Proper timing of customer satisfaction surveys depends on the type of product or service provided, the type and number of customers served, the longevity and frequency of customer/supplier interactions, and the intended use of the results.

Three very different approaches to measuring customer satisfaction exist. Each produce meaningful and useful results and are appropriate for different situations, uses, and needs.

1. Measuring Customer Satisfaction with Post Purchase Evaluations

Post purchase evaluations reflect the satisfaction of the individual customer at the time of product or service delivery (or shortly thereafter).

This type of satisfaction survey is typically used as part of CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and VOC (Voice of the Customer) systems. Each focuses on securing a long term relationship with the individual customer.

2. Measuring Customer Satisfaction with Periodic Satisfaction Surveys

Periodic satisfaction surveys provide an occasional snapshot of customer experiences and expectations and are conducted for specific groups of consumers on a periodic basis.

3. Measuring Customer Satisfaction with Continuous Satisfaction Tracking

Continuous satisfaction tracking is often part of a management initiative to assure quality is at high levels over time.

Benchmarking satisfaction as a NPS (Net Promoter Score) would be an example. You can base tracking on post-purchase evaluations or a succession of regular customer satisfaction surveys (conducted daily, monthly, quarterly, etc.).

Moving Forward…

Regardless of the approach, satisfaction surveys provide an understanding of customers’ expectations and satisfaction.

They usually have multiple questions that address satisfaction on many different levels, such as overall satisfaction, satisfaction with different service providers from the organization, satisfaction with individual product and service attributes, and satisfaction with the benefits recorded as a result of purchase.

Satisfaction measurement is like peeling away layers of an onion-each layer reveals yet another deeper layer, closer to the core.

You can learn more about how Qualtrics online survey software can easily create customer satisfaction surveys here .

This post is part of the Customer Satisfaction 101 series put together by Scott Smith Ph.D. Click here to see more.