To measure customer satisfaction, you need to able to understanding what creates it. Just asking customers, “Are you satisfied?” won’t tell you much. Yet many companies often measure the satisfaction of their customers on the basis of only a few questions: “How satisfied were you today?” “Would you recommend us to your friends?” and “Do you intend to visit us again?”
Effective customer satisfaction measures have several components. The two general components are the customer’s expectations and whether the organization performed well enough to meet them. A third component is the degree of satisfaction, or to put it in terms we’ve used to describe exceptional performance, is the customer delighted?
To figure out if a customer’s expectations were met and they are delighted, more detail is usually required. Companies might break the offering into major components and ask how satisfied customers were with each. For example, a restaurant might ask the following:
- Were you greeted promptly by a host? By your server at your table?
- Was your order taken promptly?
- How long did you wait for your food?
- Was the food served at the appropriate temperature?
These questions assume that each aspect of the service is equally important to the customer. However, some surveys ask customers to rate how important they are. Other surveys simply “weight,” or score, questions so that aspects that are known to be more important to customers have a greater impact on the overall satisfaction score. For example, a restaurant might find that prompt service, good taste, and large portions are the only three factors that usually determine customers’ overall satisfaction. In that case, the survey can be shortened considerably. At the same time, however, space should be left on the survey so customers can add any additional information that could yield important insight. This information can be used to find out if there are customer service problems that a firm wasn’t aware of or if the preferences of consumers in general are changing.
You will still find customer satisfaction survey cards that just ask, “How satisfied were you today?” “Would you recommend us to your friends?” and “Do you intend to visit us again?” The information obtained from these surveys can still be useful if it’s paired with a more comprehensive measurement program. For instance, a sample of customers could be given the opportunity to provide more detailed information via another survey and the two surveys could be compared. Such a comparison can help the company pinpoint aspects that need improvement. In addition, the company has given every customer an opportunity to provide input, which is an important part of any empowerment strategy.