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A Customer satisfaction Measurement Survey should at least identify the following objectives-
Importance to Customers (Customers' Priorities).
Customers' perception of supplier's performance.
Your performance relative to customers' priorities.
Priorities for Improvement.
It is often found that there is a dismal response from the customers. A recent study showed that only 15% of the customers to whom customer satisfaction surveys were sent gave a feedback. One of the reasons for this could be a poorly conceived survey. Defining a simple survey having less number of descriptive questions and more of objective type can increase the feedback rate. Electronic mailing of survey questionnaire is a very good option as the customer can fill out the questionnaire quickly rather than sitting with the suppliers representative disturbing his busy schedule. This can - where necessary - be backed up by a gentle reminder or a personal visit.
The metro questionnaire analysis
1. Most of the questions in the questionnaire are closed ended .Space should always be provided for the customer's own opinions. This enables them to state any additional requirements or report any shortcomings that are not covered by the objective questions.
2. Normally, we deal various personnel at various levels in the customer's organization- the buyer, user, receiving inspector, finance and purchase persons etc. Surveying a number of respondents for each customer gives a complete perspective of customer satisfaction. It may be necessary to device a different questionnaire for each of them.
3. Respondents must be provided a way to express the importance they attach to various survey parameters. Respondents should be asked to give a weighting factor, again on a rating scale of say, 1 to 10, for each requirement. This gives a better indication of relative importance of each parameter towards overall customer satisfaction and makes it easier for suppliers to prioritize their action plans by comparing the Performance Rating (Scores) with. But in this questionnaire the instructions are missing which tell us whether 1 is high or 1 is low which can create confusion in the mind of customer.
4. The questionnaire fails to identify which are the regular and loyal customers so that special attention can be given to them. There should have been a question asking
How often do you visit metro ?
This will differentiate the regular customers from the rest of the crowd.
5. In question no 3 (is the store clean and hygienic) there should be a ranking provided in the options just asking yes or no won't help. The question should be how hygienic is the store? And then 1 to 5 ranking should be provided.
6. Survey form is easy to fill out with minimum amount of time and efforts on customer's part. It is designed so to actively encourage the customer to complete the question.
7. The data should also be sufficiently reliable for management decision-making. This can be achieved by incorporating 'objective' type questions where customer has to 'rate' on scale of say, 1 to 10 so; few of these types of questions are also added in the questionnaire.
8. Also there should be a question on location of metro as all the outlets are on extreme ends of the city the customers might find it difficult to reach there.
"If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it." - Lord William Thomson Kelvin
"As one of the measurements of the performance of the Quality Management System, the organizations shall monitor information relating to customer perception as to whether the organization has met customer requirements. The methods for obtaining and using this information shall be determined"
Trends in customer satisfaction and key indicators of customer dissatisfaction shall be documented and supported by objective information. These trends shall be compared to those of competitors, or appropriate benchmarks, and reviewed by senior management."
There is obviously a strong link between customer satisfaction and customer retention. Customer's perception of Service and Quality of product will determine the success of the product or service in the market.
With better understanding of customers' perceptions, companies can determine the actions required to meet the customers' needs. They can identify their own strengths and weaknesses, where they stand in comparison to their competitors, chart out path future progress and improvement. Customer satisfaction measurement helps to promote an increased focus on customer outcomes and stimulate improvements in the work practices and processes used within the company.
What do Customers Want?
Before we begin to create tools to measure the level of satisfaction, it is important to develop a clear understanding of what exactly the customer wants. We need to know what our customers expect from the products and services we provide.
Customer expectations are the customer-defined attributes of your product or service you must meet or exceed to achieve customer satisfaction.
Customer Expectations are of two types - Expressed and Implied.
Expressed Customer Expectations are those requirements that are written down in the contract and agreed upon by both parties, for example, product specifications and delivery requirements. Supplier's performance against these requirements is most of the times directly measurable.
Implied Customer Expectations are not written or spoken but are the ones the customer would 'expect' the supplier to meet nevertheless. For example, a customer would expect the service representative who calls on him to be knowledgeable and competent to solve a problem on the spot.
There are many reasons why customer expectations are likely to change over time. Process improvements, advent of new technology, changes in customer's priorities, improved quality of service provided by competitors are just a few examples.
The customer is always right. Supplier's job is to provide the Customer what he wants, when he wants it. Customer Satisfaction is customers' perception that a supplier has met or exceeded their expectations.
It is therefore important to periodically update our knowledge of customer expectations.
What constitutes Satisfaction?
We cannot create customer satisfaction just by meeting customer's requirements fully because these HAVE to be met in any case. However falling short is certain to create dissatisfaction.
