B2B | Small Business

The Best Practices in Measuring Customer Satisfaction

Author:  Neil Kokemuller
Publish Date: 

Tracking Tools

One of the biggest challenges in monitoring satisfaction is getting customers to respond to surveys. On the phone, service employees typically ask customers to wait for a brief survey after a problem is resolved. Online surveys are standard as well, because you can deliver them via email and the responses automatically go into your software for measurement. You can ask customers for feedback during in-store visits, but you risk impeding their shopping experience and distorting the results from customers who find it hard to offer genuine feedback -- especially critical feedback -- when face to face with a company representative.

When to Measure

Measurement generally includes post-purchase assessments and periodic evaluations to monitor ongoing satisfaction. Shortly after a customer purchase, you can call, email or send a mail survey with a business reply envelope. This prompt follow-up allows you to gauge immediate satisfaction with a product or service experience. By checking in, you have a chance to correct product or service problems. Monthly, quarterly or semiannual surveys allow you to gauge a customer's relationship with your business over time. If a customer hasn't been in for a while, you target her with a promotional offer to generate a visit.

Using Customer Relationship Management

Customer relationship management, or CRM, software is designed specifically to help you start and manage customer relationships. You can actually set timelines for follow-up contacts that automatically send or remind you to make these calls. With CRM, you can prepare and send out satisfaction surveys based on a customer's relationship. When you get responses, you have a chance to engage the customer, and the collective responses allow you to spot trends in product or service deficiencies that must be addressed.

What to Measure

To effectively measure customer satisfaction, you must assess more than whether a customer is "satisfied." A customer's rating of the actual experience versus her perception of the experience gives you insights on whether your offering lived up to your promotional billing. Likelihood of referrals is another important metric. Positive word of mouth is important for growing your company, and if you don't get it, it is helpful to understand why this isn't happening. Likewise, the potential for repeat purchases is an important metric with new customers. Given the high cost of customer acquisition, gauging your potential for a repeat purchase is a huge step toward retention.

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