Customer Effort Score is a customer service measurement created by a the Corporate Executive Board, a firm offering research and advisory services to executives in large and midsized corporations, government, and financial services organizations worldwide. They have written a Harvard Business Review article which you can obtain for free describing this measurement and the study they used to derive it. They contend that this score is a better predictor of customer loyalty than any other customer satisfaction or customer service score.

One of the keys to customer satisfaction is to set expectations correctly and then meet those expectations. But customer expectations can be reset by your competition, raising the bar for your product or service offerings. KLM and Malaysia Airlines have added social seating programs, not found on US airlines.

Customer satisfaction is the balance between customer expectations and how a business performs. It’s a simple formula. Or is it? Customers who buy from you or join your cause, have certain expectations as they work with you. Some of those expectations are set by your business, as part of your sales presentation, and / or packaging, advertising, and other publicity. Other expectations are set by the industry, the government and what competitors are doing. Technology is the wild card here.

Trust is one of the many factors that relate to customer satisfaction. When a customer does business with your organization, they have trusted you enough to do business with you. But trust can be broken in many ways, covered by The Speed of Trust by Stephen M. R. Covey. Three key behaviors from this book that customer satisfaction professionals need to promote in their organizations are transparency, clarify expectations and right wrongs. A story of a major caught in a ‘real and apparent conflict of interest’ is an example of these principles.

Harvey MacKay tells a story about how a cab driver exceeded his expectations as he took a taxi ride. This story is an example of how a cab driver broke down the service he offered into many components and exceeded customer expectations by offering the customers more than just a safe ride to their destination. In many cases he offered them a personalized, customized choices. He exceeded customer satisfaction but also helped his foster a limousine business as well.

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