WHEN….to Measure Customer Satisfaction?

This is a question I get asked frequently, when is the right time to measure customer satisfaction for the products and services provided?

And by saying ‘measure’, I mean a structured survey leading to successful decision making.

There are four such situations:

First, there is a high volume of changing customers. For this type of situation, one might want to consider following the changes in customer satisfaction continuously, on a daily basis preferably. And here is why, the less regular customers there are, the chance of identifying the changes in product or service quality diminishes greatly. The regular customers have a natural interest to point out if the products and services do not meet their expectations, whereas the one-off customers do not necessarily feel obliged to do that, they are simply less likely to buy the products and services again.

Second, after making major changes to the existing products and services, or before launching the new ones. I think here it depends on the scope, and quite frankly on the level of financial investment involved. By this I mean, it may well be more beneficial to conduct the survey first before investing, creating and launching new products and services, just to ensure that enough natural demand exists. Also, additional information can be obtained e.g. the type of product or service features customers would appreciate the most.

Third, there has been a lengthy gap between the customer satisfaction measurements. Now, to make the most of the situation, it would be recommendable to repeat the previous survey unless the questions have become irrelevant due to product and service changes. The point in conducting occasional customer feedback surveys is to compare the data between the surveys. If the survey questions are being changed, the data is going to loose its relevance for direct comparison. Thus, it will be harder to draw conclusions whether things are actually improving from the customer perspective.

Fourth, customer satisfaction has never been measured in a structured manner. Sometimes, business owners or management level executives may rely a little too much on their experience driven intuition, and that is without a doubt a powerful tool to be used in the decision making. However, the problem may occur in the form of confirmation bias, to give an example, we may draw conclusion that making profit is equal to having very satisfied customers, thus neglecting the fact that succeeding financially does not necessarily correlate with high customer satisfaction, there might be other factors in play explaining the financial success e.g. high product demand and pricing strategies.

If one of the above outlined situations is recognisable at your business, collecting customer feedback in a structured manner might be a recommendable step to take.

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