Customer Satisfaction – Measure it

Customer Satisfaction Measurement
In every sales management training course I have ever gone to the subject of getting the sales force to identify the client’s needs and then meeting these is, rightly, covered. It is a key subject, which is why customer satisfaction features at the top of most sales manager’s list of goals. After all ensuring your clients are completely satisfied with the products and services you supply is critical to the on-going success of your organisation.

Despite this, how many companies really know how satisfied their clients are? Often the managers in charge shy away from exploring client satisfaction as a result of prejudices against satisfaction analyses.

Only 28% of companies regularly assess the satisfaction of their clients according to a study carried out by the WHU in Koblenz under the supervision of Professor Christian Homburg.

The survey involved 1,000 marketing and sales managers from industrial goods companies. The survey not only provides information about the current state of client satisfaction assessment. It also shows the uses client satisfaction surveys offer and provides recommendations which can be implemented in practice.

In the study a total of 400, 25 minute telephone interviews were carried out. A structured questionnaire was used for this, relating to the following subject areas:

1. Information about the company of the customer interviewed. In this question area it was established how many computers were installed and how they were used.

2. Areas of customer satisfaction. A list was drawn up of 30 material and non-material factors reaching from product performances (reliability, application, price/performance ratio) through sales support (dealer’s specialist knowledge, quality, sales training provided) and service (speed, readiness to deliver) to brand image. The interviwees said how important they believed each individual characteristic was.

3. Areas of customer satisfaction. A list was drawn up of 30 material and non-material factors reaching from product performances (reliability, application, price/performance ratio) through sales support (dealer’s specialist knowledge, quality) and service (speed, readiness to deliver) to brand image.

The interviwees said how important they believed each individual characteristic was.

The characteristics investigated (which were sifted out from a multiplicity of criteria) were derived from experience of the industry and from the findings of previous external group discussions, depth interviews and individual explorations.

4. Assessment of one’s own brand and competing brands. Every interviewee assessed the manufacturer’s brand and two rivals, both generally and as regards each of the 30 characteristics. In addition, buying intentions were ascertained.

5. Quality of performance and expectations. In response to open questions, the interviewees had to compare the manufacturer’s performances with their own expectations. At the same time they were also supposed to give examples of how they had been disappointed or pleasantly surprised.

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Surveying Your Contracted Customers

Surveying Your Contracted Customers Keeps You In the Game
The only way to head off this type of silent erosion is to keep connected to your contracted customers. Seeking their feedback early and often and addressing critical issues helps to retain the growth opportunities that existing customers can offer to your business.

Protecting A Key Asset
We’ve been through plenty of management meetings when several long term contracts are expiring at the same time — creating both practical and perception challenges for companies. You’ll always get one shortsighted genius who’ll insist that long term contracts are evil. The question to be asked is: why didn’t we just keep on top of the customers expectations and satisfaction and take advantage of the time to adjust to them. That makes for much happier contract renewal times. Read Full Story

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Customer Feedback Management

Survey tools provide for gathering customer feedback but not for organizing it. Most large firms today have dozens or even hundreds of separate accounts with survey tools. Employees conduct online surveys to solicit the information they need to answer specific questions. In the process, they degrade the research process. Response rates decline, as too many individuals send out too many survey invitations. Respondents are confused, as questionnaires are published with leading questions and ambiguous lists of choices. It’s easy for do-it-yourself researchers to collect data poorly, leading the business to the wrong conclusions and the wrong decisions.

Panel management is the recognition that customer feedback management is an asset and should be treated as such. In order to preserve customers’ willingness to respond to surveys, organizations need to control and conserve access to those customers for survey research. Too often, organizations survey all or most of their customers rather than a random sample, which at the cost of modestly lower statistical validity enables many more surveys to run in parallel. Good panel management practices treat survey respondents as an ecosystem and make sure not to hunt respondents to extinction.

Surveys are a great way of gathering data that is representative of customers as a whole: quantitative information. MROCs, or market research online communities, are a complementary research technology that allows researchers to monitor and initiate rich conversations between customers: qualitative information. By moving to research community management, firms are able to gather more extensive qualitative information than can be done with focus groups, on a continuous rather than an ad-hoc basis. This enables firms to turn to customers for both strategic and tactical decisions.

Enterprise Feedback Management (EFM) unites surveys and research communities to provide a fuller picture of customers, in numbers and in their own words. The marketing research department now mentors and assists employees as they conduct research; research data is pushed out to employees in hierarchical reports that tailor it exactly to their responsibilities. The marketing department learns the Voice of the Customer and hears ideas and issues raised directly by customers. The IT department integrates CRM with the panel management capabilities of EFM: professionals can then easily target groups of customers for particular surveys, and customers themselves see shorter questionnaires, with information they have already provided the organization embedded behind the scenes.

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Customer Satisfaction-Whats it

Because the concept of customer satisfaction is new to many companies, it’s important to be clear on exactly what’s meant by the term.

Customer satisfaction is the state of mind that customers have about a company when their expectations have been met or exceeded over the lifetime of the product or service. The achievement of customer satisfaction leads to company loyalty and product repurchase. There are some important implications of this definition:

– Because customer satisfaction is a subjective, nonquantitative state, measurement won’t be exact and will require sampling and statistical analysis.

Customer satisfaction measurement must be undertaken with an understanding of the gap between customer expectations and attribute performance perceptions.

– There should be some connection between customer satisfaction measurement and bottom-line results.

