Measuring and Managing Customer Satisfaction
Believe it or not customer satisfaction is somewhat of a new focus within the business industry. For many years the main focus of business was based upon staying in the black, increasing sales, growing business visibility and making a product or supplying a service that is needed or valued. However, with the changing times of our variable economy, there has been a major shift in the business mindset. Instead of focusing inward on the business and its growth and financial aspects, many companies have chosen to move their focus outward towards the satisfaction of the customer. With this innovative mindset, companies are really trying to put customer satisfaction above all else. It is actually much easier to keep customers when they are satisfied with the product or service provided than it is to go out and attain new customers. In fact, new figures estimate that it will cost a company 5 to 8 times more money to reach out and attain a new customer than to just keep a current customer satisfied. Furthermore, if a customer is satisfied with a product they will often recommend or talk highly of the product to others within the industry as well. Word of mouth is a very powerful tool during this age of online communication. With the click of a button, a person can “like” or “recommend” a product to many other people on his or her communication database.
Now that we know customer satisfaction is so important, how can we measure it?
This is the hard part. There are many ways to measure customer satisfaction, however many of the ways are outdated or just simply unhelpful. Such tactics such as reviewing graphs that indicate sales volume or just listening in to what customer service representatives say is just the beginning and does not really allow for accurate measuring. In order to get to the true degree of satisfaction, an organization must be proactive somewhat transparent. Many highly competitive businesses on the market engage in the following practices to measure satisfaction:
1. Create a meaningful and powerful mission statement that includes the vision for customer satisfaction and all employees are aware of the statement and what it entails.
2. All corporate evaluations include both the businesses evaluations as well as the evaluations of the top-rated competitors currently on the market.
3. Customers are informed of upcoming and impending changes, and are aware that the changes are being made due to customer identified recommendations.
4. All questionnaires, surveys, focus groups and data collection is reviewed and created by both marketing and sales employees who work directly with the customer base.
5. The customer satisfaction system must be user friendly so it is easy to understand for all employees and all employees must have access to the customer satisfaction results.
There are also many additional tactics that can be implemented to help guide and enrich the process of measuring customer satisfaction that are unique to the industry in which the business provides goods or services. However, the answer is clear; customer satisfaction is often considered the core of what drives a business to success or failure.
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