Here’s Why Measuring Customer Satisfaction After Sales Can Be Biased
“There are no small moments, in some ways, because every single one of these moments is amplified right now. It’s all about setting expectations and then delivering on those smaller promises throughout the journey.”
— Jeannie Walters
Measuring customer satisfaction is usually done after-sales. One example is the quick two-button survey that travelers face when they arrive at an airport. I believe that this is one of the examples that measured satisfaction would mostly be biased. First of all, the passenger had just landed at a new airport, and he did not even get to the passport area, measuring if he is happy with the services so far can be biased. Say a traveler had a bad day, he would probably hit the unsatisfied button. The question is too generic.
The better approach would be asking the customers at the time of the service. Say an airline wants to measure the customer satisfaction of their trip on the airplane, they should ask them when they are landed, not with an email 3 days later. Another example a measuring students' satisfaction, they should be taking content measures and surveys from students along their journey, not right after they finish their program.
Another aspect is that customers tend to evaluate what made them feel good or bad. Evaluation of the whole process at the end can be inaccurate as the customer might love the experience. Still, he did not like the beginning of the end of that process, which will leave a bad impression along the way and eventually will bias the whole experience.
An example of this is restaurants. You might love the entree, the main dish, and the drinks, but you did not find the dessert of your taste; as a matter of fact, you disliked it. If the evaluation is to rate the quality of food on a scale of 0–10, you might rate it less than 8 as you did not like the taste of the dessert, which would leave a bad impression on the overall experience. Although the experience is excellent, if you remove the dessert from the equation, you’ve probably rated it a 9 to 10.
Let’s take this to a more acceptable level. Say the food was excellent. The service was top, the lights, drinks, atmosphere, and everything was magical. But the customer noticed a hair on his food. This will set everything else on fire. The one single — unintentional — mistake will make the customer rate the restaurant with a bad score. You can’t even control or eliminate from the ratings. People will read it once it’s out, and some will decide not to go to the restaurant. Word of mouth is powerful.
This is why we need to approach customer satisfaction from a different perspective. We need to go over the whole experience and split it into chunks of evaluation criteria. This way, if something is bad, it will show, and the overall rating will not suffer.