Are your (tens of thousands of) customers satisfied?

by bold-lichterman

There is plenty of articles on measuring customer satisfaction. But in most cases these are either very theoretical or very technical articles that are often unsuitable for in-depth reflection for key account decision-makers. I therefore wish to offer you a teaching guide in nine steps to help you structure and progress in your thinking. Although I am speaking here more specifically to distributors who need to measure customer satisfaction on the scale of national or even global networks, the smaller structures should nevertheless find some interesting ideas!


Step N ° 1: The purchasing routes

The traditional definition of the e-commerce purchasing journey observed on the internet is often the same: attracting visitors, allowing them to quickly find a product, guaranteeing them the best price, reassuring them about services, in particular deliveries and returns, then l ” invite you to pay as quickly as possible (note: by limiting friction as much as possible). While the principle is not fundamentally different in the retail, the follow-up of the consumer throughout these stages is a convincingly still unresolved technological challenge. It is therefore advisable to use a certain number of shortcuts to overcome the problem. First, by being able to note customer satisfaction before the act of purchase, with independent visits or calls and mysteries. But also by focusing on the customers who have just bought a product. If you were a luxury car salesperson, your customers would be asked about the first contact, the test drive, the relevance of the advice received, the financing offers and finally the delivery. Not so different from e-commerce …

Step N ° 2: Ask the right questions!

This approach has a drawback and an advantage. The downside is that the customer journey could have been very long or, conversely, as short as it was benign. The difficulty is to put the consumer in his purchasing context. Overcoming this reluctance without a strong incentive is a profession. The advantage is that once this entry barrier has been passed, the consumer’s availability is (almost) total and you therefore have the freedom to ask many questions. Go through your five stages of the buying journey and imagine 10 questions for each. You will then have a very fine cutout to easily identify the points of friction. Your conversion drops when financing a car for 150,000 euros? Was the client satisfied with the meeting place? From the LLD offer? About the relationship between you and his bank? Clarity of explanations? Speed ​​of implementation? Administrative formalities? The possibility of trying the car again? Everything is possible and yes, the open answers can be integrated into the final calculations. Do A / B Testing on coffee pods? It’s possible!


Step N ° 3: From verbatim to floating points

Asking 50 questions is one thing. But you who are reading this article will surely not have time to examine the tens of thousands of results to get the most out of them. It is besides the work of data scientists – only to a limited extent. If you serve 100,000 covers a day, coffee is surely important. But that’s probably not the most impactful. Meat? The prices? TV commercials? To be sure, we must convert all the responses obtained into a numerical result, which we can call the Customer Satisfaction Index. One of the traditional methods of doing this is to assign a weight to each question, on a 100 basis for example. Then then write down the answers. Very satisfied is 100, not at all satisfied is 0. Turn each letter into a number, and you will get a final score that gives you a good idea of ​​your customer satisfaction performance. Finally, the person most able to decide the weight of each question is you. You who know your business better than anyone and are able to remain independent from other departments so as not to influence ratings.

Trick: As obviously, it’s always best to write it down: An absence of response is not an absence of satisfaction or dissatisfaction. The weight of each question allows you to subtract the lack of response from the final score.

Step 4: Channels that are not always digital

Then analyze the best harvesting channels. Field, telephone, web, mystery calls… Once again, each channel does not make it possible to measure the entire purchasing journey so effectively across the entire territory of activity. It is therefore possible or even necessary depending on the size of your group to assign a different weight to each channel. Finally, these weight variables can be adjusted at any time. The only important thing is obviously that they are adapted for all the calculations at the same time and that the histories of the weight versions are conversed to keep the coherence in the evolution of the scores. Finally, these questions should not aim to obtain a customer satisfaction score that corresponds to your expectations either, but a score that represents reality! And therefore to have at the end of the process a mark out of 20 or 1000 which allows you to honestly assess the state of your customer satisfaction.

Trick: Who says channel says cross-channel. Do not canvass the same customer several times or, on the contrary, verify the authenticity of a consumer via several response channels are part of the little secrets of the best!

