Retail and Customer Experience : News & Best Practices

Why do teams not trust customer satisfaction indicators?

You are convinced that customer satisfaction generates loyalty and re-purchases.

You have therefore put in place indicators and systems to measure satisfaction in your establishments.

Measuring satisfaction is essential to identify what works well and where the customer experience can be improved.

You continuously scrutinize your customer satisfaction KPIs, looking for the slightest variation, ready to get excited or to sound the general (or local) alarm depending on the curve's trend.

CSAT and, especially for a few years, NPS®* tend to become network performance management tools. Therefore, for managers, the assumption is that improving these indicators is bound to impact performance positively.

However, the teams see it in a different light. The use of customer satisfaction indicators raises questions, doubts and misunderstandings. It is sometimes a source of friction between headquarters and field staff.

This article looks at the reasons for this discrepancy between retailer management and their field teams.

Why do indicators arouse mistrust among teams? And above all, what can be done to reconcile head office and the field around a commonly accepted approach?

#1. Do indicators need to be better understood by teams?

Mistrust of customer satisfaction indicators sometimes stems from the need for understanding that their immersion in the daily life of teams generates.

Let's take the example of a network that is doing well. The establishments are performing well; sales are increasing. Everything is going well in the best of worlds...

Then, the head office decides to set up customer satisfaction measurement systems.

With tremors in his voice, the customer experience manager announces:

"From now on, dear store managers, we have decided to measure your performance in terms of customer satisfaction. By continuously measuring the NPS®* of our locations, we will have a single, relevant indicator of customer satisfaction that will help us optimize the customer experience to infinity and beyond."

On the team side, there are questions about the value of the move:

"Why to bother with this new indicator? Everything is going well. Customers are coming back. The turnover is going like a charm".

And we're going round and round because the manager says that the more satisfied they are, the more they come back and the more they buy. And the more the turnover increases.

Yes, but retort the store managers; we already knew that. We don't need an indicator to tell us that. So what good is it going to do?

The manager's answer: "You can only improve what you measure.

And the store managers: "Yes, but all we want to improve is our turnover".

In short, there is no understanding between the head office and the teams because they speak different languages. Some talk about customer satisfaction, and others about sales figures. It's a dialogue between the deaf.

#2. A desire for control or empowerment?

For employees, the "problem" with customer satisfaction indicators also lies in how they are used.

The intention to monitor satisfaction indicators to improve store performance is commendable. But to what extent do the current hands contribute to the stores' performance?

In itself, the indicator is mainly a warning signal. It draws attention to a low or declining level of satisfaction. But does it provide concrete avenues for action?

As it stands, no.

Noticing a decreasing NPS®* says nothing about what should be done to reverse the trend. To improve the NPS®*, you need at least a solution that profoundly analyzes the verbatim.

However, it is common for a brand manager to demand that his teams do what is necessary to improve their Net Promoter Score based on the indicator's evolution.

Even with a more granular approach, by item, based on the analysis of the verbatim, prioritizing actions still need to be completed. Then, of course, we can identify areas for improvement. But we will need to find a way to predict the impact of activities on store performance.

In any case, even with indicators, companies and stores are navigating at a loss. Each one is testing and groping. But the head office needs to indicate a course or a clear direction to generate additional sales with certainty.

Steering by NPS®* is like a stick without a carrot for the teams. They have the impression that they are being pointed at when the indicator is down. But, in return, they need to be given the tools to change the situation.

Hence their impression that the indicators are above all control tools.

#3. Indicators that are not linked to the performance of the stores

Everyone understands that the current satisfaction indicators need to be revised to deliver concrete optimization paths that will lead to real performance gains.

The hypothesis that improving customer satisfaction positively impacts revenue is correct. But if we stick to CSAT and NPS®*, it is impossible to say what should be optimized first to maximize a store's performance.

For example, you detect that you have a dissatisfaction issue with cash flow. On this basis, you will do everything possible to improve the cash flow in your stores.

Despite all your efforts, a few months later, you notice that the level of satisfaction on this subject has increased... but it has stayed the same in terms of turnover.

Why is that?

Simply because, in your context, cash flow is not a key issue for your customers. It has little impact.

You have invested time, energy and resources to improve a subject that does not bring you additional revenue.

You need an approach that connects customer satisfaction and transactional data to get out of this rut. In addition, such an approach will allow you to prioritize the areas that need to be improved to realize revenue gains.

So, since satisfaction is correlated to revenue, headquarters and teams are finally speaking the same language. As a result, you finally have intelligent recommendations to show teams how to improve store performance through satisfaction.

The current customer satisfaction indicators merit establishing satisfaction as a performance improvement lever.

However, until now, the approach has yet to be complete because, as it stands, it is impossible to concretely materialize the impact of satisfaction on performance with the teams. So we talk about satisfaction and performance, but there still needs to be a link to correlate them.

WizVille's post-NPS®* approach addresses this gap by correlating customer satisfaction and sales. It allows business players to understand and predict the impact of their customer satisfaction improvement actions on their future sales and thus move from belief to knowledge.

Do you want to know more about this approach and discover our new platform?

*  NPS is a registered trademark, and Net Promoter System are service marks, of Bain & Company, Inc., Satmetrix Systems, Inc. and Fred Reichheld.