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?


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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.

One Response to “What is a Good Measurement for Customer Satisfaction?”

  1. Frank Brinkman Says:

    The question of appropriate measurement of Client Satisfaction has been discussed, argued, and debated ad nauseum.

    There is no one single measurement that is appropriate to represent Client Satisfaction. It is a moving target. It changes based upon many factors.. Just a few are Client skills, Technical Support skills, Sales and Support Staff skills. Other areas that affect it are executive, sales, and support relationships with Client. A problem in any one area can affect all other areas. A technical support problem can affect sales of new products. Personality issues can affect sales and relationships. Product instability can detract from sales not just at this client but others that the client shares data with.

    As Client management I have had measurements on all the areas affecting skills, performance, availability, product quality, and problem response times. I increased frequency of reviews of the areas that were exhibiting problems. When warranted a swat team was established representing the skill areas that focused on no just fixing the problem but avoiding future occurences in the same area. All measurements and results were published for all to see providing a common goal. When achievements exceeded expectations the review frequency was adapted rewarding performance.

    One of the worst was a electrical fire in the underground junction of 24 KVA power to a data center. The 3 day outage affected manufacturing, engineering and development of a computer hardware manufacturer. It changed the relationship with local power company executives, manufacturing, engineering and development executives.

    The ideas expressed are not new ideas. This is basic block and tackling of any business needing computer applications and systems.



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