Organisations invest significant time and effort in the selection of technology.
Some compare performance metrics such as speed, accuracy and throughput. Others conduct side-by-side tests before making a commitment. Most technology buyers understand, however, that such system capabilities represent only one part of the buying decision. Service after the sale, ease of doing business and a commitment to meeting customer needs are also critical in selecting the right technology partner.
Most vendors talk a good game when it comes to customer service, but these factors may seem difficult to assess in advance. Referrals and case studies, for example, may or may not serve as representative samples. Fortunately, one time-honoured adage holds true: you are what you measure.
How a vendor or technology provider measures customer satisfaction says a lot about how they will deliver. By learning more about a firm’s approach to capturing and managing customer feedback, buyers can gain insight into the level of service they may expect after becoming a client.
You can see that 95% of companies capture 'Voice of Customer' feedback, but only 50% communicate it internally, and only 10% do any actions
Leaders in this discipline employ dedicated resources to measure customer satisfaction. They understand that there are limited pools of potential customers and that satisfaction, loyalty and purchase behaviour are closely aligned.
A lot of companies measure customer satisfaction, but that is not what makes a best-practice provider. What differentiates a best-practice provider is what they do with that data, for example, how feedback is incorporated back into the business.
You can see that 95% of companies capture 'Voice of Customer' feedback, but only 50% communicate it internally, and only 10% do any actions. In selecting a technology vendor / partner, the question should not only be what do you measure but what do they do with this information and if people are compensated on it (10% of PB company goals are dedicated to Customer Value). The dedicated resources should not just be to measure, but to build action plans and facilitate deployment.
Best-practice technology providers measure satisfaction on many levels and don’t try to rationalise poor service scores. Above all, they measure satisfaction for the purpose of improving the overall customer experience. The right questions help determine whether prospective providers are really committed to meeting business needs. In simple terms, taking a moment to ask who, what, when, how and why can help separate the players from the posers.
Who: When it comes to customer satisfaction, whose opinion matters?
Measuring satisfaction in business-to-business situations is more complex than consumer technology because there are multiple stakeholders. Companies who are serious about integrating customer satisfaction feedback into their organisation will gain feedback from multiple levels such as:
- Users who work with the technology on a daily basis. Their feedback is important for vendors when it comes to monitoring ease of use, system performance and overall employee productivity
- Project managers that are responsible for installation, vendor management and end results. Their input can help shape how relationships are managed and are critical to overall satisfaction
- Business heads and executives look more at the big picture. Their observations help uncover ways to improve the long-term return on investment.
A best-in-class measurement programme will solicit feedback from more than one individual in a company. For prospective buyers, the “who” question offers a quick way to assess whether a vendor understands the nuances of a business relationship.