Customer satisfaction – What tools to measure it and how to improve it?

Guide customer satisfaction in 2021

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The Complete Guide to Customer Satisfaction

According to a recent PWC survey , 90% of CEOs say their customers impact their business strategy the most.

If the observation is unanimous, it does not always translate into Customer-Centric policies in line with the expectations of the target. Indeed, in both B2B and B2C, consumers and buyers now attach paramount importance to the quality of the experience , sometimes relegating the quality of the product to the background.

In a context where offers are increasingly similar and where prices often end up aligning, customer satisfaction is a decisive differentiating factor.

Find in this guide:

  • A definition of customer satisfaction

  • The 4 dimensions of customer satisfaction

  • The different indicators of customer satisfaction

  • The challenges of customer satisfaction

  • How to improve customer satisfaction?

  • Examples of companies “champions” of customer satisfaction

What is customer satisfaction

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Customer satisfaction, often abbreviated as customer satisfaction, is a measure that determines how satisfied a customer is with the outcome of their experience with the company . It therefore comes to measure the correspondence between the expectations of the customer and the product or service purchased in the broad sense (including associated services, contact, etc.). Customer satisfaction has a direct impact on loyalty and therefore stands out as a catalyst for the company’s overall performance.

More prosaically, customer satisfaction refers to a set of measures deployed by the company to ensure that each customer is satisfied with their experience and that they are able to renew the experience and/or recommend the company’s offer. to his surroundings.

A satisfied customer will indeed be your best sales representative, especially in a context where consumers give more credit to customer opinions compared to advertising and so-called “corporate” communication.

Contrary to what one might think, customer satisfaction is not just a simple “conformity” of the product or service marketed with the marketing promise. It measures the entire experience, from the first contact established to the after-sales service. This is why we believe that the definition proposed by Wikipedia is simplistic and reductive: “Customer satisfaction is a measure of how well the products and services provided by a company meet or exceed customer expectations”.

The expectations of prospects and customers being different, the objective of satisfaction requires you to work on large-scale personalization and an effort to understand your buyer personas in depth, but also the perceived value of your offer. From there, we will attribute to customer satisfaction three characteristics:

  • Customer satisfaction is subjective. Customers may have a different level of satisfaction for the same service. Satisfaction does indeed appeal to feelings and affect, and can be substantially impacted by your brand image.

  • Customer satisfaction is also relative, the extent to which it depends on the customer’s past experiences and prior expectations. In an intensely competitive environment, customers compare their experiences with different companies.

  • Finally, it is evolutionary , insofar as expectations and/or perception can evolve over time.

Ultimately, customer satisfaction is a combination of quality products whose value matches the price, and quality service. Even with the best product on the market, your customers may express dissatisfaction if the customer service is not up to scratch.

Conversely, quality customer service, taking great care of the consumer, will not succeed in generating satisfaction with a poor quality product or one that does not honor the commercial promise. To conclude this extensive definition, it should be noted that customer satisfaction involves a process of continuous improvement. We can always go further for our customers because the stakes are enormous: loyalty remains the shortest path to growth.

What are the four dimensions of customer satisfaction?

We have seen that customer satisfaction is a major component of customer retention. To better understand it, it will be a question of analyzing it under the microscope with four major key dimensions: lived experience, management of claims and complaints, emotional commitment and ethics. Let’s analyze each dimension separately.

#1 The customer experience

This is undoubtedly the most obvious and intuitive dimension of customer satisfaction. It encompasses a wide spectrum of indicators:

  • The quality of the product or service marketed;

  • The propensity of the product or service to deliver the commercial promise ;

  • The availability and responsiveness of customer service , including omnichannel (customers want the company to be reachable by phone, on instant messaging, on social networks, etc.);

  • The price-quality ratio.

These elements can generally be measured using a classic satisfaction survey.

#2 Management of claims and complaints

All businesses have to deal with claims or complaints related to the customer experience. They may or may not be duly justified. This does not exempt the company from taking them into consideration and processing them to ensure customer satisfaction.

