Relationship vs. Transactional Customer Satisfaction

We always recommend making customer satisfaction surveys as quick and efficient as possible. The array of customer satisfaction issues and attributes you could potentially survey your customer about sometimes seems endless. Management involvement in your customer satisfaction program helps guarantee the program's success, but each manager will likely have their own ideas regarding what should and should not be included on the questionnaire, and survey length can quickly grow out of control

The best approach in situations like these is to take a step back and look at the overall strategy and the reasoning behind the research program. The first and easiest question is whether you are doing a relationship- or transaction-based satisfaction survey.�

If customer transactions are complex and/or business critical, you will likely want to consider conducting a transaction-based customer satisfaction survey. If you are trying to specifically improve customer service or sales representative performance within your organization, then a transaction-based satisfaction survey is your best option. On the other hand, if your direct contact with the customer is frequent and not overly complex, or if you are interested in competitive issues such as pricing, quality, and general service, then conducting a relationship-based satisfaction surveys would be your best option.�

There is some overlap between the two types of surveys, and questions from each survey type are often included on the other -- but there is typically a limit. If you are conducting a transaction- based satisfaction survey, for example, you might ask whether a service representative:�

  • listened and understood the customer.

  • explained current and new service offerings.

  • kept commitments.

  • possessed sufficient technical knowledge.

  • was courteous.

  • had a professional appearance.

  • was helpful.

  • responded in a timely manner.

Between the survey introduction, gaining respondent agreement to take the survey, the necessary macro questions on overall satisfaction and the eight questions listed above, limited time/space is available for additional questions. The same is true for relationship-based surveys, and there is typically insufficient room to really dig into transaction-based issues beyond the core relationship-based questions (besides, it is often difficult to tie a relationship-based customer satisfaction survey to a specific transaction, a typical requirement of transacional surveys).�

Just remember that when it comes to customer satisfaction surveys, strategy is the key and shorter is better . your customers will appreciate it.

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