Many organizations use satisfaction surveys to keep a pulse on their customers. The objective is to be able to create a numerical measurement with some statistical validation. Surveys have their place but there is another form of customer satisfaction data that is purely qualitative, that is, opened ended, dynamic and flexible. It provides for a greater depth of understanding of your customers, and provides the language the customers use when discussing your products or services. One technique to gather this data is called a focus group.

Customers who are unhappy tell their friends about it. With social media, that information spreads faster than ever before.

We also know that some customers who are happy tell their friends, write reviews and spread the word using traditional new internet techniques as well.

The real challenge is how to turn satisfied customers into these ‘advocates’ or ‘promoters’. An advocate actively spreads positive word of mouth about their experiences. An advocate can help your organization obtain new customers and prospects.

American Express has been focused on improving the number of customers who are ‘promoters’ and would recommend them to family and friends. Here is how they changed their culture to accomplish this mission.

The real challenge is how to turn satisfied customers into these ‘advocates’ or ‘promoters’.

Clickfox, a leader in a new breed of experience analytics, has published their 2nd Annual Tipping Point Survey describing what irks customers the most and compares it to their findings in 2010. This post provides some of the highlights. One conclusion from this study is that “Organizations relying only on traditional methods of measuring customer experience like satisfaction surveys, call center metrics and performance management will be left behind.”

The Human Side to Customer Satisfaction

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

A business acquaintance of mine decided to bring in some of his customers to provide testimonials and learn from their feedback. He was quite surprised at the reasons customers gave for their satisfaction. Yes the customers were satisfied with the service provided by the business. It met specifications. What surprised him was the comments from the customers about the caring they received and the follow up.There is more to measuring customer satisfaction than just meeting expectations. The human side touches the emotions and that sometimes has a huge impact on customer satisfaction.

In Tom Peters’ book, The Little Big Things, 163 Ways to Pursue Excellence, Tom speaks of the value of listening to customers. Why should an organization listen, what is listening anyway, How to listen and What to Next are covered. According to Tom, the return on investment for Listening is higher than from any other single activity.

When I was a customer satisfaction executive at IBM, we measured customer satisfaction with many aspects of the business. Customer surveys fell into three general categories: Transaction Satisfaction, Product Satisfaction and Relationship Satisfaction.

The recently released Social Media Revolution 2 video shows some very surprising statistics for Facebook and Youtube. Will traditional customer survey processes survive in the consumer market place?

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? Three types of measurements can help: Predictor Metrics, Prevention Programs and Social media / Blogs / Complaint Sites.

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?

I think customer satisfaction measurements are a mosaic of possible measurements and the ones that should take priority should be the ones where the executives feel there is a need to improve.

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