A soothing and calm posture, empathy and an unfailing sense of listening will be your best allies in managing your customers’ claims and complaints. The customer service attitude, its ability to offer relevant solutions and its responsiveness are the main indicators of this dimension of customer satisfaction.

#3 Emotional Customer Engagement

Companies that do well in storytelling and branding give themselves a big head start in customer satisfaction. Two factors argue for impactful storytelling:

  • We live in the age of infobesity , with customers receiving hundreds, if not thousands, of marketing “signals” a day;

  • Companies’ offers are less and less differentiated , and prices often end up aligning.

In this context, the emotional connection between the customer and the company can emerge as an excellent differentiating factor.

#4 Ethics or the societal dimension

Since the early 2010s, we have witnessed the emergence of a “ Consom’Actor ” persona. They are socially responsible consumers who are aware of ethical and societal issues. Criteria such as the carbon footprint of the company’s activity, working conditions, respect for animal welfare (in the agri-food sector in particular) and, more generally, the CSR policy, have an increasing impact on satisfaction. customer.

This ethical and societal dimension perfectly illustrates the broadening of the notion of customer satisfaction, which now extends beyond the technical characteristics of the product or service.

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What are the different indicators of customer satisfaction?

Being a relatively subjective concept, customer satisfaction is measured using qualitative tools fed by customer feedback.

#1 The Net Promoter Score or “NPS”

The customer satisfaction index (Net Promoter Score or “NPS”) is an emblematic KPI for customer satisfaction. Although it may be considered simplistic or simplistic, it gives a first visibility on the state of customer satisfaction to pave the way for further investigations.

Concretely, the NPS comes to measure the “recommendation power” of a brand. To calculate it, you simply need to ask your customers the following question: “Would you recommend our company to a friend or acquaintance?” », with a choice of answer ranging from 0 to 10:

  • From 0 to 6: “I am unlikely to recommend the company to a friend or acquaintance”. We speak of “detractors”;

  • 7 and 8: “I do not say”. These are so-called “neutral” or “passive” customers. They are neither dissatisfied nor “especially satisfied” with their experience with the company;

  • 9 and 10: “I’m very likely to recommend the company to a friend or acquaintance”. We are talking here about “promoters” or “ambassadors”.

Before giving you the calculation formula , let’s go over the different elements you will need:

  • Number of promoters or ambassadors;

  • Number of detractors;

  • Number of respondents.

The NPS formula is therefore:

(Number of Promoters – Number of Detractors) / Number of Respondents x 100

To better understand, we offer you a concrete example. To the question “Would you recommend our company to a friend or relative?” » :

  • 40 customers responded with a score between 0 and 6. These are the detractors.

  • 50 customers responded with a rating of 9 or 10. They are the promoters.

  • 20 customers responded with a rating of 7 or 8. These are the “passives” or “neutrals”.

The NPS is therefore equal to (50-40) / 110 x 100 = 9.

You should know that the NPS is not a percentage. This is a score that can vary between “- 100” and “+ 100”. It is very rare for an NPS to exceed 70. This is especially the prerogative of brands with large fan communities such as Apple (NPS of 89) or Tesla (NPS of 97) . Generally :

  • An NPS greater than 50 is considered excellent and indicates excellent customer satisfaction.

  • An NPS greater than 0 is considered good;

  • A negative NPS is not necessarily alarming. Indeed, the Fast Food giants display NPS between – 11 and + 59, without this having an outrageous impact on their activity.

The best use you can make of the Net Promoter Score is to analyze it along three main dimensions:

  • Make comparisons between the different segments of your client portfolio;

  • Make temporal comparisons and follow the evolution of the NPS after each decision impacting the product or, more broadly, the customer experience;

  • Compare your company’s NPS to that of the competition or the market average, if such data is available.

