Customer satisfaction survey - why is it important to measure it?
Mariana Pizzo - 26 de abril, 2023
What are we looking for when we measure customer satisfaction?
Organizations that measure customer satisfaction are pursuing one of two objectives (or both):
- To find opportunities for service improvement.
- To evaluate their employees and motivate them to satisfy the customer.
And here some questions arise: which is the most important, can we aim at both at the same time, and how careful should we be in that case?
The first answer is difficult to answer. If we have to choose only one of these objectives, which one would it be?
The first one, finding opportunities for improvement, would lead us to learn from the experience with our customers, which is always positive. The problem is that we could do this without involving the people who are providing the service. That is, we could analyze the responses of our customers within an office, as specialists, and take action on changes that address the main shortcomings they have mentioned to us. We could do this, and our employees would only comply with the measures that a specialist has suggested.
The second objective has the advantage of involving first and foremost the employees who are delivering the service, who are making customer satisfaction a reality. We are saying to them: "customer satisfaction depends on you", and we encourage them to do their best because we will evaluate and incentivize them on the basis of this variable.
I agree with linking staff incentives to customer satisfaction, but we have to be very careful here. Why?
Because customer satisfaction is the result of a value chain that ends in a contact with the customer. We cannot isolate a single link in our evaluation.
Let me give you an example: A couple of days ago I was called to find out my level of satisfaction with the technical service I had performed on my vehicle. The lady on the phone asked me if I was well taken care of, and if I was satisfied with the service. These are two very different things. The employee looked after me very well, but I was not completely satisfied with the service.
The problem was that, in the technical service foreseen for my vehicle, an item that the representative who attended to me strongly suggested we to ask for is not included, since in the model of my vehicle, according to what he told us, not doing this service every 10,000 kilometers will bring us serious problems later on.
If it is highly recommended to do it, so as not to affect the functioning of the vehicle, how come it is not included in the periodic service?
In other words, the cause of my dissatisfaction lies in the design of the service (for which the workshop staff has no responsibility whatsoever), and not in the service itself, which is under their responsibility and control.
So, in a case like this, it is unfair to evaluate the staff who have provided the service in terms of customer satisfaction.
Are the two objectives of measuring customer satisfaction compatible?
I think so. Indeed, it is best to aim for both, but with certain caveats.
In some cases, survey questions separate the evaluation of the service received from the overall level of satisfaction.
This makes it possible to evaluate the performance of the staff vis-à-vis the customer, independently of other mistakes that the service may have made, for which they are not responsible.
However, caution should be exercised. Customers often cannot separate these two aspects in their judgment. If someone has been very dissatisfied with a service, it is difficult for them to evaluate any aspect positively.
The emotional state caused by dissatisfaction is capable of overriding any positive judgment, even if it is deserved.
On the other hand, it is also fairer and more useful to evaluate care teams, rather than individuals in isolation. At the end of the day, it is the team effort that achieves the desired customer satisfaction. I like group incentives because they encourage collaboration between peers toward a single goal.
In conclusion, I would say that the most important thing is to be clear about the objective to be measured in the customer satisfaction survey before designing the method to do so. Surveys, or any other method you use, are tools in the service of your objectives.
To choose the right tool to carry out the customer satisfaction survey, we must know what result we want to obtain. Otherwise, we run the risk of falling into these mistakes that lead us to a port we do not want to reach.
Are you clear about the objective you are pursuing by measuring customer satisfaction through a customer satisfaction survey?
Por Mariana Pizzo
Professional passionate about service quality, and helping those who have this challenge within organizations to increase customer satisfaction. Industrial Engineer graduated from the Instituto Tecnologico de Buenos Aires.