Use Customer Service Experience Metrics That Are Better Than NPS

Customer service and support leaders should look beyond NPS for a more reliable measure of customer service experience and loyalty.

“How likely are you to recommend [the company, brand or product] to a friend or colleague?” The answer — your Net Promoter Score — is a simple but proven measure of customer loyalty. But capturing this during a post-transaction survey doesn’t provide the whole picture for customer service and support leaders.

Introduced in 2003 by Bain and Company, Net Promoter Score (NPS) ranks on a scale from 0 to 10. The score indicates loyalty levels and helps to identify brand-loyal customers who companies can foster into brand advocates. However, it’s challenging to identify actionable insights specific to customer service and support. 

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“The broad language used in the NPS metric captures customers’ intent based on their evaluation of more than just customer service,” says Deborah Alvord, Senior Director Analyst, Gartner. “This makes it difficult to identify what actions customer service should take to improve performance.”

In addition, the price or quality of a product can often result in confusion about the true cause of customers’ evaluations. As a result, customer service is left with irrelevant insights, causing it to waste time and resources analyzing NPS results from transactional surveys.

To measure service and support customer experience (CX), service and support leaders must capture more effective CX metrics such as value enhancement score, customer effort score (CES) and customer satisfaction (CSAT).

Value enhancement score (VES)

Gartner research shows that the effect of emotions on loyalty can’t be measured solely based on how customers feel about a company or product — which is what NPS measures. Rather, loyalty is driven by how customers’ selection of a company or product makes them feel about themselves. Enhancing the value that customers perceive through service interactions boosts their loyalty by raising their confidence in the purchase decisions they’ve made — and in their belief that they can achieve more with the company’s product or service.

By offering and measuring value enhancement during an interaction, customer service can deepen a customer’s relationship with that company. Measuring VES validates the impact that customer service’s value enhancement efforts have in boosting loyalty. NPS cannot provide this level of clarity and insight for customer service and support.

Customer effort score (CES)

CES measures customers’ perception of how easy it is to handle their issue or question during customer service and support interactions. Insights captured by measuring CES help customer service and support leaders identify how to reduce customer effort and enable customer service organizations to deliver higher-quality interactions at lower costs. 

CES is also a key predictor of disloyalty. Knowing who experiences high effort enables customer service and support leaders to proactively identify at-risk customers and mitigate churn.

Customer satisfaction (CSAT)

CSAT measures customers’ perceptions of whether a company’s product or service meets their needs and expectations. Service and support leaders can primarily use CSAT to measure the satisfaction level of specific aspects of their interactions, such as the CSR they spoke to or the channel they used. CSAT feedback is most commonly captured through a post-transaction survey but also can be captured through speech analytics or other voice of the customer (VoC) methods.

Gartner research shows that NPS results are better indicators of loyalty than CSAT. However, CSAT provides more actionable, tactical insight regarding process, people or technology failures within a customer service interaction, enabling customer service and support leaders to target customer pain points and correct performance. 

If NPS is still required, adapt it for customer service

Overall, organizations must recognize that NPS captures customers’ intentions but not their actual behavior. As a result, an overreliance on one measurement to determine performance and loyalty is not advisable because of the risk of data manipulation to achieve desired targets. 

If, however, executive leadership requires NPS to be measured during post-transaction surveys, customer service and support leaders should do it in a way that meets executives’ expectations but doesn’t overvalue the importance of NPS in customer service.

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