Customer satisfaction is a powerful predictor of customer retention, loyalty and profitable relationships. In a competitive marketplace where businesses compete daily for customers, outstanding customer satisfaction is a key differentiator and increasingly has become a valuable business strategy influencer. It is a challenge for businesses to continually fulfill customer needs and meet their expectations without an up-to-date understanding and appreciation of customer wants, needs, and behaviors.

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Best-in-class companies use a blend of Business Intelligence Solutions with customer-focused Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and Customer Satisfaction Surveys to proactively monitor and measure actual customer interactions and feedback to recognize and support the true ‘Voice of Customer’. This approach help organizations successfully craft pragmatic and time-sensitive strategies to retain profitable customers and consequently safeguard and continually cultivate their most mission-critical corporate assets – loyal customers.

Customer Satisfaction Measure: Definition

Customer Satisfaction is a measure of how a company’s business products and services meet or exceed customer expectations. Customer satisfaction is generally characterized as the number of customers, or percentage of total customers, whose reported experience with a business, its products, and or services (ratings) exceeds quantified satisfaction goals.

Organizations unable to successfully monitor and measure customer satisfaction, are powerless to identify satisfied and unsatisfied customers!

“No one knows the cost of a defective product – don’t tell me you do. You know the cost of replacing it, but not the cost of a dissatisfied customer.”

W. Edwards Deming

Voice of Customer (VOC)

Voice of Customer (VOC) is a term used to describe the detailed process of obtaining customer’s expectations, preferences and aversions. The VOC profile is populated and supported with use of market research surveys that produces a comprehensive set of customer-wants and needs, organized into a hierarchical structure and prioritized in terms of relative importance and satisfaction with current business alternatives.

Surveys & Questionnaires: Differences 

A survey is defined as the measure of opinions or experiences of a group of targeted people through the asking of questions. A survey includes all aspects of the research project, including: research goals, design and format, construction, sampling method, data collection, and response analysis.

This is opposed to a questionnaire, which is a set of printed or written questions with a choice of answers, devised for the purposes of a survey or statistical study. In summary, a questionnaire is a component of a survey.

The origin of the modern-day questionnaire was created in 1838 by the Royal Statistical Society of London. 

Customer Satisfaction Survey Question Types

The types of survey questions encompass:

  • Interval scale questions.
  • Multiple choice questions
  • Open-ended questions.
  • Ordinal scale questions.
  • Ranking questions.
  • Ratio scale questions.
  • Subjective questions.
“In business, the idea of measuring what you are doing, picking the measurements that count like customer satisfaction and performance… you thrive on that.”

Bill Gates

Customer Service Satisfaction Scenarios 

With the incessant upsurge of customer service interactions at multiple communications channels, it is a daunting effort for many businesses to continually take the pulse of their customer universe.

How a company handles unpleasant and intense customer interactions is a crucial indicator on the overall corporate customer satisfaction health and quality level of supporting policies and processes.

There is a core set of business scenarios that can be used to evaluate an organization’s strengths and weaknesses and capability to successfully handle customer service complaints and potentially relationship-damaging situations.

A select list of these scenarios is presented below to emphasis the importance of conducting customer satisfaction surveys on a regular basis. 

  • Admit fault is with company and how customer will be made whole.
  • Apprise customer of time lag to resolve problem.
  • Respond to customer request for unavailable product or service features.
  • Communicate reason to customer why problem is unable to be resolved.
  • Follow-up on agreed time-certain date/time on customer requested communication channel.
  • Help customer exhibiting annoyance and antagonism modify their behavior to a positive comportment.
  • Handle customer request for product or service discount.
  • Help customer claim for product or service refund.
  • Inform customer that that he /she own the mistake or problem. 

Customer Satisfaction Survey: KPIs

To prevent ‘paralysis by analysis’ companies should track only those KPIs that support their unique business model and operating environment. A list of universally used customer satisfaction key performance indicators (KPIs) is outlined below:

  • Abandoned Rate of Calls
  • Active Issues / Resolved Issues
  • Average Resolution Time
  • Brand Attributes
  • Compared to Competitors
  • Complaint Escalation Rate
  • Conversion Rate
  • Customer Retention Rate
  • Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) – Overall Satisfaction / Satisfaction Improvement
  • Employee Productivity
  • Employee Retention/Employee Turnover
  • First Call Resolution Rate
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS)

Customer Satisfaction Survey: Benefits

The benefits typically realized by successfully conducting customer satisfaction surveys include:

  • Identify and understand customer satisfaction, loyalty, and retention.
  • Improve competitiveness by understanding how to differentiate product and service delivery.
  • Improve effectiveness of customer interactions in the customer’s life cycle journey.
  • Improve quality of the total customer experience.
  • Increase service quality and productivity to meet customer expectations and demands.
  • Obtain strategic insight about how to attract new and retain existing customers.
  • Pinpoint cross-and up-selling opportunities at all customer touch points.
  • Recognize and resolve recurring problems impacting customers before they become significant corporate risks.
  • Uncover ideas for innovative changes and new products and services that meet market demand. 

Constructing Customer Satisfaction Surveys 

The plan for constructing an effective customer satisfaction survey / questionnaire entails:

  1. Review and understand supporting business environment, survey goals and, approved information requirements necessitating conducting a survey.
  2. Determine mode for conducting survey  – face-to-face, phone, online, etc.
  3. Create and prioritize list of potential questions to satisfy the approved information requirements.
  4. Assess each potential question and ensure alignment with goals and information requirements.
  5. Determine types of questions for inclusion in survey.
  6. Decide specific content and context for each survey  question.
  7. Determine survey / questionnaire structure.
  8. Evaluate and challenge survey / questionnaire with stakeholders and potential users.
  9. Baseline survey and supporting questionnaire.