, conducted with targeted website surveys or surveys distributed via email. Combining survey answers with hard data collected with Google Analytics will give you a full view of your customers’ satisfaction. In order to achieve it, choose a survey tool integrated with Google Analytics, like Survicate.