Customer satisfaction is a critical achievement for many small businesses. A satisfied customer is, in theory, a repeat customer, and one who might recommend the products or services you offer to his or her friends in order to grow your business. This is one of the reasons why Yelp, for example, has become so critical to the public perception of small businesses and their success.
Satisfaction is, like almost any data item concerning a business, a metric. (No, not the Canadian rock band Metric.) A measure, in other words, of a certain part of your business’ performance. Quite simply, the easiest way to measure satisfaction is to ask your customers. Do not be afraid to solicit their opinions – even negative feedback can be turned into valuable lessons for future strategies!
Metrics can be comforting – sometimes, artificially so. You can see that your Facebook post accrued X number of likes – but what does it mean for your bottom line? Customer satisfaction poses a risk of being a similarly artificial metric unless the results of your polling are turned into a real indicator of performance. In 2003, the idea of a simplified satisfaction survey metric called “Net Promoter Score” was published. Essentially, for any given satisfaction survey on a scale of 0-10, you can break down respondents:
- Promoters (rating you 9-10 in customer service, with 10 being exceptional): loyal enthusiasts, who will keep buying, and referring others;
- Passives (rating you 7-8): satisfied but unenthusiastic customers, vulnerable to competitors; and,
- Detractors (rating you 0-6): unhappy customers, who can damage your brand and hinder growth.
NPS is calculated by subtracting the percentage of customers who are Detractors from the percentage of customers who are Promoters. There is significant debate as to the real-world efficacy of NPS as a metric, and it’s certainly prudent to ask whether a small business would be able to gather enough meaningful data using their resources in order to make the Score relevant. As Elliott Simmonds of B2CBlog puts it:
“NPS can be a useful metric for small business at a macro level. It can tell you you need to improve…somewhere. However, with only a single question, it can often be hard to understand where the priority for improvement lies.”
How do you measure your customers’ satisfaction? Are you close enough with your loyal repeat visitors that you can gauge their opinion conversationally? Do you roll out a survey with a great promotional event tied into it? Are online, organic and social sources the key indicators of the mood surrounding your business?
We’d love to hear your strategies, comments, and thoughts on this important topic! Let us know in the comments, at our Facebook page or on Twitter @advancecapital.