Tag Archives: customer satisfaction surveys

Increasing Customer Satisfaction

customer satisfaction

There are a variety of approaches to hearing the Voice of the Customer and using the information we gather to, hopefully, increase customer satisfaction.

While simply gathering this data guarantees nothing, it’s vitally important because we can know all there is to know about our internal processes and still not know enough about them to increase client satisfaction.

For this sort of challenge we need additional tools and methods, a few of which include:

Customer Surveys are a staple for measuring and possibly surfacing areas for improvement. A popular tool for measuring customer satisfaction is the Net Promoter Score (NPS), which typically takes the form of a single survey question asking respondents to rate the likelihood that they would recommend a company, product, or a service to a friend or colleague on a scale of 0-10. “Promoters” are defined as those giving a 9 or 10 answer, and “Detractors” are those giving an answer of 6 or below. The NPS score is determined by subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters.

Studying variation in the NPS by area, customer type, and over time can help pinpoint trouble spots that are impacting customer satisfaction.

Analyzing customer Complaint Logs can help identify and address the problems that customers have identified and shared, but this is a bare minimum in the effort to increase customer satisfaction. The Complaint Log is a place to seek information about where we are falling short on what is often called “Must-Be Quality.”

The absence of the quality dissatisfies even though the presence in itself will not please the customers because it is assumed. Addressing gaps in the Must-Be Quality can lift one out of the hole, but will never lift customer satisfaction any further. To effectively increase customer satisfaction, we need to create and deliver work that will delight the customers.

One client described his method as the Ambassador Visit: “I go to meet with the customer, I say thank you for your business, and then I shut up. And listen.” Providing a good forum and opportunity for the customer to express what they like and don’t like is very useful.

What’s more, the Ambassador Visit provides a forum to discuss what the customers see coming down the road, so we can proactively anticipate and address their needs.

Another client finds tremendous value in visiting clients as they work with the product — meeting them in the field to watch, listen, and study the customer’s challenges and how the product currently helps them — and how it could help them if something were to be changed. This approach, sometimes called Contextual Inquiry, provides value in understanding what is truly working as expected for the customers and how we can solve problems for the customers that they did not even think to mention.

Whichever method one might use, the key is to keep communication flowing and to be proactive in continually improving processes and measuring the degree to which customers are delighted!

Customer Engagement Dilemma?

Who will lead the way...?A thought-provoking article in the current issue of Engagement Strategies Magazine suggests that organizations of all types will sooner-or-later realize the need for a senior executive who focuses on the customer experience.

As author Bruce Bolger explains, engaged customers “buy more… are often less sensitive to price… and regularly become advocates.”

However, the article goes on to share an ideal job description and poses an interesting question: “Where will we find qualified candidates for such a position?”

What are your thoughts?


Taking A Closer Look at Employee Opinion Surveys

In an earlier post, it was noted that gathering critical knowledge about what our employees and customers really think and feel about our organization and the way we do things can help us identify the true status-quo as well as the best areas on which to focus our improvement efforts. Along with customer satisfaction surveys, 360°Leadership Development Surveys and Employee Opinion Surveys were listed as effective tools.

Taking a closer look at Employee Opinion Surveys, there are a few additional thoughts and best-practices that can make a big difference in outcome.

For example, a number of organizations we’ve spoken with suggest that a once-per-year employee survey is not as effective as more frequent, more concise surveys. The contention is that the annual surveys are, by design, comprehensive and lengthy; by significantly reducing the number of questions and increasing the frequency (possibly from annual to quarterly or, as some suggested, monthly), leaders can focus-in on specific areas or opportunities for improvement and more easily measure and communicate results.

Many people also said the shorter surveys promote more participation among employees.

A recent e-how.com article lists a number of additional best practices that can help us increase the effectiveness of employee surveys, which include:

  • Express the intention of each survey—employees can often be suspicious of surveys
  • Ensure anonymity—employees can often fear reprisals
  • Communicate honestly—especially as to improvements initiated as a result of the survey