Top 5 Ways to Measure Customer Satisfaction

Customer satisfaction is notoriously difficult to measure for several reasons.

To begin with, you have to count on customers not only to give feedback, but also to be honest in their assessment. Many people, when satisfied, feel no need to contact the company, while others will quietly grumble about flaws in service or products and swear off a company without ever seeking redress or voicing their complaints so that the situation can be remedied.

Requirements for satisfaction are not only unique to each individual customer, they can be extremely difficult to quantify, even on a personal level. However, if you are able to set standards for employee conduct where interactions with customers are concerned (both from a point-of-sale and a customer service perspective) then you can certainly implement procedures and guidelines to ensure customer satisfaction and measure their success. You can start by going to the source.

1. Survey Customers

This is probably the only way to get customer feedback unless they contact you, which most people are too busy to bother with unless they are extremely upset for some reason.

You can provide surveys in several ways (through mail, email, or over the phone) and in order to get the best information, you should allow customers to answer questions on a weighted scale (as in “Rate your experience on a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 indicating complete dissatisfaction and 5 indicating complete satisfaction”). You may also want to survey repeat customers to see how their experience changes over time.

2. Understand Expectations

If you know what your customers expect from you, it logically follows that you will be better able to offer them an enjoyable experience. So make an effort to discover the expectations of your customers in terms of both service and products in order to ensure that you’re meeting their needs.

3. Find Out Where You’re Failing

If you’re not meeting customer requirements, you need to find out where the failure is occurring. Are the products less than what is advertised? Are employees making promises that cannot be met? Are customer service representatives dropping the ball on dispelling customer concerns and managing their complaints? You may need to take a step back and reevaluate your management abilities. Learning how to manage your employees better will undoubtedly have a positive affect on your customer service. Whatever the case, it would behoove you to know where the lines of communication are breaking down so that relationships with customers can be mended.

4. Pinpoint Specifics

Whether a customer is satisfied or not, the data you collect will need to accurately assess what is working and what isn’t. So inquiries into level of satisfaction should include more than just the overall experience. You need to determine the products or services they purchased, what they liked or disliked about their sales interaction, how the actual purchase compared to their expectations, and any suggestions they have for improvement.

5. Assess the Competition

If you don’t know why customers prefer another brand over yours, you cannot hope to keep them from flocking to the competition. So as part of your survey process, you may want to consider inviting customers to compare and contrast similar products or companies to find out what they are offering that you are not.

About the Author

Kyle Simpson writes for Medical Coding Certification website where you can find information on a career in medical billing and coding industry.

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  • Glenn

    Good points. You should also consider soliciting feedback from people who are not your customers, but should be. What’s preventing them from buying from you?

    • Joe Rawlinson

      @Glenn – Non-customers are great sources of information and a learning opportunity. The trick is getting them to talk to you. Perhaps you can go to where your potential customers are and talk with them be that in an online forum/community or in person.

  • Lauren

    I believe these are good points. But really, only the first is a point of measure for client satisfaction, the other 4 are more like ways of combating satisfied/unsatisfied customers.

    This appears to be the way online, with feedback being the only real measure for customer satisfaction.

    However, your notes were helpful.

    • Jamie Quigg

      completly agree. i am writting an essay at the moment. the essay is on ‘ways in which organisations meausre and monitor customer service’ i think you should have talked about more points in this such as ‘comment cards, mystery employees etc..’ was still helpful though. thanks :)

      • Joe Rawlinson

        @Jamie – Measuring and monitoring customer service is definitely important. I’ll have to cover this in more depth in a future article.

  • Dennis D. Ortega

    Nice Idea, but we can’t avoid customers who even doesn’t have time to share his/her comments about the products.

  • Joe Rawlinson

    @Dennis – not all customers will have time to share their feedback. We should ask and take the feedback that we get as it is better than nothing.

  • William K.

    Gaining a customers insight into the drawbacks of your own company/brand/organisation is of huge benefit no doubt, but how do you ensure that you are selecting the right kind of companies/individuals for feedback?
    My company works with assessment of business practice and scores the organisation accordingly, how can we ensure a question framework to cancel out bias and get universal answers for specific problems?
    Would you suggest a large sample size, or deal with companies that have (ostensibly) struggled with assessment determined by score?

    Any which way you think, great article, some good points overall (same for the comments, thanks!)

    • Joe Rawlinson

      @William – try segmenting your responses based on customer type (first time, repeat), order size, location/region, type of product purchased, demographics. If you start to see all your responses from a single type of customer, focus on getting a more diverse sample.

  • Clark Chua

    I am actually working with a Hair Salon. We capture member’s information, monitor member’s transaction, and encourage members to fill up feedback form at the end of every haircut. We are able to keep track of member’s purchase frequency, total purchased amount and all their accumulated feedback. Is there a generic way to quantify customer’s satisfaction with these information?

    • Joe Rawlinson

      @Clark – You could add a multiple choice question like those used in Net Promoter Score:

      That would let you gather some info that can be used to get a pulse on your customers.

      • Clark Chua

        Great material, thanks Joe!!

        • Joe Rawlinson

          @Clark – You’re welcome! Let me know how it goes with your customers.

    • fungai

      customers come to any service provider with different expectations when these expectations are met there is quality service and when they are not met there is a customer gap .any service provider should try and meet customer expectations to avoid customer gaps and have quality service to customer satisfaction

      • Joe Rawlinson

        Avoiding the customer gap you describe is a great challenge and when companies do it well, it is a mark of excellent customer service.

  • Dave

    how to measure client satisfaction in public organization, especially organization that gives public service like hospital? Are you have some methods ? thanks

  • Monicapela

    How about qualitative forms of measuring such as focus groups and structured interviews? What do you think about those?

    • Joe Rawlinson

      @Monica – I like those qualitative forms when paired with quantitative methods. Focus groups tend to be prone to group think unless you have a very good moderator. I like one-on-one interviews and discussions with customers shortly after their interaction with your company so the experience is fresh in their mind.

  • Aye Sandar Myint

    i want to know that how can i measure customer satisfaction using model but i don’t want to use service quality model