How to get the most out of measuring customer satisfaction

Measuring customer satisfaction. We’re all told to do it, we’re all looking to do as efficiently as possible. I think we even all understand just why it’s so important, but let’s face it when the budget comes around and we’re looking to cut spending, any tools for measuring customer satisfaction are usually the first to go.

We see this a lot in the market research industry: companies looking to manage tight budgets will inevitably cut things like mystery shopping programs or NPS first. As a mystery shopping company ourselves, we obviously advise against that course of action and it’s really not only about our bottom line.

Measuring customer satisfaction is about so much more than just checking in to see how your customers are feeling about your brand, products, and/or stores. It’s about staying ahead of any potential obstacles, learning to read trends in demographic behaviour and needs.

Consumer’s wants, needs and expectations change a lot more quickly than most businesses realize, let alone keep up with. True masters at business use things like measuring customer satisfaction, changes in community demographics, and global sales trends to stay on the edge of supply-demand-expectation.

So how do they do that by measuring customer satisfaction?

Big companies can afford to have floors of market analysts and trendwatchers tell them that colour-blocking fashions are ‘so last season’ and that offset colour schemes will be in fashion next week, but not the week after. They can afford to get the best of the best people, the most intricate and updated software, and the most cutting-edge hardware to get this type of deep market analysis.

SMEs (small business enterprises) can’t always play with the big boys, however, they can still get the information they need to play in the same field!

This is where things like NPS, or customer satisfaction surveys can play a big role. They can be run separately or as part of a larger market research program – they go really well with mystery shopping programs, wink wink, nudge nudge. The trick with any satisfaction survey – customer or otherwise – the key is to set it up with an eye to getting the kind of answers you’re looking for.

Here are some key tips to get the most out of measuring

1. Define your goal

Before you set up any customer satisfaction too, whether it’s a straightforward survey or an interview, focus group, etc, it’s vital to make sure you’re asking questions that will get you the data you need. To do this, you need to know what you’re after: you need to know your targets and your goals. Many companies just want to know the ‘overall satisfaction’, which is fine, except that it’s not as actionable as a targeted purpose. Maybe you’ve just launched a new line of shoes and you want to know if people like them, or maybe you’d like to know how satisfied customers are with the service they receive when they ask for help. Those are specific purposes you can then get answers for.

2. Ask the right questions

Formulating questions seems very simple, you need to know how happy your clientele is, so you ask them ‘how happy are you with….?’. The trouble with this is that analyzing that data can be very tricky. When you’re setting up any tools it’s important to craft each question in such a way that people can answer it in a way that will let you analyze it properly. Since you’re measuring customer satisfaction, there has to be room for open questions that require some serious input but don’t forget the power of multiple choice, scaled opinion polls, and easy yes/no answers.

3. Remember your audience

Your finance department might really want to know how cost-effective that last social media campaign was in terms of driving customer satisfaction, but your customers don’t really care or know about that type of thing. When you’re measuring their satisfaction, it’s important to keep in mind who you’re crafting the questions for. Keep it simple!

Measuring customer satisfaction can give you some serious insight into the desires and expectations of your consumers, more than that, it can help you analyze and predict which way the trends and markets are going to turn. So next time it comes up for a review, give it some more thought.