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Customer Satisfaction and the Service Business
The relationship between customer satisfaction and success of a service business is a direct one. Customer satisfaction measurement, however, is a much more complex matter. Customer satisfaction is a qualitative assessment of the services you provide, and therefore it is a surrogate measure of the value of your services to your customers.
The measurement method you choose can make makes a difference to the results obtained. Your motivation for measuring customer satisfaction will drive both your methodology for collecting the data, and what you do with it.
Client satisfaction data can be collected for:
Be clear about why you are collecting satisfaction data; to deliver a good report card (a primary motivation of units in a large corporation or public sector entity, or for businesses which are required to meet certain standards), or to diagnose and manage continuous improvement.
For a good report card, measure general satisfaction using a once-a-year survey. Every business wants a good report card, but that will not help you improve your performance. To obtain useful data you need to measure client satisfaction with specific attributes of your service at the time of the transaction.
Finally, never forget that emphasis on satisfaction of current customer demands can inhibit the development of innovations that can meet the future, or current, but unstated, demands of those same customers. That's why you need to keep talking to them.
Try the one question survey: pick a question for a period of time and include it in every conversation you have with a client.
Jennifer Cram is a sought-after civil celebrant based in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. She has also has 30 experience as a manager in the public sector and has published numerous papers on measuring service performance. For more information http://www.jennifercram.com and http://www.alia.org.au/~jcram/
Copyright © 2005 Jennifer Cram. You have permission to publish this article electronically or in print, free of charge, as long as the bylines are included. A courtesy copy of your publication would be appreciated.
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