How To Monitor Customer Satisfaction

Tuesday, June 10, 2008 by Mistlee

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How To Monitor Customer Satisfaction

By Craig Borysowich

To monitor how well a customer's expectations for quality service delivery are being met.


Conduct periodic surveys of customer satisfaction levels. See also: Measuring Customer Satisfaction

Use group process techniques to involve senior members of the project team in reviewing the findings of such surveys, identifying opportunities for improvement, and updating the project strategies and plans, as appropriate. As well, solicit input from project team members, who can often be the most help in finding solutions to any problems identified. See also: Develop Strategies and Plans

Formally record and manage the action items that result from customer satisfaction surveys and track them through to closure. See also: Manage Action Items


Define what you want the survey to accomplish. Typically this should be to measure the gap between a customer's expectations and his/her perceptions of the level of service being provided.

Keep it simple and focus on the essential information - there is no guarantee that a complex approach will give you any more useful information.

Focus on factors such as the following, which are generally recognized as areas of customer concern:

understanding the customer: the degree to which we know the customer and understand his or her needs,

technical competence: the degree to which we possess the required skills and knowledge to perform the service required,

reliability: the degree to which we perform as promised, dependably and accurately,

credibility: the degree to which we are perceived as trustworthy, believable, and accountable,

responsiveness: the degree to which we are willing and able to respond to problems and issues,

communication: the degree to which we listen to the customer, keep the customer informed, and support the customer through effective presentations,

courtesy: the level of politeness, respect, and friendliness of our people.

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Make the survey form simple to complete.

Make sure that the time required to complete the survey is not more than 10 minutes.

Explain the objective of the survey, what the results will be used for, and that the individual responses will be kept confidential.

Start with simple questions (as you would in an interview) to develop a profile of the respondent and the extent of their involvement with the IS organization.

Where appropriate, use a simple scale for responses, such as the following:

• Poor
• Satisfactory
• Good
• Very Good
• Excellent

With this kind of scale, a reasonable target might be to achieve higher than 90 percent of very good or excellent ratings.

Include space for comments and prompt respondents to provide comments with a suitable leading question. Probe for further information when respondents are dissatisfied (for example, "If you were not satisfied, what was your expectation and to what extent was this not met?").

Take into consideration the fact that some expectations may be unrealistic. For example, many customers may not agree with the change request process which protects the IS organization against uncontrolled scope change. In these cases, consider focusing on specific elements. For example:

• To what extent was the change control process explained at project start-up?

• To what extent did the IS organization work with you to find mutually acceptable ways to accommodate controlled changes (for example by substituting functionality without increasing the overall scope)?

Pretest the survey questionnaire with a small number of representative customer contacts, and refine it as necessary.

Measure customer satisfaction regularly and keep track of the changes over time.


About the Author:
Craig Borysowich has over 18 years of Technology Consulting experience with both public and private sector clients, including ten years in Project Leadership roles. His extensive background in working with large scale, high-profile systems integration and development projects that span throughout a customer's organization allows him to help consulting organizations world-wide to deliver better quality projects more consistently.
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