Customer Experience ≠ Customer Satisfaction

Outside In by Harley Manning and Kerry BodineThere comes a time when those of us in consumer and B2B market research realize that we are not just the messengers, the conduit for the voice of the customer, but we also are the change agents. This realization came to me some time ago, but was reaffirmed while reading the book Outside In by Harley Manning and Kerry Bodine, both of Forrester Research. This book speaks to the need to put on the shoes of our customers and prospects and walk their journey.

Market researchers become change agents when we effectively lobby for and get the support of C-level executives to include not only VOC programs, but the commitment to act upon what those voices are saying. It can be eye opening when a president or CEO takes of their suit and gets in line and listens to the customer complaints (and praises) first hand.

A key point the authors make is that you can have constant or increasing customer satisfaction scores and still be losing customers and revenue. This seems paradoxical, but it can happen if the questions you ask on your customer feedback tool are the wrong questions. A retailer mentioned in the book came to that same conclusion. The president of this retail firm went on a mission to visit key stores throughout the US. During the course of his journey he observed that people were going in and coming out without buying. The mystery shopping program the company employed was not addressing this key question. In the end what is more important, a patron’s satisfaction with the cleanliness of the floor or whether or not they had a positive customer experience?

This leads us to ask…Are your satisfaction or customer loyalty measures focused on the right questions? The right questions will include measures that:

  1. Allow the company to better understand what went right as well as what went wrong.
  2. Can be used to create programs that can show demonstrated ROI.
  3. That bring not just marketers, but all employees closer to the customer’s ideal experience.

Customer satisfaction is not the same thing as customer experience. The latter is how customers perceive their interactions with your company. Keep in mind what is perceived is what is real.

Not sure if you're asking the right questions? Let us help you! We have a dedicated team of survey experts who can look over and evaluate your questions as well as create reports that will answer questions like the ones above.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Crimes in Design Webinar
Subscribe to our Monthly Newsletter