Step N ° 5: Happy / Not happy from one to one hundred

If you sell expensive products or you are a start-up, you have no right to disappoint because there is little volume and vice versa. If you are selling low-margin products, you need to be able to assess profitability / customer satisfaction in the right context. It is possible that the means necessary for better customer satisfaction will ultimately be counterproductive to your value. On very long purchasing journeys, each score must be interpreted in its own context and with thresholds that you have decided. If you calculated your bonuses on these answers, you could post the bonus from 10/20 or on the contrary, from 19/20 if customer satisfaction is one of your key values. Again with this in mind, while every employee must be involved in your success, not all results are relevant to all functions. Each employee must see their score – their stage of the purchasing journey – in a context that they are able to understand and above all improve!

Step N ° 6: “The field”

This is when the field begins. Collecting raw data. Sometimes over short periods with intensive canvassing – but always respectful of the end customer, sometimes over several years with a long-term follow-up of each consumer in order to obtain so many “snaps” of the customer journey at times t than a more global vision of Lifetime Customer Value. As we have seen previously, getting the attention of a consumer long enough to question them on their entire purchasing journey is a real job. The same goes for making a few thousand mystery calls across your entire network without disrupting the results or the work of your employees. There are several solutions. You can, as Capitaine Train did, involve all of your employees in customer relations and make sure that everyone is involved. You can recruit temporary workers over a given period to meet this specific need or finally, you can call on companies specializing in this problem.


Step N ° 7: Let’s be refined, let’s be precise

This is where the first real technical challenge arises. You will collect a lot of raw data, which you will refine according to the algorithms defined later. It remains nevertheless quite indigestible and above all independent of your IS which will continue to evolve throughout this period in the field. So you have to think about how you are going to integrate this customer satisfaction data in order to correlate them with your own IS? If one of your points of sale is in the process of transformation, under construction, suffers a disaster, the responses of target customers of this point of sale will necessarily be impacted and this risks distorting your overall score. You must therefore be able – in real time or almost – to compare this customer satisfaction data with the events occurring in your activity to, if not prevent disruptions, at least be able to recalibrate them very quickly.

Step N ° 8: An employee journey… also digital

The second challenge immediately arises, how will all of the employees concerned be able to not access the data, but access the good results put in the right context? At a time when the digitization of the employee journey is becoming a major issue for key accounts and we are invaded by SAAS, it is crucial that the results are made available naturally in the workflow of each trade. Directors will prefer a synthetic and precise email, easy to assimilate, other levels will prefer less filtered access to data in order to correlate the scores with their very precise field experiences. While this seems obvious on paper, it’s often a different matter to integrate external data into SIs with considerable inertia. Depending on the flexibility of your business, this can be a heavy project that will require great thinking and anticipation skills.

Step N ° 9: CRM + 2016 = Real Time Response

In the same vein, these tens of thousands of responses will allow you to easily identify a piece of information: is a customer ripe to be an ambassador or, on the contrary, is he about to leave? The integration of this data in real time in your CRM will allow your teams to be pro-active in the management of these cases. You will be able to recruit your next ambassadors, at a time when they are ready to recognize your value. But also to offer solutions to the problems of those who have in fine already start to disparage your branding with a telephone advisor they know independent or a web form. Some start-ups have built a considerable reputation on their ability to anchor customer satisfaction and customer relations in their corporate culture, it is now possible on your scale.



The purpose of this article was not to repeat to you how much customer satisfaction is a major issue in (e-) business but rather to address the main principles of resolutions on a large scale. Convincing tens of thousands of consumers to answer sometimes more than 50 questions is a task that requires a lot of concentration to obtain results commensurate with the investments. The same goes for the transformation of these cold data into readable results and able to improve your performance over the long term. Above all, we wanted to present to you the necessary bases to allow you to better structure your thinking around the only question that matters: are your customers satisfied with you?

This educational guide was written in collaboration with the company Qualimetry.


Pierre Aurèle has worked for 10 years in e-commerce where he supports large accounts in the development of their sales and in the deployment of ambitious projects. He recently joined Atecna to diversify its skills.

Contact him on Twitter

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