The End of Customer Satisfaction

I want to tackle, again, a pet-peeve of mine. I want to put an end to Customer Satisfaction.

Before you start flaming me (that sentence brings back memories from the BBS days), hear me out. I want to end Customer Satisfaction as a metric, and as a corporate practice – yet, in the process, I want your customers to be so satisfied with the way you do things that you will never have to worry about satisfaction. I want to change the way you deal with them, and how to ensure they get what they need.

In the old days, back while at Gartner, I wrote quite a bit about this. Of course, you would have had to be a Gartner customer or attended one of our conferences to get the concept. I am saying this so you see the value of the information below. This is truly stuff that can change your career and your business. It did so for many other clients I had.

There are two things you need to do for this to work. First, you need to change your processes from efficiency-centric to effectiveness-centric. Second, you need to confirm the conclusion of each and every interaction. Let’s dig a little deeper.

When I say change your processes i man it is not about getting the RIGHT information to the customer quickly and efficiently. It is about getting the PROPER information at the RIGHT time. You will have to change the process from asking questions that match your answers to finding out what they need to complete their task, and figure out how to deliver that information best. It may not even be in your knowledge base — it may not even be documented, but it will be after you are done. For example, if a customer at a bank asks for a balance in a savings account, it would be interesting to know why they need to know, what they intend to do, and propose certain service or solution that may match their need. It is about complete delivery, not just get-off-the-phone delivery.

In the same manner, when we talk about confirming the finality of each interaction, you MUST ask two questions at the end of each interaction (methods vary, results won’t): did you get what you needed? did we do a good job delivering? Sure, the exact wording can change to match your needs and to customize or personalize in each interaction, but the concept should not. This is the key part of this concept. Not only MUST you ask the question, you also have to have the processes in place to reach out and complete the interaction to the customer’s content. If they say NO to either question, you need to continue working with them until it is YES.

If you follow through on changing your processes and systems to incorporate these practices I can guarantee you will never worry about customer satisfaction again — since all your customers will be satisfied. If you don’t believe me, pilot it.

If you need more information on how to approach and accomplish either of these tasks, let me know.