How to Measure Customer Sentiment
To improve your customer sentiment, you must first measure it. Here are the most common methods.
July 19th, 2021
Measuring customer sentiment is an important task. After all: if you can’t measure it; you can’t manage it. With customer experience being a key differentiator between brands, the metrics you gather must ensure you’re meeting customer’s expectations. So, how do you measure it?
Measure and Manage Your Review Score
Reviews are an easy place to start. They're an important part of the customer journey, and give you valuable insight into exactly how your customers feel about your brand. With a review, your customer has already been through the sales pipeline and experienced your brand. This means that they're best placed to tell you how every point in your journey affects their opinion on your brand.
To measure reviews, you can set up keyword alerts so you'll always know when a review has come in with your relevant terms. Over time, you'll get a picture of what you're doing right and what you need to fix.
Trustpilot is one of the world's largest online review communities. With an estimated 500,000 reviews posted on the site each month, it gives customers the opportunity to read honest opinions of customer experience.
It's an effective external measure of what customers think of your performance and remains available to the public forever (unless it breaches their rules of content). Your TrustScore is an immediate measure of customer satisfaction, based on the reviews you collect on Trustpilot. Positive reviews increase your TrustScore, proving to customers how great your service is.
But to improve brand sentiment through reviews, you need to be proactive. Treat review sites, such as Trustpilot, like any other customer service channel. When you receive a negative review, answer it and turn that customer around. Similarly, answer positive reviews to show a customer you care; 41% of customers like it when a brand replies to their review as it makes them feel like the brand cares about their customers.
The 'Domino' Effect
Positive customer sentiment depends on customer satisfaction; customer satisfaction depends on the service you provide, and your service depends on the morale of your employees.
There are many factors that affect an employee's overall performance, two of which are high-quality training and a positive working environment. You can improve your team's training by keeping course content specific to a job role and having refresher courses throughout the year.
On the other hand, a good atmosphere is heavily dependent on the ethos of your company:
"We felt it important to focus first on our people when defining our values, rather than specific business objectives...we wanted to encourage growth through rewarding quality, creative thinking and individual and company successes." - Tracy Davies, Chief Engagement Officer, FMO
Track Net Promoter Score
Having an internal measure of customer sentiment is just as useful. One way of gathering this is via net promoter score (NPS). This isn't just a measure of what the customer thinks of your customer service. Instead, it's a measure of how they perceived their entire experience with your company – from the beginning of their customer journey to the end.
Your NPS is calculated by asking your customers at the end of an interaction one simple question: “How likely are you to recommend us?”. The customer enters a score from 1-10 and can then be split into three different categories based on their answer; detractors, promoters, and passive admirers.
The scores are typically measured a few days after an interaction, allowing the customer time to consider how they truly felt about their experience with you. This means that the customer is neither responding in the heat of a bad interaction or through the 'rose-tinted glasses' you get with a good one. Instead, NPS is an unfiltered response that requires no further analysis.
Customers are placed in this category if they score their experience between a 1 and a 6. The name's on the tin for this one - detractors are not happy. It's important that you follow these scores up as it's this group of customers that are the most likely to post about their experience online.
If customers score their experience between 7 and 8, they're classed as a passive admirer. These people are neither disappointed with the service they received, nor will they go away thinking about how fantastic it was.
Customers are considered promoters when they score their experience between 9 and 10. Again, the definition is really in the name for this one. These are the happy customers that you want to focus on for endorsing your brand. Encouraging this promotion, by offering discount codes or asking them to invite a friend for a deal on their first order, will make them far more likely to boost your reputation through positive word of mouth.
NPS isn't just a thermometer reading of customer sentiment though - it's a useful training tool too. Because scores are specific to interactions, you can see how your operators are getting on, who needs more guidance or training, and who deserves further recognition for their work.
First Contact Resolution
Once businesses recognise the value of providing a good customer experience versus good customer service, the metrics they gather change. Gone is the emphasis on speed and, in its place, a focus on answering queries at the first point of asking – ensuring customers receive a high quality of service every time.
According to ContactBabel, over 70% of customers in the UK put first contact resolution in the 1st and 2nd spot for importance when contacting a brand. With that sort of incentive, can you afford to not measure FCR?
We love a bit of initiative at FM. Defining what FCR looks like for your business lets team members identify opportunities for pre-emptive solutions to customer’s problems. It also helps to set clear expectations to new colleagues as you on-board them.
Does it still count as an FCR if the customer only contacts you once, but you follow up with them at a later date? What if they get cut off by technical issues on either end? This can look different for every company that sets an FCR expectation – so make sure you create a definition that fits your business.
Calls per Hour
Measurements of an operator’s speed like contacts per hour (CPH) or response time, can give an at-a-glance insight into their productivity. Although it doesn’t directly measure CSat, it can be useful alongside all the other metrics. With 71% of customers believing that a quick response improves customer service, CPH can be a good indicator of customer sentiment.
But it’s important to look at an operator’s statistics in context – if a normally speedy operator has a slow day, perhaps look at the type of interactions they’ve been dealing with that day.
You may find the reason they handled fewer interactions is that they were busy creating the best, new, viral customer service sensation.
Use your volume per channel (how many customers contact you via a given method) to set the expectation of your operator’s efficiency. Again, the quality-quantity balance is key – overworked operators trying to talk to as many customers as quickly as possible creates the danger of low quality service. The fact that it takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one negative one, and that 91% of unhappy customers won’t willingly return to your business, means the emphasis has to be on getting it right first time round.
Balance Every Metric
None of these metrics work in a silo. It's key that your measure them all and find a balance that works for your team and your brand. If you focus entirely on FCR and CPH, you will have a good indication of productivity but may miss the bigger picture. Similarly, if you only measure your Trustscore and NPS, you may see that customer problems aren't being resolved but have no context on why or how to fix it.
By measuring every metric, you see the full picture and can use them all to improve your customer sentiment. Implement a reporting structure that keeps you in touch with what your customers expect when they contact you, and how well you’re meeting those expectations. Embrace the call for higher quality customer experiences. Your customers (and, ultimately, your bottom line) will thank you for it.
Not sure how to get started? Just get in touch! We have years of customer experience know-how to share.