I have seen several questions on customer satisfaction forums about what is the right ‘metric’ for customer satisfaction that will predict future outcomes. Often this question comes up in respect to ‘surveying’ customers. Is Overall Satisfaction the right measure; willingness to recommend; or repurchase intent?
Customer satisfaction measurements are a mosaic of possible metrics and the ones that should take priority should be the ones where the executives feel there is a need to improve.
Listening to Social Media, Blogs and complaint sites can give insight to executives to what the customers are most unhappy about and can be used to help focus.
When I was a customer satisfaction executive at IBM, we measured customer satisfaction with many aspects of the business. They fell into general categories
1. Transaction satisfaction: ie satisfaction with the most recent purchase, or service call, or search for information on the web, or complaint handled. All these were ‘transactions’ with the customer. And how satisfied that individual was with that transaction was and still is very important.
2. Product satisfaction: There are many many aspects to a product. Measured the ones you think are most important. So for Software, how easy was it to install, to use, to maintain. How reliable was it? These are all different aspects of a product. IBM had very long surveys on product satisfaction. This is another area that an organization need to focus on.
3. Relationship: The third major category measured was the ‘relationship’ overall. A customer’s interactions with IBM could take place over several projects in a year, installing or upgrading or moving from X to Y, including many IBM products. The relationship type survey measures how well IBM worked with an organization overall, looking for strengths and weaknesses.
Not every business is as complicated as IBM, and this kind of data may not be relevant to all but it is worth asking what area most applies to the organization you are in.
So I don’t think there is one right measurement. I think the answer is ‘it depends’.
What is your opinion?