Most large organisations measure customer satisfaction. An annual loyalty survey. Apost-purchase interview. A customer feedback form sitting on the bedside table in a hotel room.
The problem with many surveys is that they are reactive and they only focus on the customer’s experience with that particular organisation. Examples of the sorts of questions are:
- On a scale of 1 to 10, based on the service you received today, how likely would you be to recommend X to your friends and family?
- How satisfied were you with the performance of Y this year?
- When comparing product A and product B, which do you prefer?
The problem with customer satisfaction measures is that they don’t tell a business who their customers compare them to. They also don’t tell them who their customers think delivers outstanding service (and why). Most customer satisfaction measures don’t tell a business who their customers wouldn’t chose to buy from again if they had a choice.
The way to find out the answers to these sorts of questions is through customer experience research.
In contrast to measures of satisfaction, customer experience research can be used as a proactive business development and marketing tool. It helps businesses define measures of success based on what’s important to a customer. It allows product and service delivery improvements to be prioritised in line with customer expectations. Over time it can be used as a measure of brand strength.
Customer satisfaction and customer experience research both have their place in a business. What’s important is that the purpose of any research is clear before time and effort is spent talking to customers and then analysing what they’ve said.