Most Organizations measure customer satisfaction with surveys. They can be tracked, and measured and compared year over year, month over month, quarter over quarter. But what techniques are available to raise early warning flags?

It is common knowledge that dissatisfied customers will take their business elsewhere. But there are mitigating factors about how soon management will see the effects. If the customer is involved in a long term contract (such as 3 year cell phone contracts or car leases) or if the cost to change to something new is significant (such as moving to a new building or installing a new piece of  hardware or software) customer defects may not take effect until sometime in the future, lulling management into thinking they don’t have a problem  even when satisfactions data show low scores.

The customer satisfaction  best practices are  to look at predictor metrics, prevention programs and measure social media, blogs and complaint sites.

Predictor Metrics

Customer satisfaction survey data typically is aggregated as some fixed schedule:  monthly, quarterly, yearly.  If the lag time to reporting is long, predictor metrics can be put in place to predict customer satisfaction results.

Let’s take an example: If prior data shows that customers who call in for service and get their problem resolved quickly give high satisfaction scores and those that have their problem languish or never get fixed have low scores, measuring customer resolution time is a metric that can ‘predict’ if customer satisfaction survey data is trending up or down.

Prevention Programs.

If analysis of survey data and root causes point to a problem that can be fixed before the customer experiences it, a program should be implemented to ensure that fix is in place. Measuring the preventive program  can help ‘predict’ customer satisfaction.

For example, if the root cause of many customer’s dissatisfaction is the inability to get ‘serviced’ after normal business hours, a preventive program that can be put in place is a self help program on the web or over the phone. In this way, customers can obtain information 7 days a week and 24 hours a day. Measuring how many customers take advantage of that facility and their level of satisfaction with using the 7/24 facility, should predict customer satisfaction trends overall.

Social Media / Blogs

Keeping track of what is being said about your organization on social media, blogs and complaint sites, is fast becoming a necessity for organization. Customer survey data is methodical and comparisons can be made between periods (this year vs last year, this month versus last month or last year’s month) but surveys lag real time feedback. So many organizations are now starting to use social media / blogs and complaint sites to measure customer sentiment in real time.

There are several articles on this blog that deal with how to listen and track customer data being offered on the web. See What Social Media tool to use to track Customer Satisfaction, New Customer Satisfaction Trend – Sentiment Analysis , and More Social Media and  Reputation Management Monitoring Tools.


Measuring predictors metrics , prevention programs and social media / blogs / complaint sites  can help management determine if customer satisfaction is trending in the right direction,  before the customer satisfaction survey data comes in.

What are your organizations  using:  predictor metrics: prevention programs: social media? Provide your comments below.


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Adele Berenstein

Adele Berenstein is an Experienced Customer Satisfaction Executive, recently retired from a Large Global IT Organization after a long productive management career including Sales, Marketing, Services, teaching and education center management and most recently, 19 years in customer satisfaction management. She turned around divisions with customer satisfaction problems, implemented measurable improvements and management systems, and implemented programs to prevent problems from ever affecting customers.

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