It’s been said that customer satisfaction is the result of 50% performance and 50% communications. Well, perhaps that’s not the actual percentages in all cases. However, creating truly satisfied customers, especially for services, you need to deliver both performance and communication. A couple of cases from my experience will illustrate.
Some years ago, I ran the Customer Satisfaction Tracking study for a major wireless telephone provider. During the presentation of results one quarter, I showed that customer ratings of network reliability had declined, although not significantly, from one period to another. An engineer in the audience immediately stood up to challenge the research findings. “How can that be? We’ve just spent millions of dollars to build new cell towers and add technology to that region. Our measures indicate a 15% increase in signal strength.” But, did they make any announcements in the press, in customer communications, as a bill insert, that this investment in technology had been made on the behalf of the customer? The answer was no. So, a relatively small increase in signal strength wasn’t noticed by customers. Yet, had they also communicated their accomplishment, we might have seen the perception of network reliability match the actual engineered improvement.
A more recent and more personal case also illustrates the hypothesis. Our landscape company mowed our backyard, as they do every week. Unfortunately, this week unusually heavy rains had saturated the soil. The mowing created a mess of large divots and deep tire tracks left behind when they finished. Upon my complaining, they promised to fix the problem by reseeding the damaged areas. At the end of the day when they had indicated the repairs would be made, I inspected the area. From my (admittedly non-professional and yet highly personal) perspective, it looked like nothing had been done. Upon close inspection, I did see that some grass seed, but it appeared to be randomly and haphazardly placed. I didn’t see any sign of any fertilizer and no wheat straw had been put down to protect the new seed. So, I shot another disgruntled email off complaining about their poor service. I received a timely response that the company owner had personally gone out, smoothed the damaged portions, placed seed on the damaged areas and throughout the entire lawn, and applied the proper fertilizer. He explained that they did not put wheat straw down to protect the seed to allow maximum sunlight to encourage germination. They really did provide a diligent and thoughtful “performance” of service. But, until they “communicated” what they had done, I was dissatisfied.
According to the Bible, “No one who lights a lamp, hides it away or places it under a bushel basket, but on a lampstand so that those who enter might see the light” (Luke 11:33) So, if you’re going to perform good customer service, don’t hide your actions and expect your customers to see the results. Tell your customers about what you are doing and that the reason is to provide good service to them! You will see complaints decrease and satisfaction increase.
Download Infosurv’s eBook on Building Customer Satisfaction for best practices and case studies.