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Keep the Customer Satisfied

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A customer's satisfaction is the gap between what the customer expects and what the customer gets. T Scott Gross, author, Positively Outrageous Service

Measuring customer satisfaction helps ensure clients are getting full value from your products. For instance, the popular Net Promoter Score (NPS) metric indicates a customer’s likelihood to be a positive referral. Yet most organizations don’t track metrics at the product level. They might have satisfaction scores for a single sales transaction or for the company overall but how do you make product decisions?

I often reference Doug McClure’s “Pirate Metrics” for tracking conversions from lead acquisition to customer referrals, as described in the ANALYZE AND LEARN section. So you don’t have to re-read that section, these metrics monitor Acquisition, Activation, Revenue, Retention, and Referral. Most online products have these and other metrics built-in but if you don’t have instrumentation within your product, consider some of these alternative sources of satisfaction metrics.

Enhancement requests. Look carefully at product enhancement requests from customers and their sales people. These are areas of your product that customers feel are deficient. Sure, many of the complaints are user errors (noted by tech support as OSOK: Other Side of Keyboard) but many reflect the delta between what the customer expected and what actually happened.

Customer support. Your support line has more customer interactions in a week than most product managers have in a year. Support status logs and reports can reveal satisfaction trends. Look at the number of calls per week and the average length of calls. Ideally, support should provide a quarterly list of most often requested features or capabilities. Your support teams are uniquely qualified to give powerful insights. However, if they find no one in product management listens, support folks stop bothering.

Social media. If your product has broad adoption, you can often find complaints in the Twitterverse. As one product manager prepared for an interview, she found many complaints about the company’s behavior and product quality—areas she focused on in her interview questions. Likewise, the savvy product manager can leverage social media to see how the product is perceived and identify areas for improvement.

Win-loss analysis. One of the most popular and effective ways to determine customer satisfaction is analyzing the results of recent sales wins and losses. Why did you win? Why did you lose? Most of the information gained from win or loss interviews relates to sales and marketing efforts but you also get feedback on the product experience, from on-boarding to production roll-out to on-going usage.

How are you tracking customer satisfaction of the product? From purchase to install to on-going usage?

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