According to the market research firm B2B International, evidence exists that hanging onto a customer costs one-tenth of what it costs to obtain a new one. B2B International also points out that customers remember negative experiences more often than positive ones. Therefore, defining and observing customer satisfaction indicators is key to the success of a business. These indicators will show or exhibit the extent of customer satisfaction. Track these indicators through face-to-face responses, surveys and repeat business.
A beauty salon client indicates through facial expressions, words and emotions her reaction to the services she received. This holds true in most service type businesses. A clear indicator of customer satisfaction is the client's setting up of the next appointment before leaving. A generous tip further indicates customer satisfaction. Face-to-face interaction makes it easy to know how a service registers with customers. It also allows for opportunities to find out where service to customers needs improvement.
Large companies use surveys to track indicators. Generic surveys work for establishments where a set series of questions will suffice, no matter who the customer is. For example, some restaurant chains provide surveys to customers that ask about service, courtesy, food quality and price. Answers to such surveys directly indicate customer satisfaction. Increasingly popular online surveys give feedback to retail outlets, employment agencies and other businesses too large to provide a hard copy survey to each customer.
Companies use targeted surveys when it matters who will be answering the questions. For example, some products are designed for the management-level staff of a prospective client company. After the completion of a course delivered to a group of employees, for example, participants might be asked to fill out a survey giving their feedback on the training. The department manager might fill out a different survey, months later, to indicate how he believes the training improved employee performance.
Customer satisfaction indicators are a measurement of something. They might come in response to questions on how likely a customer is to buy shoes again at a particular store, or how she enjoyed her stay at a resort spa. Indicators reveal the degree of appreciation, approval or loyalty, and are a gauge of how well a business is communicating with its customers.