– Satisfaction itself can refer to a number of different facts of the relationship with a customer. For example, it can refer to any or all of the following:
– Satisfaction with the quality of a particular product or service
– Satisfaction with an ongoing business relationship
– Satisfaction with the price-performance ratio of a product or service
– Satisfaction because a product/service met or exceeded the customer’s expectations
Each industry could add to this list according to the nature of the business and the specific relationship with the customer. Customer satisfaction measurement variables will differ depending on what type of satisfaction is being researched. For example, manufacturers typically desire on-time delivery and adherence to specifications, so measures of satisfaction taken by suppliers should include these critical variables.
True customer value management entails integration of total quality management with the company’s classic management systems (strategic planning, budgeting & control, capital investment, competitive analysis, performance measures & reward) to ensure that companies enter and invest only in businesses where they can be quality & value leaders.
The payoff from customer satisfaction measurement comes from its ability to define & direct a company’s quality improvement efforts, and its quality/value position in the marketplace. Customer satisfaction measurement and quality impact profits by:
– Reducing costs
– Preventing erosion in revenues over time
– Increasing market share
– Increasing gross margins

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SMS Enabled Feedback System

There is no bigger opportunity to efficiently capture customer feelings about a company’s products or services at the point of experience and measuring customer satisfaction. “Ninety-eight percent of mobile phones are SMS enabled out of the box with 94 percent of all mobile users having SMS as part of their mobile plans. Nine out of 10 people walking down the street don’t have a pen in their pocket to fill out a comment card, but everyone has their phone with them.”

“Mobile tools are a great way to engage our guests,”. “They can provide instant feedback. The objective is to find more ways to get feedback from customers. People are getting inundated with email trash, so we wanted to leverage mobile as a way to interact with them in a fun way.”
Using SMS/text messaging, users can send their concerns, questions, suggestions, and compliments closer to the time interaction with a company has occurred. Given that more than 85% of consumers have a mobile phone, the ability to provide feedback back to a customer just got easier.

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Customer Satisfaction Programs – Make it Strong

For more than a hundred years, businesses have gathered customer feedback with the goal of using it to increase customer retention and sales. Early customer satisfaction programs fell short of this goal because they could not quickly relate customer feedback. Moreover, feedback was often dropped because there was no way to assign responsibility to employees. Thanks to web 2.0 technology, today’s customer feedback management software can solve the puzzle of translating customer feedback into action. Enterprise Feedback Management is the key. Enterprise Feedback Management (EFM) systems collect and distribute customer feedback, so that it can be appropriately harnessed. Sophisticated EFM systems also assign responsibility and track progress on utilizing customer feedback. This article will explore how Enterprise Feedback Management systems can help companies retain and expand current accounts. CBI Group’s experience with Customer Engagement Management solution will be taken as a case study, so as to provide concrete examples of how customer feedback may be used to retain customers and grow current accounts.

First, a little background on CBI Group. CBI Group is a professional services firm based in Newark, Delaware. They specialize in providing HR consulting and outsourcing. Founded in 2001 by HR experts, CBI Group grew over 800% in its first four years. Today, CBI’s 40+ employees provide services to clients primarily in the Mid-Atlantic region, with customers located throughout the United States. In 2008, CBI Group leadership prioritized the need to retain current customers. With the understanding that acquiring a new customer cost the company 7 times more than retaining an existing customer, CBI Group decided to invest in a customer feedback program as a way to retain clients. They were also looking for tools to help them grow current clients’ accounts. The company selected Customer Engagement Management solution to meet their goals.

Feedback Management solution provides a method for assessing Customer Engagement, boosting retention, and finding new potential for growth. Here’s how it works: throughout the year, CBI Group customers receive surveys on their experience with CBI Group’s consultants. In addition to overall, aggregate data, customer feedback management software delivers individual clients’ feedback in real-time through an online management dashboard. If a customer reports dissatisfaction with any aspect of their experience with a CBI Group consultant, a Recover Alert is automatically sent to CBI Group’s leaders. Recover Alerts empower leaders to quickly follow up on problematic situations with the appropriate consultant. Because Feedback Management system delivers feedback in real time, CBI Group can immediately respond to customer problems, thereby turning disappointed customers into brand advocates.
Another type of Action Alert reveals opportunities for new business. If during a survey a customer indicates a need for additional HR services, a Grow Alert is automatically sent to CBI Group consultants and management. This enables consultants to follow up with their clients in a timely manner, ultimately winning new business that would otherwise be invisible.

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Customer Feedback And Surveys- Helping or Not

Do you want to drive your business forward? Do you really know what your customers think about your business? In order to ensure that you achieve both of these things you may wish to consider conducting a customer feedback survey. With the help of such a survey not only are you improving your customer retention and profit but you are also advancing customer satisfaction levels and prompting interest in new products and services that you offer. Basically, with the help of a customer feedback survey from your customers, you are building up a relationship with them, which will enable you to tailor your business more towards their needs and enhance the chances of increasing your own sales.

Another great feature that you may not be aware of where customer feedback surveys are concerned is the fact that you can also use them as a means of publicizing aspects of your service that your customers, until now, have been unaware of. So not only are you gathering the information needed to improve your service but you are also promoting your business in the process.

Checking also helps you identify obstacles and opportunities so you can address them. For example, during the dialogue you might ask the customer, “Which sounds better at first glance, X or Y?” and “What system do you have?” These questions will let you save time, focus the dialogue, and help you tailor your message.

Each time you position a major point of your message, answer a question, or respond to an objection, check for feedback to gauge the customer’s reaction. If the customer understands and agrees, your checking question will save you time, because you’ll know that you don’t have to address that point further. If feedback from your checking shows the customer still has a question, you can backtrack, ask questions yourself, make adjustments, and/or reset your objective.

Checking is the skill that salespeople resist the most—initially. They see it as risky because the customer feedback may be negative—objections, complaints, requests, demands. But with practice, they find that checking is indispensable—a virtual secret weapon.

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