Squaring up to your customer happy factor
There is no single metric to measure client satisfaction, but you could do worse than start with benchmarking survey and mystery shopping, says Helen Hamilton-Shaw
Customer-centric business models are increasingly being adopted by the legal sector but, as with any outcomes-focused activity, measurement is vital, and that’s where customer experience metrics come in.
With recent research suggesting the biggest law firms are failing to deliver on customer experience and are ignoring measurement tools such as mystery shopping, there’s a real opportunity for nimbler small to mid-size firms to differentiate themselves.
No single metric can tell the whole story, rather you need to consider the building blocks that comprise a positive experience: satisfaction, engagement, loyalty, and effort. By incorporating key measurement tools, firms can gather feedback that can help focus future performance. In our customer service development package, we use mystery shopping and benchmarked surveying.
The customer satisfaction score (CSAT) is the elemental stage of customer satisfaction measurement, uncovering how satisfied a user is with a product or service. A survey asks clients to rate their experience on a scale ranging from very satisfied to very dissatisfied. This can measure overall satisfaction, or individual elements – such as speed of communication, being kept updated, and people interactions. It’s a simple tool with the opportunity to drill down into the experience and identify where things are working well and what areas need improvement.
A net promoter score (NPS) is a customer loyalty metric based on the likelihood of a customer recommending a company, product, or service to a friend or colleague. It’s typically measured by asking: ‘How likely are you to recommend this business to a friend or colleague?’ Customers respond on a scale from 0-10, with those recording scores of 9-10 being called promoters, 7-8 being passives, and 0-6 being detractors. The organisation’s overall NPS score is calculated by ignoring the passives and subtracting the percentage of detractors from promoters. It’s a barometer against which you can measure progress and individual or team performance.
A customer effort score (CES) measures the level of effort a customer must put in when doing business with you. Customers indicate the extent to which they agree with a positive service delivery statement, using a numbered scale ranging from strongly agree to strongly disagree. The statement can be general, or tailored to drill down into specifics, such as, ‘The firm’s website made it easy for me to get in touch with the right person, first time’. Anyone in the ‘disagree’ spectrum is highlighting negative experience. Understanding difficulties enables you to find a route to reduce effort and make the experience easier for the customer.
Mystery shopping generally involves individuals from specialist agencies posing as potential customers to measure service quality and compliance against set criteria. For our LawNet customer experience programme, firms receive a mix of walk-in visits, telephone calls, web enquiries, and out-of-hours calls, from which detailed reports and feedback are provided. Objective feedback is needed to pinpoint fault-lines such as poor front desk experiences, phones unanswered, slow responses to enquiries, or poor client interaction by fee earners.
Helen Hamilton-Shaw is member engagement and strategy director at LawNet