7 Unwritten Rules for Measuring Customer Happiness

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    How to measure customer happiness? Here’s how to find out if your CX is creating satisfied customers; loyal and enthusiastic shoppers who will recommend you to others.

    The first rule of customer satisfaction is don’t talk about customer satisfaction. Actually, the complete opposite is true. This is not a fight club between angry website visitors and uncaring brands. Most of what you learn will be positive and the negative feedback will only strengthen your beliefs and help you fix problems in your customer experience. The worst thing you can do is remain in the dark about customer satisfaction. So let’s find out what your customers feel. 

    What do you know about your website visitors?

    You’re focused on CX. You know customer satisfaction is now the number one differentiator between brands. But is all your hard work paying off? Do you have real, actionable data that demonstrates the investment you’ve made in CX?  Do you know your CSAT score?

    CXOs and CX leaders have spent decades attempting to quantify the happiness of their customers. Over this time, some proven methods have emerged that help us understand what customers feel about their experiences and how we can adapt to meet their ever-higher expectations. This article shares some of the best-performing customer satisfaction benchmarks and shows you how to apply them to your business.

    Rules for how to measure customer happiness:

    Rule #1: Know WHY you measure customer satisfaction

    The first step in doing any endeavor is to examine the reasons why you need to do it. Measuring customer satisfaction leaves a footprint. Think about the cost of collecting customer feedback and weigh that against the benefits of finding out what your customers really think about you. Is your business actually able to make change based on your findings? Will you be able to react to customer sentiment in a meaningful way that impacts customer behavior?

    This is the stage where you set your goals. If you find out that a sector of your audience is unhappy, can you define what you intend to do about it? A typical example might look like this:

    • Goal: Decrease cart abandonment by 10% and increase customer satisfaction

    Hypothesis: Our website visitors are abandoning their shopping carts because they are unhappy with our check-out procedure. 

    Solution: If we find out what area of the check-out experience is underperforming, we can test new methods of streamlining it.

    The idea here is to set a goal, work out why you think you think it’s important, then formulate a way to meet it.

    Rule #2: Decide HOW you are going to use the data you’ve collected

    Once you’ve defined your goals, the next step is to work out how best to use all the things you’ve found out about your customers. This will be your actionable plan to achieve your goals. Prior to collecting your customer data, your team should outline the actions you’ll take after feedback is gathered and analyzed. Some random examples you might think about:

    • Unblock user experience bottlenecks that contribute to poor buying experiences
    • Expedite customer support interactions with the most frustrated customers
    • Create support like a knowledge base and customer education
    • Test different live chat scripts to see which ones get quicker resolutions

    Again, think about what your company can actually execute and measure. If there is no way to improve your UX in the time your customer data is relevant, then don’t make it part of your plan. If you don’t have accurate ways to measure your customers’ problem resolution, don’t make it a priority. 

    Remember you are measuring customer happiness for a reason, not for fun. Your learnings have no value if you can’t do anything with them.

    Rule #3: There are a lot of ways to measure customer satisfaction, use them wisely

    If you are thinking about customer satisfaction measurement tools, these days there is an abundance of ways you can collect customer feedback and create customer satisfaction scores (CSAT). Some are cheap and easy, others require planning, investment, and time. All feedback is good feedback, so select a mix that fits your objectives and use each one to their fullest.

    Net Promoter Score

    To measure customer satisfaction, a Net Promoter Score (NPS) is an index ranging from -100 to 100 that measures the willingness of customers to recommend a company’s products or services to others. It is used as a proxy for gauging the customer’s overall satisfaction and with a company’s product or service and the customer loyalty to the brand.

    NPS scores are calculated by asking a simple question: How likely are you to recommend your experience to a friend, colleague, or family member?

    The recipient is then told to pick a number between 1 and 10 to rate the experience.

    • Scores between 1 and 6 are classified as detractors
    • Scores of 7 or 8 are classified as passives
    • Scores of 9 or 10 are classified as promoters
    To get your NPS score subtract the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters

    For example

    75% promoters – 25% detractors = NPS of 50

    Live chat analysis

    As well as a valuable customer service tool think of live chat as a pipeline of customer feedback. The killer benefit of live chat is that you don’t have to ask or incentivize customers to participate. They will willingly tell you what they think and if you analyze the transcripts of all your live chat sessions you will have access to direct and indirect feedback and be able to measure user satisfaction. 

