Looking beyond NPS and CSAT scores for deeper customer insights


As healthcare organisations continue focusing on and prioritising customer-centred care, measuring customer experiences (CX) has taken centre stage in re-analysing how historical metrics help improve quality of care.

Net Promoter Score (NPS) and Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) surveys served a purpose five years ago, when the technology didn’t exist to harness the valuable insights that are shared when customers interact with a business. But today, survey-based metrics lack the credibility and confidence that the business needs to fund the CX strategy.

To rebuild confidence, healthcare organisations are turning to conversational intelligence for a more comprehensive understanding of customer experiences.

Pros – and cons – of surveys

Healthcare organisations have used surveys for many years to measure patient satisfaction, reveal perceptions about patient experiences and monitor changes in customer sentiment over time.

Leadership uses surveys as a tool for feedback to inform strategic decisions. However, while surveying customers was a best practice for gathering input and insights, relying solely on survey data is short-sighted.

NPS surveys measure customers’ loyalty and willingness to recommend a service, usually on a scale of 0-10. Because their language is broad, these surveys rarely accurately identify what  organisations can do to improve customer service.

In spite of this, over 55% of customer service and support leaders are required by executive leadership to measure and use NPS for talking points and competitive positioning with investors – even though it’s hard to make the survey data actionable.

CSAT surveys also measure customer satisfaction with the service they’ve received, using a scale of 1-5 or 1-10. But because these surveys use a Likert scale ranging from “highly satisfied” to “highly unsatisfied,” there’s little room left for additional context.

Surveys like NPS and CSAT are simple and offer some feedback. They help organisations capture customer perception – which is a critical step when it comes to creating a CX advantage. And without customer insights, organisations struggle to find the feedback they rely on to adjust their services.

But these surveys only provide the bare minimum information healthcare leaders need to satisfy the board, and fall short in a number of different areas:

  • Fail to capture an entire customer experience because they focus only on specific moments in time.
  • Lack context or fail to explain the complete story behind customer ratings, which limits an organisation’s ability to address underlying issues.
  • Burden customers with requests for additional feedback, especially when asked to respond to a survey after speaking with a customer service representative.
  • Only capture a snapshot of customer feedback. Customers responding to these surveys are satisfied, frustrated or angry in the moment – which isn’t representative of the entire customer base.
  • Don’t offer insight into the broader customer base because they’re dependent on response rates – and customers are bombarded regularly with survey requests, leading to survey abandonment and fatigue.
  • Represent lagging indicators of the customer experience. Surveys measure our perceptions, not our interactions.

Is there room for these surveys in healthcare organisations? Absolutely. Their insights help organisations meet regulatory requirements and standards. Both can help organisations improve and grow. But because of their inward-looking design, organisations cannot identify and act quickly upon the driving factors behind responses to questions.

Gartner predicts more than 75% of organisations will abandon their NPS programme by 2025 and for good reason.

Current survey programmes don’t provide deep insights into current (or future) customers or other stakeholders. You’re limited to asking what someone is “likely” to do – which doesn’t tease out a greater understanding of why someone offered a positive or negative rating.

Moreover, you are unable to ask a follow-up question about why they liked doing business with you or where they met roadblocks, nor solicit their input into how you could do better in the future.

Conversational intelligence: A viable alternative to surveys

Conversational intelligence uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to analyse unstructured data – including customer feedback and conversations – to gather insights about customer experiences.

One of conversational intelligence’s biggest advantages over traditional NPS and CSAT scores is its ability to capture unsolicited, bi-directional data, including valuable CX insights and feedback.

This unsolicited feedback enables healthcare organisations to gain a more holistic understanding of customer experiences by analysing quantitative and qualitative data to deeply mine the root causes of customer issues.

Conversational intelligence enhances CX in healthcare by:

  • Identifying common threads running through customer feedback like wait times, communication frustrations, billing concerns and the Eddy Effect.
  • Providing context around conversations between customers and agents so organisations understand the complete story and background.
  • Giving access to a more representative sample of customers because organisations can use AI and ML to tap into 100% of customer conversations to gain a full analysis of the whole continuum of customer satisfaction.
  • Obtaining organic testimonials, including unsolicited, freely-shared, raw and sincere customer compliments and appreciation. 

While in the past, healthcare organisations lacked the technology to navigate the sheer volume and unstructured nature of this data, today’s providers are better equipped to strategize and take targeted actions addressing the concerns highlighted by conversational intelligence.

And the market isn’t slowing down any time soon.

With these insights, healthcare providers can take targeted actions to address these issues. Market research predicts the AI market will grow from $4.8 billion in 2020 to $13.9 billion by 2025.

A report from the collaboration between the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions and the Scottsdale Institute discovered that 88% of healthcare providers intend to invest in AI-powered solutions to improve customer engagement and experience.

The driving factors for this increased growth? Higher demand for AI-powered customer support services, omnichannel deployment opportunities and shrinking costs in chatbot development.

In conclusion

NPS and CSAT surveys will likely continue to play a role in helping healthcare organisations measure patient experiences, but their limitations mean they will continue to fall short in capturing the nuanced details required to improve customer-centred care.

Conversational intelligence offers more robust benchmarks with the ability to understand customers with more granularity. This conversational data has the power to transform organisations’ approaches to measuring and analysing CX, by providing in-depth insight enabling leaders to make data-driven decisions that improve customer satisfaction.

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