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.

7 Techniques to Understand Your Customers

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

A prior blog post called Customer Satisfaction Tip: Understand Your Customer reviewed why it was important to understand your customer and what it really meant to understand. Three company examples were included, IBM, Cisco and Apple. This post covers seven techniques and best practices to understand your customers, theirs needs, wants, wishes, complaints, concerns, and the terminology they use.

Top 12 consumer frustrations

Monday, October 24th, 2011

According to Reuters, a Consumer Reports survey of over 1000 consumers in March, 2011, with the question “As a consumer, what frustrates you the most ?” yielded 12 top rated results Seven of the top frustrations, including the top one, dealt with customers calling organizations support desks, while the remaining five frustrations, including the second most common complaint mentioned, dealt with customers visiting a store or having a service provided at the consumer’s site. Eight of the 12 (2/3 of the factors frustrating consumers) relate to customer service.

Many people think customer satisfaction is only about customer service and support. In fact, what we found at IBM, was that customers could be dissatisfied with many different aspects of our business, from the product features being offered, to the way we advertise and promote out products. With the advent of social media and the new ways of engaging with customers has its own set of issues. Two studies show consumers will disengage when companies do not provide what they expect from them on social media.

Many organizations plan conversions or modifications that affect them internally and may make changes relevant to their customers. It should be obvious. When an organization makes a change that affects customers, the business should communicate with them about it. Be sure when creating a plan to modify some aspect of your organization, that you consider the customer’s perspective. Planning how the customer perceives the change will impact customer satisfaction with your products and services.

If there ever was a poster child to prove the cause and effect of poor customer satisfaction on loyalty and future purchases, one need look no farther than Toyota. One of major consequences of their customer satisfaction challenges is the loss of prospects. Two recent studies have shown that Toyota did, in fact, take a hit during the worst of its crisis of confidence.

Customer Satisfaction is meeting or exceeding expectations. Social Media can be used to show how your dealership satisfies customers and can add some new ‘expectations’ customers never knew they had. Think of social media as making a dealership a more friendly place to come to, whether you are coming for a new car, a used car, or service.

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