Who is Responsible for Customer Satisfaction?

Customer satisfaction can be a very unique differentiator for any corporation and a major value proposition to any of the corporation’s customers.   When a product or service is on a par with the competition you can use best in class customer satisfaction to stand out in a crowded market.

When customers look for value, it does not have to be just from the product or service but in how they are treated in the whole buying, selling and post sales process.

So who should own customer satisfaction?  Should sales own it? Should marketing own it? Should customer service own it?  Should the IT organization own it? Should your partners own it?

Let’s look at each group and see if they should be responsible for customer satisfaction.

Sales:  Well sales “touches” the customer every day, they are the ones who know what is going on with the customers.  So clearly it should be sales.

Marketing:  Marketing does the research on customer needs and pain points and develops the messages and branding that resonates with customers, so they should own customer satisfaction.

Customer Service:  Wait, this organization response to the customer’s requests. They handle the customer’s problem that no one else wants.  Clearly they should own customer satisfaction.

IT:  They are responsible for customer facing applications like call center answering systems, web site for users and order processing systems.  So, clearly they know the needs of the customer in order to make them satisfied.

Your Partners:  Hold the phones, most partners do some or all of the above functions so they really should own customer satisfaction.

Well, I would offer a different answer to the problem.  Customer satisfaction is the responsibility of EVERYONE in ANY company!

Everyone “touches “ the customer and how they perform their job relates to the customer being satisfied!   The developer of a product should develop something that addresses a customer need. The people in manufacturing should make sure that what is shipped is of highest quality and ship what the customer requested.  The call center person answering the phone should treat each phone call like it is the president of that company calling in. Sales and partners  should listen to their customers and address their needs and not selling them something they do not want. Marketing  should always  look at their activities from the customer’s  “glasses”.

So, what steps should you take to have all around customer satisfaction?    A customer satisfaction program does not have to be a very complex or a costly situation.  Here is a very basic form of a customer satisfaction program that one can get started quite easily and be effective.

Step One; Train each and every one within your organization on what customer satisfaction is and how every department has an impact on the results of good customer satisfaction.   Show them some case studies or examples of bad and good customer satisfaction situations.

Step Two, Create some posters or banners or have article about customer satisfaction in the company newsletter.  Have each group meetings or conference calls set aside a session about customer satisfaction.

Step Three, Have some one or small groups set up some goals and start collecting data on how the company is doing on creating good customer satisfaction on a regular basis.

Note:   There is actual real world data that shows that companies who have created some form of customer satisfaction program have not only improved customer opinions but have seen an uptick in net new revenues.

RHL 6/7/11

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