Customer satisfaction, simply put, is the extent to which customers feel good about the service you are providing. It differs from customer service which is the quality of the company’s arrangements and efforts to provide products and assistance. In other words, customer service is what the company provides and consumer satisfaction is the customers’ assessment of what is provided. For the record, we have attempted to define customer service in rigorous operational terms in the article posted here.
The collective research available suggests that customer satisfaction is relatively specific to each type of organization; what is relevant and important to an airline is not necessarily applicable to supermarket or to a non-profit entity. This should be taken into account in planning customer satisfaction assessments. In some organizations, customer satisfaction measurement is simply three or four superficial and sometimes self-serving questions.
Customer satisfaction, like good customer service, should be an organized effort, championed at the highest level. It should generate repeated measures over a time and provide the company with an indicator that tells it if its performance is improving or declining, especially if the company is planning to pursue ISO 9000 certification.
The CCME provides the services companies may need to design an appropriate customer satisfaction survey, deploy such a survey repeatedly and track performance on a periodic basis e.g. quarterly or annually. Alternatively, we can supply the training interventions needed to develop this capability and within any reasonable budget.