Don’t just measure customer satisfaction - improve it

29 October 2013

Dan Hawker

Dan Hawker

Former Head of Tobacco, Wholesale & Retail

There are few companies that are not now aware of the importance of customer satisfaction. Many are now avid assessors of levels of customer satisfaction, using new technologies and techniques to find out how we feel about their products and services. But are they doing enough to actually improve our levels of satisfaction?

A new era of customer satisfaction research

In our day-to-day consumer lives we are bombarded with requests for our opinion about a company’s performance and our levels of satisfaction with that company.

Buy or research a financial services product online and you will probably find a webchat pop up on screen, asking for a few minutes of your time to discuss your experience. Webchat use has soared by 140% in the past two years.

Equally, social media has become a fertile source of information for these customer satisfaction data junkies. Comment on a company on Twitter or some other social media channel and your views will be logged, analysed, and reported on.

Visit a car showroom and the next day you will probably receive a phone call asking how easy you found the experience and what the company could have done to make it easier for you. Take a holiday and within a fortnight of your return a form will arrive on your doorstep asking you to score from one to ten your likelihood of recommending the experience to a friend.

Whether the company is using new digital channels or new methodologies such as customer effort measures or Net Promoter Score, we are witnessing not only significant investment, but also relentless innovation in the field of customer satisfaction.

Time to start acting on the findings?

Clearly, marketers are spending millions of pounds on measuring customer satisfaction. This is to be encouraged. Yet, what is remarkable is that the same companies are often reluctant to invest in tactics which would rapidly and significantly improve the satisfaction levels of their customers. It almost seems as though we have become so caught up in the measurement of customer satisfaction that we are paralysed in the face of the data, statistics, and insights that this industry generates.

Here then are three recommendations you can implement right now to start improving levels of customer satisfaction with your business.

1) Outsource to experts

Are you best placed to do every single part of your manufacturing, retailing and delivery processes or are there  aspects you could outsource to specialists who will do a  better job than you could and free you up to focus on the parts where  you do excel?

2) Encourage greater collaboration

Maybe you already have your experts in place. But are they working together as effectively as they could be? Is there a smooth, seamless transition from one stage of the process to the next or could all parts benefit from a clearer understanding of what each other does?

3) Make it all happen in real-time

You can make a quantum leap on this by introducing a real-time view of your network. Until recently this was for the most part impossible, or at the very best prohibitively expensive. Recent advances in technology have changed this, meaning that you can now get data on what is happening where, and intervene as and when necessary. For example, does your transport partner need to go all the way to the warehouse to pick up a product, when one of your retail outlets is en route to the customer?

By taking these three steps companies alongside existing investments in customer satisfaction measurement they may find that they start to see some fairly rapid and impressive upticks in those levels of customer satisfaction.

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