No one can ever fault a business for wanting to improve customer satisfaction, loyalty, and lifetime value. It is in a company’s DNA. Isn’t it? Well, if it isn’t, it better be in this increasingly competitive, fractured, and over-communicated business environment. And isn’t that what measuring customer satisfaction is all about?
It’s a funny thing, however, because customer satisfaction “scores” will get you only partially there, as measuring can be loaded with problems. Here are three rules for avoiding those problems:
- Never try to measure satisfaction with one question: On a scale of 1 – 5, how satisfied are you with…, because it gives you an incomplete picture of the situation or your relationship with the customer. There is no way you can know why the customer is or isn’t satisfied, or what you can do to fix it. It is unrealistic for you to expect that this single question will give you actionable data. Always follow up with…”Why?”
- Satisfaction is often equated with loyalty, and they are two completely different customer emotions. Satisfaction is short term; loyalty is long term. You don’t want short term customers; you want lifetime value customers. And, satisfaction, by itself, can’t predict your long term growth.
- Satisfaction is too often measured in a vacuum, not taking your competitors into consideration. Satisfaction is a “closed system” – i.e. your company, your product, and your customer. Loyalty, on the other hand, is an “open system” – i.e. your company, your product, your customer, and your competitors.
So as you think about how to assess the relationship between customer satisfaction and your business, remember that satisfaction is simply a tool in your marketing tool kit. Don’t let it be a trap.