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Measuring Customer Satisfaction
It is radically less expensive to keep a customer than it is to find a new customer. In order to keep them we must be certain they approve of the quality and value of our products and services. The only way for us to be certain of this is to ask our customers. Regularly.
Want to learn how the customer really feels? Start with these questions.
1. On a scale of 1 - 5, how do you feel about our ______?
Most folks have difficulty answering open-ended questions. Our job is to make it easy for them to give us feedback, so we alter the question. "On a scale of 1-5 (5 being good) how do you feel about our ________ (product, service, people, quality, value, cleanliness, timeliness, courtesy, etc.)?" Ask for ratings on several categories, especially those mentioned in your mission statement and your strategic objectives.
Our research shows that if the customer rates you a "5" they will generally come back and recommend you to others; if a "1" they will generally not come back unless you are the only-game-in-town; if a "4" they are as likely to go somewhere else as they are to come back to you. How's that for a surprise? Many folks think a "4" is acceptable, now you know it is not.
2. How can we improve?
Even if all of your customers rank you as a “5” on all categories, you still need to ask one more question: "How can we improve?"
Once the customer has answered the "Scale of 1-5" question, their brain begins the search for data to support their answer. This is when to ask open-ended questions. Again, you can add key words to the questions such as "How can we improve our ________ (product, service, people, quality, value, cleanliness, timeliness, courtesy, etc.)?" No matter what their answer to the "Scale of 1-5" question you always follow with "How can we improve?"
Keep asking these questions. Keep making the changes they recommend. Keep doing it even if you are ranked a "5" on every category by every customer.
3. What’s In It For Me?Make it worth their while. Each customer is asking, "What's in it for me if I complete give you this information?" Give them a reason to help you. Some examples might be: a discount coupon for their next purchase, a free sample of some product or service (of their choice), entry into a periodic drawing for a cruise or for tickets to a show or movie or ball game, a free dinner, or a gift certificate. You can find or create something fun and exciting to give to those customers who help you improve your business. Show that you appreciate them and their honesty!
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© SMBC Incorporated 2007