home Customer Experience A metric that’s more valuable than CES

A metric that’s more valuable than CES

Customer satisfaction metrics have been a north star. But as any SaaS CEO will tell you, satisfaction is a fleeting and sometimes deceiving metric. It’s one thing for a customer to say they’re happy in a survey; it’s another for their behaviour to reflect that sentiment.

Then the Net Promoter Score (NPS) entered the scene. It promised a peek into the future through its core question: “How likely is it that you would recommend our company to a friend or colleague?” NPS was a step forward, no doubt. It helped businesses segment customers into promoters, passives, and detractors, which was insightful for strategic moves. But it was still a blunt instrument, often unable to capture the subtleties of customer experience.

Customer Effort Score (CES) addressed this by focusing on a specific aspect of customer interactions: the effort required to get a job done. CES was a revelation. It showed us that ease of use and straightforward resolutions were key drivers of customer loyalty. Yet, as SaaS offerings grew more sophisticated, so did our customers’ journeys. It became clear that a single touchpoint measure was not enough.

Value Enhancement Score (VES)

As the industry sought to measure customer engagement more effectively, each metric traditionally asked a critical question:

  • Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) asked, “How satisfied are you with our service?”
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS) inquired, “How likely are you to recommend our service to a friend or colleague?”
  • Customer Effort Score (CES) probed, “How easy was it for you to use our service?”

As this understanding took root, the search for a more encompassing metric brought us to the Value Enhancement Score (VES). 

Unlike its predecessors, VES poses more pointed questions aimed at understanding the enhanced value a customer derives post-interaction. 

For instance, it inquires, “Following your customer service interaction, are you able to achieve more with the product now?” or “Has our latest product upgrade improved your efficiency or helped you achieve your goals?”

The essence of VES lies in its ability to shift the focus from mere satisfaction or ease of interaction to a more profound understanding of value enhancement from the customer’s perspective. It encourages a dialogue around the tangible improvements a customer experiences, be it in terms of product utility, confidence in the product, or the likelihood of further engagement.

This pivot towards assessing value enhancement can be a game-changer, offering actionable insights that go beyond the conventional satisfaction-centric approach. The journey from customer satisfaction to customer value enhancement is not just a change in the metric, but a shift in perspective that could drive a more value-centric, and consequently, more customer-centric business approach.

How VES insights serve different teams

Finding a metric that speaks to different teams within an organization and still provides actionable insights is often a tough nut to crack. The Value Enhancement Score (VES) emerges as a practical solution to this challenge. It cuts through the superficial to gauge the real impact of interactions on a customer’s ability to derive more value from a product or service. The ripple effect of this metric on various teams is both insightful and actionable.

Consider the Customer Success team, who after conducting a series of training sessions, learn through VES that customers can now navigate a complex feature more effectively. This insight allows the team to pinpoint which training methods work best, and where they should channel their efforts to enhance value for customers.

For sales teams everywhere, imagine a situation where after a thorough product demo, customers indicate through VES that they are now more inclined to opt for an annual subscription instead of a monthly one, as they foresee better value and cost savings. This feedback allows the sales team to understand the monetary implications of thorough demos, enabling them to fine-tune their demo strategies to emphasize long-term value and cost-effectiveness.

Over to the Product Development team, suppose VES feedback after a new release shows that a particular feature enhancement significantly streamlined customers’ workflows. This info is a goldmine as it helps the team grasp the real-world impact of their work, steering future development towards directions that continue to augment value for customers.

Picture the Marketing team launching a campaign showcasing customer testimonials of how their product helped save time and money, as captured by VES. This narrative, grounded in real monetary savings, can significantly enhance the authenticity and impact of marketing messages, making campaigns more compelling.

On a strategic level, if executive leadership observes through VES that personalised customer support leads to customers being more willing to invest in additional services or products, it could spark a company-wide initiative to enhance personalization in customer interactions.

Melding metrics: value enhancement score amidst the familiar

Navigating the sea of metrics in today’s business environment often feels like trying to find a compass direction in a storm. Each metric, be it Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT), Net Promoter Score (NPS), or Customer Effort Score (CES), has traditionally offered a bearing, a glimpse into customer sentiments and interactions. 

Enter the Value Enhancement Score (VES), a newcomer with a promise to shed light on the often elusive aspect of value enhancement from customer interactions. But where does it fit in the established metric landscape?

While CSAT, NPS, and CES have been adept at gauging satisfaction, advocacy, and effort, VES extends the narrative to explore the tangible value derived from interactions. It’s like adding a new instrument to an orchestra, enriching the melody without replacing the existing notes.

Take a scenario where a customer interacts with a support team. While CSAT might reflect the customer’s immediate satisfaction, and CES could indicate the effort involved, VES seeks to uncover the longer-term value derived from that interaction. Did it enhance the customer’s ability or inclination to use the product? Did it translate to a better usage experience? It’s a new angle, yet intertwined with the insights from existing metrics.

VES, therefore, doesn’t stand alone. It’s part of a broader conversation. The insights from CSAT, NPS, and CES continue to be relevant, offering a pulse on customer sentiments which is crucial. They provide the context in which the insights from VES can be understood and acted upon. So perhaps, in this melding of metrics, you’ll be able to find a path to more meaningful customer engagement.

Niraj Ranjan

Co-Founder / CEO of Hiver.