#2 The Customer Effort Score (CES)

This indicator has grown in popularity as user experience has become a major purchasing criterion. It measures the intuitiveness of the experience and the ease of the buying process, especially online. To calculate it, it will be a question of submitting one or more question(s) to your customers at the end of an action, whether it is the purchase, the processing of a complaint, a contact, etc. Provide five “graded” answers, ranging from “very simple” to “very difficult”.

Here is a concrete example. At the end of an online order, in the thank you page, the following question appears: “How would you describe your shopping experience on our online store?” “. The following answers are proposed: very simple, simple, normal, complex, very complex.

You will then have to calculate the percentage of positive answers (very simple and simple) as well as the percentage of negative answers (difficult and very difficult). Finally, it will suffice to calculate the difference between the two percentages to calculate the CES.

CES has several advantages. It is very simple to set up and can be used at the end of each stage of the purchasing process (contact, request for information, order, delivery, after-sales service, etc.). Your objective will therefore be to obtain a high CES on all stages of the course.

#3 The “mystery shopper” method

This involves soliciting the services of a customer experience expert to evaluate the purchase path offered anonymously. The latter pretends to be a customer, evaluates the experience at each stage and delivers his diagnosis on the friction points.

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#4 The qualitative interview

This method is based on actively listening to customer feedback . Companies can, for example, choose a small sample of customers to offer them interviews lasting a few minutes in exchange for advantages (discount coupons in particular). Unlike the previous indicators, the qualitative interviews are administered through open-ended questions without offering answers to “get the customers talking”. In addition to the background, we will seek here to analyze the verbatim used by customers to better understand the brand image of the company.

The digitization of the relationship between customers and the company now makes it possible to manage satisfaction on a daily basis, almost in real time. In addition to the qualitative interview, you can identify signs of dissatisfaction by analyzing the exchanges between your employees and your prospects and customers: emails, social media, Live Chat, telephone exchanges, etc. Online reviews on Google My Business, Trust Pilot or Capterra are also relevant.

What are the challenges of customer satisfaction?

Despite the digitalization of the journey and a trend towards self-service, customer satisfaction remains a decisive criterion for your overall performance. Indeed, the studies that demonstrate the crucial impact of customer satisfaction on sales volume follow and resemble each other.

According to a study by Bain & Company, companies that have made customer satisfaction part of their culture generate 8% more revenue than their competitors. Also, 67% of companies integrate the criterion of customer satisfaction to measure themselves against the competition, i.e. a growth of nearly 100% in 10 years. Still according to the same study, companies that are “champions” of customer satisfaction perform 80% better than those of companies that are “behind” on this point. Finally, 73% of companies that offer an “above average” customer experience show better financial indicators than their competitors.

A Microsoft survey found that customer service drives consumer purchasing decisions. Indeed, 58% of respondents said that their satisfaction determines their loyalty.

A PWC study agrees with this, and estimates that the experience is an important factor in the purchasing decision for 73% of consumers. Better: 43% of them are ready to pay more for a pleasant experience. Another interesting figure: 65% of American consumers declare that a positive experience influences their purchase decision much more than advertising, as impactful as it is.

A study by Kolsky explains that only one in 26 dissatisfied customers bother to express their dissatisfaction with customer service. Also, 91% of dissatisfied customers will no longer renew their experience with your company without expressing their dissatisfaction.

As you will have understood, the stakes are enormous. Customer satisfaction is not just a performance driver. It is also a sine qua non for remaining competitive in your market.

How to improve the customer experience?

This part deserves a complete guide! Of course, it is impossible to claim to be exhaustive on such a broad theme. On the other hand, some good practices have been proven. They will allow you to lay the foundations of a customer satisfaction policy to then complete and refine it according to your target and the specificities of your sector of activity.

#1 Conversational marketing to promote exchanges

As we have seen, the overwhelming majority of dissatisfied customers do not bother to communicate their dissatisfaction. On the other hand, customers expect brands of instantaneousness and immediacy in exchanges. It’s no surprise when you see the impressive audiences of instant messaging apps like WhatsApp (over two billion users) and Facebook Messenger (1.3 billion users).

