In our day and age, the Customer Experience Management (CEM) has become an integral part of the marketing of all existing businesses that strive to move forward and achieve success. High-quality marketing means ensuring excellent customer service, meeting customers’ expectations, as well as anticipating their requests and wishes at each stage of the life cycle. This obviously cannot be achieved without setting up a solid feedback system and making regular surveys to measure the customer loyalty and satisfaction.
The rating scale lies at the root of the majority of existing methods designed to measure the degree of customer satisfaction. Respondents are asked to rate company’s services or products using a five-point rating scale (e.g. 1 = “Bad” and 5 = “Excellent”). For fairness' sake, it is worth noting that the respondents are already used to this type of surveys and rating system, since it’s simple and hassle-free.
But if you ask,
‘Why have you chosen this specific rate?’
you may get pretty startling answers. Those who gave the highest rate in survey may explain it as follows, ’Quite frankly, I’m not exactly satisfied with the way cooperation with your company has been; however, I wouldn’t want the manager to take all the heat, since he was trying really hard to be accommodating.” Other answers may go something like this: “We all are people, after all”, “I am hoping that they will improve”, “Why did I choose 5? Well, that’s because I will have to continue working with them!”
Alternatively, the respondents who rated the service or product as "4" or even "3", when asked why and what they found dissatisfying, reply, “Oh no, I am absolutely satisfied. But you should never spoil them with too much praise, or else their work will eventually get worse!" or "Everything’s fine, except it is never perfect, you know."
This is where a logical question arises: What does a company, which only receives the rating figures without asking the respondents why they chose a specific number, get in the very end? We hope that you have no desire to spend a lot of money on research to get bizarre 4.7 and 4.3 figures. First of all, they make absolutely no sense in terms of mathematical statistics and, second of all, they are not based on actual consumer attitude towards those characteristics which you would like to get measured.
The Agency of Industrial Marketing always makes sure that the information that our customers are provided with is as useful as possible. So, having carefully studied and listened to our respondents, we came up with a unique consumer satisfaction survey called ALADIS© (Attentive Listening & Accounting for the Degree of Influence on Satisfaction).
This approach brings together qualitative and quantitative research in a coherent and organic manner. At the very first stage, when interacting with the respondent, the interviewer identifies the presence of any dissatisfaction with cooperation experience with the Company taking into account all researched aspects, the frequency of arising dissatisfaction and claims, as well as their impact on degree of overall satisfaction.
The respondents are not asked to rate the service, but rather inform whether they have any comments/claims and evaluate how serious they are:
- Does this shortcoming have an impact on respondent’s attitude towards the Company, subsequent decisions regarding further cooperation with the Company, etc.?
- How often did this unsatisfactory situation happen? Constantly or only once?
- Has the Company addressed the respondent's dissatisfaction, and how promptly did it remedy this shortcoming?
Aside from making the comments, the respondents can give own suggestions as to what can be done to improve the company's work.
Interestingly, when testing the method, we have identified a large portion of respondents who encountered major problems such as lack of an entire product batch and serious delays in delivery. However, if the Company is able to address the issue quickly and correct the errors to the fullest extent, the respondent’s overall satisfaction and readiness to cooperate with the Company later on typically increase quite a lot.
Once the survey is complete, the results are then encoded. Open detailed answers are summed up and reduced to the following scale:
- Completely satisfied;
- Satisfied generally, but encountered minor or one-off drawbacks which have been quickly and efficiently remedied;
- Not satisfied, encounter major recurrent drawbacks when cooperating with the Company.
A detailed examination of the drawbacks and suggestions, along with quantitative assessment of the statistically relevant number of responses make it possible to identify the company's weaknesses, the changes which need to be made in the first place and focus areas of the marketing efforts. The overall assessment of specific respondent’s satisfaction takes into consideration the evaluation findings with respect to all areas and is built using operations which are appropriate for this scale type.
The most interesting project implemented by the AIM using this new approach was a research performed in late 2017 for one of the leading companies in the Ukrainian paint and coating market. We have been commissioned to measure the degree of customer satisfaction of four different target audiences, namely:
- partner stores (traditional retail);
- partners making bulk purchases within company's own retail network;
- painters who purchase products in company's own retail network;
- another professional audience.
We have examined all of the elements which shape the degree of customer satisfaction: business aspects of cooperation, performance of the trading team, customer sector operation, products, logistic, technical and marketing support.
What’s interesting, we have gotten completely different results in terms of all four groups, and this refers to both the overall degree of satisfaction/dissatisfaction, and degrees in certain areas. Implemented full-scale study allowed the customer to see its business through the eyes of the clients: from statements like "the service has been better before, now we have to wait for a long time" to "we are wishing them happiness and success, the best company, do keep it up!". Based on the findings of the analysis, we have worked out thorough recommendations regarding repositioning of one the brands, product portfolio policy, product delivery system, advertising and information support. Translating these into action is a reasonable step towards improvement of customer satisfaction and increased number of loyal customers.