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The Fast Company Executive Board is a private, fee-based network of influential leaders, experts, executives, and entrepreneurs who share their insights with our audience.

14 ways to gauge customer satisfaction

Calculate your customers’ needs and come up with better solutions to improve their experience before they move on.

14 ways to gauge customer satisfaction
Members of Fast Company Executive Board share their expert insights. [Image: Courtesy of the individual members.]

If you want to grow a successful business and be sure that your clients are satisfied, it’s important to track their digital footprint and exposure to your brand—every step of the way. By doing so, you’ll be able to quickly address any questions, concerns, or deal-breakers that may come up immediately. This will help in reassuring them that they’ve made the right decision engaging with your company’s products and services.

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Below, 14 panel experts of Fast Company Executive Board share practical ways to evaluate your customers’ journey (without their direct feedback) and turn things around so you don’t lose them.

1. FOLLOW CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT. 

Engaged customers are generally happier. Measure engagement and monitor customer activities to get a sense of which customers are happy and which customers aren’t getting value from your software. – Scott Burgess, Continue

2. LIVE THE PRODUCT AND SHOPPING EXPERIENCE. 

The beauty of remote work means diverse perspectives, locations, and experiences. As a team, visit various locations, scope out competitors, and order the product online. Explore online reviews and social media posts, and look at sales and customer lifetime value data (CLV). However, living your product and shopping experience as a team will uncover some unexpected opportunities. – Val Vacante, LiveArea, a Merkle Company

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3. BE A PROBLEM SOLVER.

We’re heavy users of analytics in our product. We can see if developers are successfully navigating the funnel from the initial test app creation to the development and launch of the app. The raw data usually points to the place (or places) our customers are having difficulties. When we see potential issues, we work with our customer experience team to figure out where things are going wrong and fix any problems. – Marc Blinder, Aikon

4. MEASURE THE CUSTOMER LIFETIME VALUE.

I’m a strong fan of the CLV methodology. A customer may not be completely honest in a survey, but they will be truthful when they buy from you again. We are so used to measuring initial sales that we forget to measure repeat sales. Measuring the behavior of frequent buyers is your best thermometer because if they’re happy, they will buy again and recommend your brand. So, measure the CLV – Fernando Anzures, EXMA Global

5. IDENTIFY DOWNWARD TRENDS. 

Analyze your data to identify any downward trends. If you notice a dip or decrease in engagement, such as fewer comments on your social media posts or customers are “unfollowing” you at an increased rate, these are all signs that your customers are not satisfied with your brand experience. – Kelley Higney, Bug Bite Thing

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6. MONITOR CLIENT SUBSCRIPTIONS. 

If you have a SaaS or digital subscription product, it’s critical to carefully monitor how much your customers are using it. If their usage dips, it’s time to step in and ask why. Customers tend to reduce the use of a SaaS product long before they decide to walk away from it or not renew their subscription. – Scott Baradell, Idea Grove

7. ASSESS SOFTWARE LEARNING TOOLS AND CAPABILITIES. 

For software, utilization is key. Do the clients use the solutions to their fullest potential? Oftentimes, users fall into a groove of determining what the system can or cannot do based on their experience. That, combined with their own workload, can preclude learning about new or expanded ways to leverage capabilities. Tools that help understand this are key. Surveys and proactive engagement are also essential. – Kermit Randa

8. UTILIZE AI AND ML TO TRACK REAL-TIME DATA. 

There are signals from your customers everywhere, including in operational data, social media posts, financial data, contact center calls, the website, and many more places. Leveraging AI and machine learning tools allow a company to understand what its customers and prospects are saying about the brand in real-time. Don’t just look at what 7% of your customers, those answering a survey, are saying. – Bill Staikos, Medallia

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9. TAKE A CLOSER LOOK AT BOUNCE RATES. 

Analyze customer metrics and engagement to pinpoint exactly how much time they spend on your website and in your app, and how engaged they are when using your product. Look at bounce rates, time on the website, and frequency. This can tell you how deep of an understanding your customer has of your company and what your next steps may be to retain more customers. – Jason VandeBoom, ActiveCampaign

10. DO A DIGITAL SENTIMENT ANALYSIS.

Use a good sentiment analysis (SA) tool that can scrape data from blogs, social media, and more to see how people are engaging with your content, mentioning you in blogs, and just get an overall idea of what they are feeling. Then do a SA competitive analysis and see where you stack up with your direct competitors. You may be surprised about what you’re missing. – Christopher Tompkins, The Go! Agency

11. STEP INTO YOUR CUSTOMERS’ SHOES.

When you step into your customers’ shoes, you’ll understand why they’ve left your business without asking them directly. Interact with your business by creating a new account on your website. Use your own product and engage with customer support. Then ask your close friends to do this too.

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When you experience your business as a customer, you’ll learn how to improve your customers’ experience. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

12. EVALUATE THE CHURN RATE.

Churn rate is the rate at which the client stopped engaging with the business at a certain point, whether it be unsubscribing from an email list, canceling their subscription, or not participating as an indicator anymore. Yes, this is inevitable, but identifying the reason behind the client’s dissatisfaction will contribute to reducing the churn rate. – Lane Kawaoka, SimplePassiveCashflow.com

13. CHECK ON CUSTOMER COMMUNICATIONS.

Clients who don’t respond to emails and phone calls and are slow to get back to you generally aren’t as happy as clients that do. Tracking client engagement is important for the health and future of your company. – Joseph DeWoody, Valor Mineral Management

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14. INCORPORATE INTUITIVE WEB TOOLS. 

Incorporating intuitive tools into your web platforms will provide insights into your consumers’ behavior while on your site. Tools, such as FullStory, provide incredible insights into pain points, bugs, or areas users love within your platform. Additionally, platforms like Hotjar can create visuals of user behavior from your site and turn them into a heatmap, allowing you to see what your users see. – Amanda Dorenberg, COMMB

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