Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The importance of measuring customer satisfaction

Every organization has internal and external customers. Organizations that have adopted the
total quality management (TQM) philosophy, understands that customers have needs that have to be met. A company can ask customers to rate them against competitors, measure employee knowledge, attitudes, and expectations, or even monitor company performance against industry benchmark standards. An organization needs to check the pulse of their customers often, to make sure needs have been met. This measurement can be achieved through surveys.


Surveys provide a quick, inexpensive, efficient and accurate means of assessing information about customers. When surveys are properly conducted, the data becomes extremely valuable to managers. Surveys can be given in a written or spoken way. They can be handed, mailed or given over the phone to respondents. 

Surveys, in my opinion, are easy to create; you don’t have to be a rocket scientist! You can hire a vendor to create and execute a survey for your organization, or you can use a free service called SurveyMonkey. The most common type of survey is a Likert Scale survey. The format of a Likert Scale is when you ask a respondent if they: (1) strongly disagree, (2) disagree, (3) neither agree or disagree, (4) agree, or (5) strongly agree. Check out some survey samples here. When creating a survey, the following should be considered:

For a product, you may want to know:
Performance, features, reliability, durability, serviceability

For a service, you may want to know:
Access, communication, competence, courtesy, reliability, credibility

Every organization should have a benchmark standard that is followed. The purpose of benchmarking is to be sure problems and desires have been identified. Once an initial survey is sent out and data is tabulated in an Excel spreadsheet, then a firm can measure if customer satisfaction is increasing or decreasing. The number of times your organization should measure is up to you. Remember the number of resources, both money and people, it takes to execute and tabulate data. Follow your work plans goals. Perhaps surveys should be yearly, bi-yearly or even quarterly. 

Do's and Don'ts

Do create the survey to have a written comment box.
Do have management reward good performance!
Do make sure the each question has a “don’t know” box.
Do make sure you use common words.
Do make sure contact information is optional.
Do provide incentives to increase the response rate (drawing for a gift card).
Do make sure the survey includes instructions.
Do make sure the survey gives respondents the purpose of the survey, and how the data will be used.
Do make sure the survey is courteous; use the words please and thank you.

Don’t ever send out a brand new survey without testing it first! Give it to friends, family or even a sample group of customers.
Don’t expect to receive 100 percent of response rates.
Don’t forget that surveys are supposed to be anonymous!

A customer has many touch points when working with a company. Make sure that each department has a benchmark for customer satisfaction standards and measure often. This is the only way you can know if an area needs improvement. The truth hurts, but don’t let that stop you from providing a great product or service offering. Remember, a happy customer is your walking advertisement and testimonial.

Until next time…

Shallon Hagen is the Director of Marketing for two Ford dealerships, and is responsible for marketing, communication, promotional and public relation strategies campaigns. She has more than 12 years of experience in customer service, sales and marketing. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Marketing Management with magna cum laude honors. She is a freelance writer and graphic designer. You can reach her at shallon.hagen@gmail.com or connect on LinkedIn.
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1 comment:

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