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.