Managing Customer Satisfaction

Customer satisfaction has long been considered a standard measure of business performance alongside other measures such as financials and market share.�Including customer feedback into performance measurement provides a much more complete picture of the health of the business.

Many companies, however, focus solely on the measurement aspect of customer satisfaction and not enough on what can be done to improve customers� experiences.�Any company committed to a customer satisfaction strategy needs to shift focus from simply measuring to managing customer satisfaction.�Doing so requires using customer feedback to drive process improvement and innovation.

In the face of increasing competition in the form of products, organizations, and distribution outlets, customer satisfaction has become a viable strategy to maintaining market share against the competition.�Even if customers are loyal, they all have a point at which they will switch for superior product performance or service, especially as these performance levels continually heighten, and customer expectations increase.�Satisfying these ever-evolving needs of existing customers is key to any retention or customer loyalty strategy.

Any successful customer satisfaction initiative fundamentally must seek to answer three questions:

  • How satisfied are the company�s customers relative to their expectations?

  • What can be done with existing products and services to better align delivery with customers� expectations and thereby increase customer satisfaction?

  • What new products or services might be needed to meet customers� current or future needs in order to maintain or increase customer satisfaction?

Too many firms design customer satisfaction programs solely around the first question, and the result is an effective measurement tool but an ineffective management tool that fails to address opportunities for improvement.�A program designed to answer all three questions will not only serve as an effective measurement, but will provide managers the necessary feedback to drive future initiatives.

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