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Customer satisfaction measurement

X25_1_bottles4251473_19201.jpg How well do your products or services meet customer expectations? Customer satisfaction measurement (CSM or CSat) is one of the ways to measure Customer Experience and how well your business is meeting customer needs at all points of the customer journey.

Customer Satisfaction can start with simplistic Net Promoter Score (NPS) or dive in to more complex customer satisfaction programs using menu-driven customer satisfaction measurement using our Cxoice Survey System.

Drivers for customer satisfaction measurement

Old school customer satisfaction measurement has its roots in an operational/production quality system and is about getting products and services that  customers' expectations and their perceptions of the product or service they receive. In this view, quality was about conformance to standards to ensure the deliverable matches with customer expectations.

Current ideas of Customer Experience measurement go beyond this. A business has to focus on the entirity of the quality of delivery to get the whole process right, not just the product, but all of the touch points. Businesses now aim for 'customer delight' aiming to exceed customer expectations.

In particular, marketing and customer-focused researchers tend to want to measure not just the quality of the delivered product or service, but also the whole quality of the customer relationship. This can lead to a gap between an operational perspective focused on conformance, and research that encompasses the whole business relationship including broad halo issues around feeling and perceptions of the brand.

One difference in these approaches is whether you measure customer satisfaction per event or per product, or per service, or do you measure the whole product and service package say once a year?

In practice, customers can struggle to separate out general feeling towards a product or service, based on brand expectations and marketing, and the actual delivery of the product in terms of its functional performance. So define the objectives of a customer satisfaction study in terms of how the data will be used, and how committed the company is to quality and customer experience delivery.

If you're just after something quick, more per event, a short-circuit for customer satisfaction measurement at the relationship level is Net Promoter Score measurement - "So, out of ten, how likely are you to recommend this product or service to friends or colleagues?". Scores of 9 or 10 are counted as promoters and scores of 6 or less are counted as detractors. The net score (promoters - detractors) is then used to indicate company performance.

NPS is used because there is a trade-off between depth of measurement and time customers are willing to provide. However, NPS can be asked too often, and for some products and experiences the 'recommend' question does not make sense. So take some time to get the satisfaction and experience measurements right. A poor survey is a poor experience.

In contrast, our fast, menu-based customer satisfaction technique bridges the gap between depth and speed. Customers choose the areas they want to focus on, instead of working through long, boring lists. Happy customers can simply say they are happy overall, whereas delighted or unhappy customers can give feedback on the areas they see as important, from a menu of possibilities. In this way, customers prioritise the key issues for your business, without needing a long and tedious questionnaire.

When to ask and who to sample?

For old school statistical process control (SPC) of production under total quality measurement (TQM) programme where the ideas of customer satisfaction started, the focus is on the output of the machine (or factory, or service operation) with a need to take a sample of items or service events to test for conformance. Measurement is thus event based and needs to be tied to production events.

However, customers who make a lot of purchases become less likely to respond to event-driven surveys over time. The important heavy-volume customers stop providing input, and surveys slowly drift to a bias of lower volume purchasers.

The compromise is also to take a sample of customers and to ask about their experiences over a certain period of time. Unfortunately for process control, this feedback typically just reflects the average view and will miss any key extremes that are important from an operational view. This then matches much more with the marketing-approach to customer satisfaction as a relationship measurement.

We help navigate the balance needed by the two approaches, with menu-driven customer satisfaction programmes supported by suitable sampling and monitoring. A menu-driven approach allows customers to use a one-click response to tell you everything is good, or to choose from menus to tell you where they are satisfied or dissatisfied in as much detail as they want to give.

In business-to-business markets, customers come in different sizes with different strategic value. Large accounts are too complex for simplistic customer satisfaction measurement, but it is essential to understand the views of the customer. We have tools for measuring service and relationship (QSR) that encourage dialogue beyond simplistic measurement, allowing for multiple contacts and deeper conversations.

These richer approaches extend to bid and project situations, where the deliverable may be complicated, customised or unique and approaches such as win-loss analysis working on a bid-by-bid approach is central to understanding business success.

For help and advice on carrying out customer satisfaction projects contact

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