Customer satisfaction research
Customer satisfaction is a tricky concept to measure, and the absolute figures are best regarded as indications, rather than precise quantities. Nevertheless, regular measurement can produce very valuable business information, showing trends in customer perceptions, which will help you understand whether your policies are working.
Such trend analysis requires consistent and robust methods, otherwise there is a risk that changes in data are due to survey methods, and not real life. So customer satisfaction research needs careful planning. Questions at the planning stage should include:
- Defining customers - not always straightforward, e.g. for a school, is it the parent or the child?
- Sampling “customers” or “customer interactions”? – should the opinions of a customer who visits once a year have the same weight as a customer who visits every week?
- Which questions should I ask? - the concept of "overall satisfaction" is rooted in many different aspects of the service. Which aspects do you need to ask about, and which contextual factors will be important in explaining different perceptions?
- Accommodating change over time - businesses change, so questionnaires must change, but what impact might this have on long-term trends ?
- How many customers do I need to interview? - generally speaking the bigger the survey the more robust the findings, but of course, larger numbers mean greater cost. How do I reach a cost-effective balance?
- How should I collect the data? - different methods have different strengths, and implications for reliability need to be considered.
- How do I make sense of the results? - there are many different ways of interpreting findings: a single overall measure, a basket of measures, or a composite of factors with different weights? Which is best for my organisation?
- Producing actionable results - what techniques can I use to produce actionable findings, enabling investment to be targeted on the issues that will yield the greatest improvements in customer experience?
GK Research can advise on all aspects of customer satisfaction research.
Contact Graham@GKresearch.co.uk (07899 060563)