Customer satisfaction is paramount to the success of any business.
For this success, a business must understand who its customers are, what they want, and have systems and processes in place to, not only meet, but exceed their expectations.
This simple, yet difficult objective is what sets the successful businesses apart from the rest.
Businesses that care about delighting customers will solicit and monitor customer feedback. This effort is an essential part of an organization’s overall strategy.
Customers come in several forms – employees, consumers of your product or service, or volunteers of your organization.
Each group has unique needs and expectations, but they all have the same expectation. Treat them with respect and deliver what was promised.
Customers expect that you will know what they want and develop systems and processes to meet their needs.
Businesses use customer feedback to help steer product development which makes soliciting feedback an essential business strategy.
A consumer has a very simple expectation. They expect to purchase a product or service that performs the way it was described.
A customer of your business expects you to give them what was promised and deliver a quality product or service in a professional and timely manner.
For instance, if you operate a dry cleaning service, your customers expect their cleaning to be available when they were told it would be.
They expect that their garments will be crisp and clean.
And that the employee at the counter is polite, helpful, and engaging.
To stay competitive, your business will have to go above and beyond to exceed customer expectations.
Employees are your most important customer group because they are the ones who take care of the paying customers.
Happy employees make for happy customers, and happy customers pay the bills!
Employees go to work with the intention of doing a good job.
Their needs involve practical support for completing job responsibilities and being treated with respect.
For instance, an employee who is responsible for cleaning the facility, has an expectation of having functioning equipment.
It is difficult to vacuum the rugs if the vacuum cleaner is broken.
Employees also expect to be treated fairly and with respect.
There is a direct correlation between employee tenure and how well their immediate supervisor treats them.
Make sure supervisors have adequate training to take care of this important customer group.
Employee engagement centers around how an employee is treated, how well the organization supports their efforts, and how well they are compensated for doing their job.
Keep a pulse on employee expectations, so they take good care of the paying customers.
Many nonprofit organizations utilize volunteer labor to brige the gap in staffing. This free workforce works out of a labor of love.
Volunteers support issues that are close to their heart and give of their time freely.
Volunteers value great communication, training for their job, and like to feel valued and shown appreciation for what they do.
Each of these customer groups has different expectations but collectively make up an organization’s customer base.
Monitoring Customer Satisfaction
When developing a customer satisfaction tool, it is important to find out what the customer needs and values.
Some customers may value a clean, neat, and organized business while others may not see it as important as the product they are purchasing.
Consequently, a first step in the process is to find out what is needed and then script the survey questions around the needs and expectations.
Conduct a focus group of your target audience and learn what the customer wants.
Use this information for product development but also use the data you collect as a baseline for monitoring satisfaction.
Customer Satisfaction Tool
When putting together a satisfaction survey, there needs to be a rating scale that shows how well a customer agrees with a statement.
There are different schools of thought on the size of the scale. There are five-point scales and 10 point scales.
I like the broad range of a 10 point scale because it allows for a more sensitive rating result.
Example Customer Satisfaction Survey
10 Customer Satisfaction Survey Tips
- Make sure the definition of the scale is very clear. If someone accidentally gives ratings of 1 when they meant 10 your data would be skewed. Make sure the person using the tool understands what number means good and what number means bad.
2. Limit your questions to 15 or less. Research shows that the more questions you ask, the less chances of getting the survey back. Reserve those drill-down questions for focus groups.
3. Don’t be afraid to follow-up and send reminders. People get distracted, and people forget. Follow-up and resend the survey if you don’t get a good response.
4. Make it easy to return the survey. Provide a self-addressed envelope for paper surveys or offer an electronic survey option.
5. You will learn the most from comments so encourage customer remarks. Add a comment section and leave lots of white space for writing comments.
6. Ask for demographic information like age, sex, length of time as a customer, geographic location, etc. This information will help you determine various demographic differences.
7. People are mean and sometimes say things that are unkind. Don’t take negative comments personally; use them as a motivator to improve. Let it roll off your shoulders and don’t use it as an excuse to not solicit feedback.
8. Incorporate feedback into annual business goals. Feedback provides lots of data. Use this information to take the business to the next level.
9. There are lots of software available for creating surveys. Google Forms is a great free tool!
10. Lastly, true data analysis should be done by a professional to ensure proper interpretation.
If you would like to learn more about customer satisfaction, you might be interested in this book: Measuring Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty, available on Amazon.