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For a long, customer support teams have relied on customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores for tracking the effectiveness of the service delivered. But is it enough? Has it helped customer services leaders to effectively identify the areas of improvement? The answer is a clear no, as per a recent report. This is because the CSAT metric which we are using extensively today, has a few inherent flaws:

Firstly, when you reach a saturation point i.e., after you surpass a CSAT score of 95%, you start getting fewer and fewer feedback about areas where you can improve. Customers may be “satisfied,” but you are not sure about what are those areas that you can concentrate on to improve your operations or offerings.

Secondly, the information that you manage to glean through CSAT surveys are not exactly helpful to augment your support. This is because customers often use the survey as an avenue to register their complaint or dissatisfaction about a product or request for features that haven’t been implemented, which are not exactly helpful.

Finally, even if you end up with high CSAT scores, you might still be experiencing large scale customer churn. This is because customer satisfaction and customer loyalty are not directly correlated. Think about it: even if a customer experienced an exceptional customer service, he might still be upset by the fact that he had to pick up the phone, navigate through the rigours of IVR and reach the customer service department in the first place.

Enter Customer Effort Score (CES)

The Corporate Executive Board (CEB) wanted a solution to overcome these drawbacks. Hence, they carried out an extensive survey, wherein approximately 75,000+ customers and industry leaders from across the globe were asked to put in their views and finally came up with a new customer service metric called Customer Effort Score (CES). The new metric is 1.8x more effective in predicting customer loyalty than CSAT and nearly 2x more effective than the Net Promoter Score (NPS).

But What Does It Mean?

Let go back to the last instance when you had an interaction with the customer service department. Let’s say that you ordered a product online and it was delivered to your door steps. Out of all the excitement, you started unboxing the product, but you were in for a shocker; the product that you ordered was damaged. Perhaps you had to pick up the phone, lodge a complaint and then ship the broken item back. Even if you were happy with the resolution and gave satisfactory scores, you are still less likely to do business with the company in question again due to all the hassle that you had to undergo after the purchase.

What this shows is that rather than concentrating on providing satisfactory customer support experience, companies should start investing in removing the hurdles involved in issue resolution. The quicker companies realize that being seen as a company with which it is easy to do business will have a direct positive impact on customer loyalty, the sooner they will prosper. And this new metric is intended to provide a measure of just that.