Most business owners launch their company with the mindset of delivering a high quality product or service that generates a good turnover and satisfies the customer. What many businesses fail to realize is the importance of customer satisfaction. It’s more than just a warm fuzzy feeling; it’s about ensuring that your customers return to your business again and again.

This gets business owners asking what seem like relatively simple questions:

  • What is customer satisfaction?
  • How can customer satisfaction be measured?
  • How can customer satisfaction be used to improve my bottom line?

In this article, we will explore each of these questions, helping you to understand what customer satisfaction is, how you can accurately measure it and how you can use customer feedback to make important decision and changes to your business.
What is Customer Satisfaction?
Customer satisfaction is not something that can be dictated to a customer or sold by a business. It is something that only the customer can decide, and it is unique to each customer. While one customer may be extremely happy with your business, another may be bitterly disappointed.
Customer satisfaction can be established from just one interaction with your business, but it will change based on the frequency of visits, and, more importantly, customer satisfaction can contribute to the number of visits an individual makes to your business.
It is a feeling, and as such it is fickle. It is susceptible to swing either towards positive and negative perspectives. A number of aspects will contribute to customer satisfaction, including (but not limited to):

  • Price
  • Quality of the product/service
  • Delivery of the product/service
  • Personnel at your business
  • Business mission and core values
  • Availability of product/service

It’s relatively easy to find out whether a customer is satisfied or not, but what baffles a lot of businesses is knowing exactly how satisfied a customer is, and what it is that they like (and dislike) about the service that is being offered.
How Can Customer Satisfaction Be Measured?
Measuring customer satisfaction is easier said than done. The most effective way of measuring satisfaction is through a survey; however, it’s all too easy to create a vague survey that generates meaningless and inaccurate data that cannot be put to good use. These surveys and up being nothing more than a waste of time, money and resources, and a poor survey can do more damage than good.
In order to generate an effective (and most importantly, useful) survey, you need to first consider what aspects you’d like feedback on.
These may include:

  • How a customer perceives the quality of your product or service
  • How a customer perceives the price of a product or service
  • Whether or not a customer thinks a product or service can be improved in some way

Once you know what it is you’d like to hear your customers’ opinions on you then need to consider how you will make it possible for the customer to express that opinion.
The 1 – 10 scale may not always be an effective way to gauge satisfaction, and whenever possible you should consider phrases such as ‘poor’, ‘ok’ and ‘excellent’.
How can Customer Satisfaction be used to improve my Bottom Line?
Once you know exactly how your customers’ perceive your products and services you can then make informed decisions on how to improve these services.
Your customers will appreciate being listened to, and will no doubt appreciate seeing their input being acted upon. This in turn will improve the level of customer satisfaction levels within these customers, helping to create what is known as the ‘wow factor’, which means that a customer is more likely to be a repeat customer and an active referrer for your business.