Customer satisfaction - is it the right measure?

Published on: 12:00:00 AM

Many businesses use customer satisfaction surveys but how valid are the results?

Before spending time and effort asking your customers how satisfied they are, consider the following:

  1. Up to 80% of lost customers have previously rated themselves as 'satisfied' or 'very satisfied'.
  2. Customer satisfaction is a temporary mental state.
  3. Satisfaction is based on expectations being met. 

According to customer experts, Bain and Co, most customers who move to a new brand “have declared themselves ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’ … not long before jumping ship”. This implies that satisfaction might tell us something about our past performance but is not a guide to customers' future behaviour.

When we ask our customers the question ‘how satisfied are you with our product or service?’ the answer is based on their mental state at that time. Their views may change as they experience other products and services and inevitably make comparisons. The extent to which a customer will remain satisfied is unknown.

We feel satisfied with a product or service when it does the job adequately, meeting a need or expectation.  This could be considered a neutral transaction - simply getting what you pay for.  If we want our customers to feel more, we need to do more – and measure it.

Every good business cares what its customers think. So if it’s not satisfaction, what is the measure?

The answer is Loyalty. 

measuring loyalty

To subscribe to 'Opinion at Work' loyalty survey system or to find out more about measuring Customer Loyalty contact Mike at

Please contact Sarah or Mike for a free, no-obligation consultation on your strategy and performance management needs.  If we don't have an online solution that meets your requirements we would be pleased to quote for a facilitated workshop, training module or coaching.