Sophisticated satisfaction

“People are used to rating the services they use – think of Amazon or buying anything over the internet. Why don’t we do the same internally?”

This was one respondent’s view from a recently completed h2index survey into customer satisfaction (CSAT). The research was for a major pharmaceuticals company, which is considering how to implement new CSAT processes and wants to understand best practice. The work comprised an initial survey of 18 large companies handpicked for being good at both CSAT and end user services (EUS). Six were then chosen for a more detailed interview.

Three distinct nested cycles encapsulate the significance of meaningful CSAT:

  • Black – the core process of computing the raw CSAT score
  • Yellow – using the results to improve performance
  • Red – using CSAT as a tool to manage perceptions of IS/IT

Computing CSAT

All the respondents use a trailer survey following closure of a support ticket, usually augmented by a range of techniques such as forums, Voice of the Customer devices and detailed surveys to collect opinion. Information from these additional channels is used to validate the trailer surveys and eliminate bias.

The similarities end there. We found a startling range of different practices for every aspect of the survey:

  • Sampling methods
  • Response rates
  • Number of questions
  • Number of response options
  • Nature and focus of questions
  • Free text comments or not

We were surprised to find that the highest percentage of tickets contributing to the CSAT scores is a hundred times that of the lowest.

Improving performance

The scores in the highest and lowest categories usually trigger a follow up call. The information acquired from these calls is an input into the improvement cycle. Every company has a different approach to the governance of their improvement cycle, but the CSAT data insights are always tightly integrated into the improvement process. One contributor sums up: “CSAT is the key to continuous improvement.”

Managing perception

IT managers believe CSAT makes a vital contribution to users’ perceptions of IS/IT: it makes them look good. One interviewee muses: “Typically IS/IT does not do self promotion well and CSAT is one way we can do this.”

CSAT maturity

All the companies interviewed are experienced high quality practitioners of CSAT; but even in this group h2index clearly identified three levels of CSAT maturity.

The key difference between the basic and sophisticated CSAT providers was what they valued. At the basic level they only looked at the score whereas the sophisticated players focused on the information acquired.

Sophisticated CSAT managers think that creating an evaluation culture is fundamental to the relationship between IT and the rest of the business. Asking questions and improving the process is more important than worrying about the score.

Most allowed users to add free text comment. The sophisticated contributors consider this the most important question of all and have established a culture of comment: “We make it easy to use, always offered and people get into the habit of responding.”

Simon Bennett, partner at h2index: “There was an unambiguous trend to simplify or try to simplify the CSAT measurement process. Best practice proved to be a single question with three values, represented by three icons. Sophistication really means simplification. ”

This was a comprehensive survey, with stacks of interesting information emerging from it, far more than we could discuss here. If you would like to find out more, please contact us.