You may have noticed the term Customer Satisfaction give way to Customer Experience. I believe there is more to retaining customers than changing terminology.
Customer Experience is a fact. It describes what happens to your customers. Generally, the serving organisation dictates the experience.
Customer satisfaction is an opinion. It measures how Customer Experience meets the needs and expectations of your customers. Boiling it down to a single number gives a nice ‘dashboard’ metric. But it eliminates understanding and gives you little to work on.
To change your customers’ opinion of you, you must grasp their experience. I believe awareness only comes from listening to the customer. And challenge you to the bold step of using words as well as numbers to describe your customers’ experience. With words you can improve their satisfaction. In turn, improving your business performance.
Quantitative vs Qualitative feedback
A good quantitative measure can tell you a host of things
- Whether you are better than your competitors
- If a change in customer experience has improved satisfaction
- The relationship between satisfaction and revenue for your business
I was told that our average customer has an average experience of six out of ten. And that I have to fix it.
Quantitative measures are quick and easy to set up, collect and analyse. But therein lies the problem.
Do you ask your kids, partner, family, friends – on a scale of 1 to 10 how was school, work, your interview, your holiday?
Of course not. First of all, they would think you don’t care. Next, you are asking them to average out their experience. The highlights (chips for lunch) would blur into the disappointments (I got soaked waiting for the bus). You wouldn’t understand and couldn’t make the next day better. And most of all you ignore their motivations when you ask “Are you looking forward to tomorrow?” or any other question that lets you work out a nice simple retention or promoter score without asking why.
Qualitative questions can lead to longer answers and the potential for misinterpretation. But they yield useful information. You may learn that your booking process is clunky or pick up a great idea for a new feature. Most of all you will start to understand your customers. Feeding that new perspective into processes from development to delivery will give you the edge over your competitors. And show up on your bottom line.