CSAT by Channel: The More Assistance, The Higher the Score

I’ve had lots of questions about channel traffic since my recent post, “Interaction Volume by Channel: The 2011 Outlook,” some people asking about effectiveness by channel, or customer satisfaction by channel. I’m spent some time playing with the data this morning to arrive at some satisfaction numbers by support channel, and the results are interesting: the more a service is employee is involved, the higher the score. The less the amount of employee touch, the lower the score.

First, a few caveats about the data.

  • I’m using data from our brand new benchmark survey, so the number of responses is low compared to the 300+ responses in our old survey. But, the new survey has more channel options, including chat. NOTE TO TSIA MEMBERS: Please enter your latest data in the new benchmark survey as soon as possible!
  • The data combines results of multiple scales. I’ve converted scores to a 1-5 scale, my personal favorite. (1 = very unsatisfied, 5 = very satisfied) I don’t want to go down a rat hole here, but 10 and 11 point surveys have lower average scores than 5 point surveys. Any time you factor multiple scales into a single average I think the final result is a bit iffy. But a few hundredths of a point one way or the other won’t change the findings on this chart.
  • I’ve counted data only for direct employees, not satisfaction with outsourced employees.
  • The data is for “overall satisfaction” with the interaction, not speed to answer, ease of use, customer service skills, etc.

With all that in mind, here is the chart:

Customer Satisfaction by Service Channel

 

  • The m0st labor intensive way to solve a customer problem–dispatching a field service employee for an onsite visits, tops the chart with an average satisfaction score of 4.64. I’m happy that customers love field engineers, but with the cost to roll a repair truck over $1,000, I don’t see companies wanting to shift more traffic to field engineers in order to raise satisfaction scores.
  • Phone interactions with support technicians rated 2nd highest, with an average score of 4.33. Web chat, which is still assisted support but a less personal experience than phone, received an average score of 4.05.
  • Email, which is an assisted support channel, though less personal than a real-time Web chat with an employee, rated a 3.96 average satisfaction score. Note that some frequently asked questions may leverage an email auto-response tool, making email an unassisted channel for common problems.
  • Self-service rated dead last, with an average satisfaction score of 3.27. This is hardly a surprise with the evidence of poor self-service success I’ve written about before.

I suppose it is no surprise that the more assistance the customer receives, the better the overall experience and the higher the satisfaction. But it raises a lot more question in my mind about emerging channels and self-service: are we doing enough work to understand customer expectations? I’ve seen many surveys–including some of our own data–showing customers demanding unassisted support channels. Demographic surveys show that younger customers avoid phone interactions, preferring unassisted support or less personally assisted support channels like email. Are these customers tougher graders, or are we really dropping the ball in delivering the experience they expect? I think some significant work needs to go into surveying younger customers about their expectations for support, not just channel preferences, to understand these numbers, and begin delivering the experience customers expect.

What do you think? What will it take for unassisted channels to catch up? If anyone has insight or examples to share, please chime in. And as always, thanks for reading!

Explore posts in the same categories: Best Practices, customer experience, customer satisfaction, self-service

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9 Comments on “CSAT by Channel: The More Assistance, The Higher the Score”


  1. […] So I have done some research and have received mixed reviews on what customers prefer when it comes to online support channels. Check out John Ragsdale’s recent blog on CSAT and customer satisfaction. […]


  2. This is great data and corresponding analysis. Our view on this is simple – satisfaction levels generally are heavily weighted around 1) was the issue or need resolved 2) How much time (of the requestors time) did it take?
    You can go right down that list of support channels and when you think about your own personal experiences, I think most would agree that futher down the list you go, the more of YOUR time it takes. We believe self-service will continue to improve, but remain below the other channels in effectiveness until a way is found to address the speed issue.


  3. Great to see the data but are we comparing apples to apples?
    Do people have the same expectations for each channel? Is the rating of “satisfaction” providing a response relative to expectations for that channel or relative to expectations of the ideal customer experience or …?
    I would argue that the expectations for a channel may be different from the ideal experience for the channel. In an perfect world I would want to be able to analyse, for each channel: the ideal experience for the channel, the expectations for the channel and the satisfaction with the channel.


  4. I wonder if you saw anything in your data to indicate that a customer that is serviced across multiple channels has a higher level of satisfaction. I know, personally, that this is the case for me, when I interact with companies. If they are available in multiple places, and I can get service in each place as I prefer, I often have a better impression of both the company and the service delivered. But anecdote is not data. I am curious to know if that hypothesis — that supporting a customer across multiple channels — leads to higher satisfaction.

    • jragsdale Says:

      We don’t have that data–in fact I’d say most companies would be hard pressed to report on this, since most companies haven’t consolidated customer history across channels. I call those customers “channal agnostic,” meaning they use all support channels for various types of problems. These customers are the first to detect service disconnects across channels!


  5. […] blog was an interesting read on the measured levels of satisfaction by the type of support provided. Not […]

  6. Sarah Says:

    Blogs are good for every one where we get lots of information for any topics nice job keep it up and Pretty good post, this is one of the best articles that I have ever seen! This is a great site and I have to congratulate you on the content.

    Employee Satisfaction Surveys


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    CSAT by Channel: The More Assistance, The Higher the Score | Ragsdale’s Eye on Service


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