A Scientific approach to Customer Satisfaction

In one of my posting I asked the question, Who is Responsible for Customer Satisfaction?

 I stated that customer satisfaction is the responsibility of EVERYONE!

Everyone “touches “  the customer and how everyone performs their job relates to the customer being satisfied.  I also listed several steps for starting a customer satisfaction program within any company. Lastly, Marketing should always look at their activities from the customer’s “glasses.”

Several people asked about research on customer satisfaction and activities that a company can perform and linking it to either starting a customer satisfaction program or improving their current customer satisfaction program.   Well the answer is a definite YES!

There are a number of approaches, companies and experts on this subject, but they basically boil down to a relatively small number of activities that help improve customer satisfaction.

Fundamentally, customers (both B2B and B2C) are looking for value (see my posting on good value propositions) and value is benefit minus cost.    Given this basic premise, one can link activities that focus on benefits and cost, and if one improves on these activities it will result in an improvement in customer satisfaction and in most cases have a positive impact on the company’s revenue stream.

Two examples of this relationship are:  One, developing a quality product that addresses a customer’s critical issues, resulting in a perceived benefit and subsequent purchases of that product or service. (e.g. disposable diapers)  Secondly, by developing a great relationship with the customer base or creating a wonderful image of your company that will be viewed as a benefit to the customer and again resulting in a purchase of the product or service. (e.g., Apple, Disney)

Bradley T. Gale’s book titled “Managing Customer Value” talks about developing a matrix of attributes related to customer satisfaction consisting of “levers” that when improved will result in an increase to the benefit attribute or when levers addressing costs are improved will also increase the overall value and thus the potential for increased revenues.   The key point is incremental or small improvements in some or all of these attributes have a multiplying impact on the revenue improvement factor.    So just a 1-5% improvement in several areas can result in increased revenues.  

So, as I stated before, everyone can impact customer satisfaction and there are metrics that can be put in place that do not require a major undertaking to measure overall customer satisfaction AND increased revenues. 

Have you stated your customer satisfaction program; if not why not?

RHL 8/16/11

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