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Creating Customer/Consumer/Client Satisfaction Surveys

Customer satisfaction is the cornerstone of a successful organization. In recent years, there are many factors that have lead to decreased customer satisfaction as follows:
  • Inflation and price competition

  • With so many businesses and competitors offering the same products and services, inflation increased. So did competition. Both factors lead to a need to lower costs by reducing services and the quality of products. This meant that customers were more likely to be dissatisfied with their products or services.

  • Labor shortages

  • With economies shifting to services, employees were more likely to work in stressful jobs that offer little advancement. They were also more likely to receive low wages and little or no training in developing and fostering customer relationships. This has lead to an increase in customer dissatisfaction with products and services.

  • Automation

  • With an increase in the use of computers, self-service, and online access, companies used automation to cut costs. This has meant that the distance between the company and its customers became wider. Customers also see automated services as impersonal, cold, and difficult to navigate. While companies stressed cost control and efficiency through automation, customers expressed more frustration with difficult instructions and long telephone calls. For many companies, reducing customer frustration meant that they added customer support to their online services. As seen in Figure 2-2, the Dell website allows customers to interact with customer service representatives to answer their questions and receive feedback.

  • Customers with more knowledge and choices

  • Customers today have more knowledge about products and services. They can easily gain information about prices and quality online. They can also read reviews and connect with other customers through social networking websites. This has, of course, meant that a dissatisfied customer is much more likely to share their complaints with others than the business.

    Customers today also have more choices. Vendors and retailers are numerous, offering products and services from multiple businesses. With so many choices, customers are much more likely to express dissatisfaction and seek business elsewhere if not to their standards or liking. The choices have also increased customer expectations which affects their satisfaction.

Given this information about what can decrease customer satisfaction, it is important to note what business research says about customer satisfaction:
  1. The average business will not hear a complaint from 96% of dissatisfied customers

  2. For every complaint that one customer has about a product or a service, 26 other customers have an identical complaint

  3. The average customer with a complaint will tell 10 people. Over 12 percent will tell 20 or more people of their complaint

  4. If a business resolves a complaint or a problem for a customer, that customer will tell 5 other people about how the complaint was handled

  5. Customers who complained are more likely to continue doing business with the company than those who do not.
          a. If a company resolves an issue, 50-70% of customers who complained will return               for business.
          b. If a company resolves an issue quickly, 95% of customers who complained will               return for business.

Before a company measures customer satisfaction, it has to make it clear to managers and employees its importance. Customer satisfaction is not only important to immediate sales and profits but to customer retention and long-term loyalty. Customer satisfaction has a number of benefits for an organization as follows:

     3.Positive word-of-mouth – High customer satisfaction is a powerful advertising and promotions tool for a business. A company that maintains high customer satisfaction can gain the loyalty of its customers. These loyal customers are much more likely to spread the word about the company’s products or services.

     4.More frequent business – Depending on what the company offers, high customer satisfaction leads to more frequent purchases or use of services. A company with high customer satisfaction is more likely to have the customer return with multiple purchases, gift-buying, and seeking of new products.

     5.Retain customers – Companies with high customer satisfaction are less likely to lose customers to competition. Customers can reduce their business or leave for a competitor altogether if they are not satisfied with pricing, convenience, timing, or any other aspect of business.

     6. Price competition protection – With high customer satisfaction, a business can be insulated from price competition. New companies enter markets all the time. In their initial offerings, their prices are low to attract new customers from other retailers or producers. Established businesses with high customer satisfaction are less likely to lose their customers to these franchises. If customers are very happy with a company, they will stay even if lower prices are offered elsewhere.

     7. Positive work environments – Companies with high customer satisfaction provide positive work environments to their employees. These employees are less likely to receive complaints from customers. They are also more likely to receive customer relationship training and support from managers.

2.2 Benefits of Customer Satisfaction Surveys

It is not enough to measure a business’ success by the number of customers it has or gains per quarter. Companies have to measure customer satisfaction frequently to address issues of most importance to their customers. Since customer satisfaction is related to customer retention and loyalty, the use of customer satisfaction surveys is a long-term business strategy. Figure 2-3 shows the benefits of customer satisfaction surveys.

  1. Formal customer feedback – Customer satisfaction surveys provide a way to gain formal feedback from customers about products and services. A satisfaction survey allows a company to receive feedback on every aspect of product development and delivery.

  2. Customer loyalty – Satisfaction surveys let customers know that an organization cares about them. This is important to gaining and keeping customer loyalty. As markets change and new companies emerge, loyalty is important for a company to keep its customer base.

  3. Employee evaluation – A customer satisfaction survey can provide an indirect method of evaluating employee performance. For example, if a company finds that customers give 98% satisfaction scores to product quality but only 65% for shipping, this lets management know that staff members responsible for shipping are underperforming. These surveys help companies develop:

    • Pay and compensation reviews

    • Employee training programs to improve customer service skills

  4. Competition advantage – A customer satisfaction survey provides a competitive edge to companies. It does so by increasing the profile of the company and letting customers know that the company cares about them. It also provides continuous suggestions and ideas for improving products and services.

  5. Advertising support – Customer satisfaction surveys provide a reminder about company services and products. For both new and old customers, these surveys remind customers of new products and solicits opinions about future ones.
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