The implementation of a conversational marketing strategy will allow you to both improve the customer experience and encourage feedback from your audience to fuel a continuous improvement process. Concretely, you can set up a Live Chat on your website, install a Chatbot which will take over outside working hours and offer your customers to exchange by instant messaging in addition to telephone and email.

#2 Systematize feedback requests at each touchpoint

Feedback from your customers should be solicited at every touchpoint. This is the only way to identify friction points with surgical precision and then initiate the necessary corrective measures. You can rely on the indicators proposed in this article to implement this approach. Note: beyond the data collected, asking for your customers’ feelings shows that your company is listening.


#3 Align Sales and Marketing Teams

Companies organized in silos will always find it difficult to take advantage of the data collected. Indeed, the Data must be accessible to all the employees concerned. Some companies that adopt a Customer-Centric approach take care to distribute customer satisfaction data to all departments, including those in the back office that do not have direct contact with customers.

The alignment of the teams will therefore allow you to disseminate the data but also and above all to create synergies between the information collected by the sales representatives and the customer service. You will be able to have a 360° view of customer satisfaction and make more relevant decisions.

#4 Respond to reviews and comments

According to a study by Forbes, 88% of French people read online reviews before buying. You cannot afford to desert specialized platforms. By responding to reviews (and comments that express an opinion on social networks), you reassure your prospects and customers about your responsiveness, your ability to listen and your commitment. You will also be able to control your e-reputation.

  • Take the time to thank customers who have left you a positive review. You can also “like” their comment if the platform allows this type of action. This will give more visibility to the positive review.

  • In the field of e-reputation, “neutral” comments, with no particular sentiment, can be considered positive. Act on a case-by-case basis.

  • It is never pleasant to read a negative comment or opinion. Yet it is this type of content that will bring you the most actionable information. When they are constructive, negative feedback is a gold mine for your customer satisfaction policy. Respond, apologize if appropriate, and take corrective action as needed.

Examples of Successful Customer Satisfaction Policies

Chick-fil-A is an American restaurant chain that can be found in all customer satisfaction rankings! It ranks first in the ACSI ranking of the best customer services in the United States. The brand’s employees have been deemed “the most polite” in the out-of-home catering industry. Yes, professionalism and courtesy drastically impact customer satisfaction!

Trader Joe’s is a grocery chain that shines with an NPS of 62! The performance is all the more impressive when you consider that the industry average sits at 24. The brand is known for “going the extra mile” with every interaction with its customers. The company, which does not offer a delivery service, delivered free deliveries to elderly customers who could not travel due to snowstorms. The brand has also created a free discussion space on Reddit to allow its customers to share their feedback.

How not to mention IBM in an article dedicated to customer satisfaction? The computer equipment and services giant is at the top of the Drucker Institute’s customer satisfaction ranking, with a score of 84.2 (out of 100) far ahead of Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Cisco and Google. It must be said that IBM has pushed back all the limits of the Customer-Centric approach. As an IDC study explains, IBM has activated three levers to win at this level:

  • Significant investments in the training and coaching of customer service teams;

  • The implementation of proactive and predictive solutions to identify any points of friction before the implementation of a new process;

  • Data collected and used in real time, and total agility on the Front Office part to adapt.


Beyond methods, techniques and approaches, customer satisfaction is first and foremost a mindset ! Internal and external communication work must be carried out to include customer satisfaction in the culture and DNA of the company.

The implementation of a 360° satisfaction policy requires alignment between employees, processes and technology. To help you, Twilead has developed an all-in-one solution that will allow you to manage all the elements of customer satisfaction. The tool integrates perfectly with Google solutions (Gmail, Calendar, etc.). You can even beef up your prospecting and your emailing campaigns because unlike HubSpot, Twilead allows you to send emails to several companies at the same time.

Twilead offers you a 14-day trial period with a tailor-made set-up call based on pre-written content and pre-designed automation scenarios for your business.

Click here to schedule a demo of our tool!

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