Importance of Customer Satisfaction
There is little doubt that few organizations of any kind welcome having upset customers and will therefore usually try hard to make the customer experience a relatively happy one. However, unless we carefully plan to listen to people that are not totally satisfied, keeping all of our customers happy is merely a nice theoretical idea, with no real opportunity to make it a practical reality.
Measuring customer satisfaction
So how do we know whether or not our customers are satisfied? In simple terms we have to listen to their feedback extremely carefully and on an on-going basis. We then can pay particular attention to the upset customers and make changes for the better. Sadly, however, research suggests that a very small proportion of an organization’s upset customers will lodge any kind of formal complaint-perhaps as little as 1% of them-and don’t forget that this is 1% of the 5% or 10% that may be upset. This means that most customers won’t even bother to engage with the organization that they believe has let them down in some way. These customers simply keep quiet and just take their business elsewhere.
Customer satisfaction research
As if this silent army of defectors, denting company profits and/or reputations is not bad enough, many regular studies (particularly by the Technical Assistance Research Program in Washington, DC, which has monitored customer satisfaction levels across many organizations and almost all industries for decades) have consistently confirmed that every dissatisfied customer (both those that complain formally and those that simply defect), tell up to 15 other people about their poor experience (with an average of 7 people). Clearly this not only damages relations with existing customers but may actually stop some people from becoming future customers of the organization. This frightening statistic means that if we want to take customer satisfaction really seriously, we need to treat every complaint as a golden opportunity to improve service for the entire customer population.