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Customer Satisfaction Research

“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” - Bill Gates

Sapio has been a wonderful partner to work with. They listened closely to our business goals and objectives and created a research design that best fit our needs.

Jamie Bothwell
Director of Marketing (Northern Europe)

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Customer Satisfaction, Retention and Loyalty

If you’re fed up receiving emails asking you to “rate the experience” or “tell us how we did” (possibly before you bought anything or finished the experience) you’re not alone. There’s an increasing amount of anecdotal evidence that suggests conducting customer research is actually reducing customer satisfaction. Not good news if you’re a research agency but sadly – and without wanting to get to geeky – it doesn’t stop here. Falling response rates associated with “over” research (we can blame automated systems here) increase the problems of non-response and self-selecting bias.

In simple terms, those who respond are more likely to have had a very good or more likely a very bad experience. So, not only do you risk irritating customers by over researching them there’s a strong probability that the results you’re getting back aren’t accurate. At this point you can use this information to justify a decision to abandon your research plans or alternatively read on while we hopefully set out a slightly more enlightened approach to customer satisfaction research. 

Top tips

  • Don’t over research – think how often you’re looking to interview a customer and put systems in place that control how often you approach them.
  • Limit the number of questions you ask – long questionnaires just don’t work. Decide what you really want to know and ignore the “nice to have” information questions.
  • Don’t ask a question unless you plan to act on the feedback (and quickly) – not changing something that’s causing irritation just causes more dissatisfaction.
  • Think carefully about the type of satisfaction questions you ask – simplistic questions that ask how good the experience was really don’t tell you a lot, particularly if respondents aren’t representative.
  • Rather than focusing on metrics that simply understand customer satisfaction take time to understand the real needs (and unmet needs) of customers and evaluate how well you’re meeting these. There’s no point being really great at something that doesn’t really matter to customers.
  • Use more sophisticated customer satisfaction research techniques such as Kano or key driver analysis to secure a deeper level of understanding and use them to drive change throughout the organisation.
  • Consider using the Net Promoter Score question and if possible benchmark your score against other similar organisations. But don’t stop there! Use it as a focal point for internal discussions and bring people together to talk about what might lie behind any changes to the score and link it to something more powerful such as Kano analysis.
  • Develop your own internal metric based on the aggregation of a range of key indicators – NPS is good but the intention to repurchase or consider matter too.
  • Talk to customers – automated, online research packages are great at collecting data (if people respond) but there’s no substitute for just talking (well listening) to customers to really understand what they want and what you could change.

If customer satisfaction research is done well and acted on it transforms customer experiences and positive experiences do more to ensure loyalty and retention than almost anything else. So, why not call us we like to chat and are genuinely passionate about customer satisfaction research that delivers actionable results which change businesses.

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