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Beyond CSAT: How customer satisfaction metrics are changing

This week on Inside Intercom, we’re focusing on customer satisfaction: how it’s evolving, why that matters, and what you need to do about it.

If you’re in the business of supporting customers, one measurement probably looms large over everything else: the customer satisfaction, or CSAT, score. 

CSAT has been the primary metric for gauging customer happiness for some time now, and is often used as the one all-encompassing number that translates whether your support team is performing or not into a cold, hard digit.

But while understanding if you’re meeting the needs of your customers is, of course, essential, it’s becoming increasingly clear that CSAT – though still important – is only giving you half the picture

This is particularly true as the role of support reps evolves. As frameworks like the Conversational Support Funnel enable you to optimize your resources by using bots and automation to provide proactive customer support and resolve the simpler queries, the humans on your team are left with the trickier (but more rewarding) task of solving complex technical and emotional problems. 

As a result, CSAT scores can be disproportionately affected: for example, the increased complexity of these problems means they can take longer to work on, rendering metrics we used to rely on – like “time to resolve” – less indicative of customer satisfaction. Instead, this shift in the role of the support rep highlights the need to refocus your KPIs to reflect the customer’s feelings about the interaction, as well other factors like your own internal quality standards.

So how do you start to rethink your customer satisfaction metrics? Well, even at a moment of evolution, you need to strike a balance between customer satisfaction and operational efficiency. Looking forward, support leaders see automation as one of their biggest opportunities for this: our research shows that companies are 4x more likely to see improvements in customer satisfaction with automation. 

It’s time to start looking beyond CSAT to see the bigger picture: one that accurately conveys the value that your support team brings to the business.

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