    And, it’s not just feedback for your product, either. If you encourage reps to ask for feedback directly within the chat, you can find out if users are enjoying other aspects of your business like your website, customer services, and sales team.

    Social media sentiment

    Social media mentions represent how your customers perceive things like your brand’s marketing output, product releases, customer service, corporate behavior, and overall sentiment about your brand. It’s free, and it’s exceptionally well utilized by customers. If they’ve got something to say, they’ll say it on Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Instagram, etc.

    And it’s not just random feedback from customers. You can target social media campaigns to ask specific questions with polls and opinion-based content. You can run competitions, do surveys and find out just about anything you want.

    Don’t forget, social media is not anonymous. You can find out exactly who is talking about you and use this information to target with pinpoint accuracy. 

    Outbound email 

    Don’t overlook the power of email. Email surveys are effective and your mailing lists are a valuable source of customer feedback. Email is a versatile and cheap tool to use to collect all sorts of data about your customer happiness. From long-form surveys that can collect detailed information and ask specific questions to a controlled group, to simple polls that incentivize respondents to react in return for a deal or coupon. 


    SMS conversations can yield a tone of valuable data. You can use them to solicit interaction with simple polls and surveys you can attach to a message. You can ask questions during a customer conversations or ask a customer to answer a quick survey at the end of a chat.  

    Follow-up surveys are particularly effective because they capture the customer’s immediate reaction to the brand interaction. You’ll know exactly how the customer is feeling right after a sales conversation or after a tricky support case. 

    Rule #4: WHEN you survey matters

    Timing is everything when you want to accurately measure customer happiness. Too soon and you seem pushy and not respectful of your customers’ time. Too late and your customers may not remember the interaction at all and your survey responses will not accurately reflect reality. 

    Tactically, you can trigger customer surveys pretty much anywhere, at any time, and to anyone. But try to do it strategically. Think about when it matters most.

    The best time to trigger/send a customer satisfaction survey is after a meaningful part of the customer lifecycle is completed.

    • The closer the survey is to the experience, the better
    • People forget how they felt the longer you wait
    • You should survey your customers more than once to see how things change over time 
    • Survey people after a key moment of their customer journey
    • If a respondent gives you a high score, think about adding a follow-up ask

    Rule #5: WHO you survey matters

    Who you survey changes what insights you get. It is tempting to throw out a wide net to try and get as much data as you possibly can. Think again about your goals and what you want to achieve. If you have a specific problem you need to solve (like high churn rate), only survey people who may have an opinion about this matter. Any learnings you obtain outside this group will be meaningless. If you survey all your website visitors about their satisfaction, the respondents are anonymous and may be a customer or they may not. This will bring you completely different data than sending an email to recent visitors who have made a purchase and gone through a complete customer journey, or long term customers who may have insights into customer lifetime value.

    Rule #6: How you analyze the results is just as important as how you get the results

    When you measure customer satisfaction, this is often the most overlooked step of the entire process. Establishing your goals, working out what you want to learn, creating your survey, and getting respondents takes a lot of work. But this is only half the story.

    You need to have a strategic vision for how you are going to interpret the data and use it to its fullest. Most data isn’t very friendly to the human eye or brain in its raw form. Survey data analysis helps you to turn your data into something that’s accessible, intuitive, and even interesting to a wide range of people.

    You can present data in a visual form, such as a chart or graph, or express discoveries in plain language. Another approach is to express data using the power of storytelling, using a beginning-middle-end or situation-crisis-resolution structure to talk about how trends have emerged or challenges have been overcome.

    As well as presenting your data, always be sure to share the insights it has led to. Insights come when you apply knowledge and ideas to the data in the survey, which means they’re often more striking and easier to grasp than the data by itself. Insights may take the form of a recommended action, or examining how two different data points are connected.

    Rule #7: Do it all again

    Survey data and measurements of customer happiness get more valuable the more times you repeat the process. This way you can create benchmarks and see how your company is changing to meet the expectations of your customers . 

    This doesn’t mean you have to send out the same survey over and over. Consistency does help to make your data more accurate, but there is always room to tweak your questions and adapt your format to build on your findings. 

    If your goals remain the same you should keep refining the process until they are met, then move on to the next issue. As long as you start with a clear objective, there is no telling what you will learn from polling your customers and no end to what you can do with the data.