Measuring Customer Satisfaction
Customers are the only reason businesses exist. We all know that.
To stay in business, though, we need to find out what our customers want, what they are receiving and the size of the "gap" between the two. It makes good sense to ask customers what they think.
A basic customer satisfaction survey can provide a lot of the information you need to run your in-plant. It can identify areas where you are doing well and areas that need improvement.
Planning a survey, though, can be intimidating. There are so many things you want to know. How can you ever hope to develop a concise, easy-to-complete document that people will actually use?
Another complication is that because surveys can be used for a variety of reasons (e.g. measuring customer satisfaction, awareness of services, defining service requirements), survey designers often start with one objective and end up with something completely different. Most successful survey designers live by the KISS Principle: Keep It Simple, Stupid!
A customer satisfaction survey is a good place to start. It can tell you where you stand and help identify areas needing improvement.
Many researchers argue that five or six dimensions can define customer satisfaction: Timeliness, Responsiveness, Convenience, Location, Availability, Overall Quality and Overall Satisfaction. By crafting one or two questions around each of these dimensions, a researcher can get a pretty good idea of the level of satisfaction of the folks being queried. These are not the only relevant dimensions, but they are a good place to start.
Timeliness refers to whether or not the time required to complete the transaction from the customer's perspective was acceptable. We're not looking for shortest time; we're looking for on-time—an important distinction.
• Was your work delivered on time?
Ray Chambers, CGCM, MBA, has invested over 30 years managing and directing printing plants, copy centers, mail centers and award-winning document management facilities in higher education and government.
Most recently, Chambers served as vice president and chief information officer at Juniata College. Chambers is currently a doctoral candidate studying Higher Education Administration at the Pennsylvania State University (PSU). His research interests include outsourcing in higher education and its impact on support services in higher education and managing support services. He also consults (Chambers Management Group) with leaders in both the public and private sectors to help them understand and improve in-plant printing and document services operations.