Major attributes of customer satisfaction can be summarized as:
Keeping delivery commitments
Responsiveness and ability to resolve complaints and reject reports
Overall communication, accessibility and attitude
We cannot begin to address the customer satisfaction issue we define the parameters and measures clearly.
It may be easier to track supplier's performance against stated requirements of quality and timeliness because there is documentary evidence. Some indication of whether a supplier is meeting the requirements can also be obtained from data on scrap rates, PPM, complaints database, sales improvements, repeat orders, customer audit reports etc.
It is far more difficult to measure the level of performance and satisfaction when it comes to the intangible expectations.
What are the Tools?
Customer expectations can be identified using various methods such as
Periodic Contract Reviews
Depending upon the customer base and available resources, we can choose a method that is most effective in measuring the customers' perceptions. The purpose of the exercise is to identify priorities for improvement. We must develop a method or combination of methods that helps to continually improve service.
SATISFACTION INDEX (CSI)
The Customer Satisfaction Index represents the overall satisfaction level of that customer as one number, usually as a percentage. Plotting this Satisfaction Index of the customer against a time scale shows exactly how well the supplier is accomplishing the task of customer satisfaction over a period of time.
Since the survey feedback comes from many respondents in one organization, the bias due to individual perception needs to be accounted for.This can be achieved by calculating the Satisfaction Index using an importance weighting based on an average of 1.
Calculate the average of all the weightings given by the customer. Divide the individual weightings by this average to arrive at the weighting on the basis of average of 1. Customer's higher priorities are weighted more than 1 and lower priorities less than 1. The average of the Customers Importance Scores are calculated and each individual score is expressed as a factor of that average.
It is far less costly to keep existing customers than to win new ones. Loyal customers buy more products and help bring in more business by recommending your product to others. So if customer loyalty is the goal, then the supplier's efforts should begin with the knowledge of what constitutes value to his customers and the market.
A supplier should always keep on improving so as to achieve a greater profitability. This can be achieved by knowing the market well, i.e. understanding exactly what the customer wants. By discovering what the customer wants, the supplier can begin to understand how his products and services provide value for his customers.
A simple tool is to take customer satisfaction surveys and analyze the customer feedback. This gives the supplier an insight on where he lacks in delivering his products or services and where is the scope of improvement.
ADVANTAGES OF CUSTOMER SATISFACTION INDEX
• Customer satisfaction index is important vehicles for enterprises, as they measure customer satisfaction, and therefore help to determine customer loyalty. However, with the advent of globalization and the Internet, today's customers expect more from the enterprise. For this reason, IT and LOB executives need to ensure customers are completely, not merely, satisfied to achieve competitive advantage in the marketplace.
• Historical data tracking is crucial in the customer satisfaction survey system. If an enterprise does not manage customer data, it cannot analyze responses over a given time, making it difficult to see if products, services, and/or support are improving, worsening, or remaining stagnant. IT and LOB executives should therefore design a database for question and response management, to monitor overall satisfaction as well as to observe satisfaction by sub-groups.
• Successful customer satisfaction index require clear and well-understood processes. This means that IT, LOB executives, and their employees need to set concrete and realistic objectives, and to understand different sampling, methodology, and design issues. Moreover, survey developers should understand customer satisfaction question creation, and how each question helps to attain the desired objectives.
In an era of high competition and expectations, customer satisfaction surveys are essential tools for listening to customers about their satisfaction levels, and for developing strategies for improvement. Now that quality has become a deciding factor in product selection for the customer, IT and LOB executives must leverage the customer relationship through customer satisfaction surveys. Knowing what customers think about the enterprise's product(s), service(s), and/or support, as well as their opinions of competitors' offerings, is crucial for survival.
Consequently, the primary reasons for assessing customer satisfaction are to maximize customer retention, and to gain and build customer loyalty. It is important to realize that customer satisfaction does not equate to customer loyalty. Merely satisfied customers will switch to a competitor that will exceed their expectations, especially in a highly competitive market, within the blink of an eye. True competitive advantage therefore requires that customers are completely satisfied. In addition, it is important to inform customers that their opinions matter, and that their responses will instigate change within the organization.
Before a customer satisfaction survey can be designed, it is necessary for IT and LOB executives and their staffs to have a clear process in place. The first step is to establish comprehensive and realistic objectives. If objectives are not set, the survey will be of little to no value. As a result, survey developers should ask themselves why they are conducting the survey, and what do they want to learn from it. Moreover, if a process is not in place, objectives cannot be met, and survey developers will see results they do not want to see.