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How to Measure Customer Satisfaction

“How to Measure Customer Satisfaction”

Businesses survive because they have customers that are willing to buy their product or service. However, many times businesses fail to "check in" with their customers to determine whether they are happy or not and what it will take to make or keep them happy


This Business Builder will explain why it’s absolutely necessary to measure your customers’ satisfaction level, different options for obtaining customer feedback, what is needed to ensure an effective survey, how to analyze the results of your survey, and the next steps you should take to attract new customers and keep your existing ones coming back for more.


The Costs of Poor Customer Service

Just think of the money Coca-Cola might have saved if it had talked to its consumers before changing its cola formula.

Businesses survive because they have customers that are willing to buy their product or service. However, many times businesses fail to "check in" with their customers to determine whether they are happy or not and what it will take to make or keep them happy.

Finding the reasons for customer defections and doing something about them is especially important. According to the U.S. Consumer Affairs Department, it costs five times more to gain a new customer than to retain an existing one. Other studies have reported that with just a five percent increase in customer retention a firm can raise its profitability by 25 percent and in some cases as much as 85 percent. Similar studies also show the longer a company keeps a customer, the more money it will make. What happens is that consumers spend slowly at first, but with succeeding years of good experiences, they will spend increasingly more. The Profit Impact of Market Strategy (PIMS) database (see the Strategic Planning Institute) shows that firms perceived as having better customer service can charge more for their products and services and still have higher market shares and returns on sales than their competitors.

TARP, a management consulting research company, reports only two to four percent of dissatisfied customers ever complain to a business regarding a poor experience. The others just leave and do business with competitors. Of customers that leave in a given year, 68 percent do because of supplier indifference or poor attitude. In a study conducted by General Electric, GE found that word-of-mouth has a significant influence on consumer decisions–twice as much as advertising. (The Information Challenge, General Electric Company, Louisville, KY, 1982. Survey conducted by Cambridge Reports, Inc. 12 pp.) Negative word-of-mouth can be really dangerous since dissatisfied customers are usually more vocal than satisfied customers. Depending on the industry and the nature of the bad experience, dissatisfied customers will complain to 10 to 20 friends and acquaintances–three times more than those with good experiences. Furthermore, this negative information is influential, and consumers generally place significant weight on it when making a decision.

If that isn’t reason enough to be concerned about how customers perceive us, fierce competition is requiring more and more innovations to differentiate firms from one another. With technology available to virtually everyone today, the traditional feature and cost advantages are no longer relevant. Still, product and service quality provide an enormous opportunity to distinguish a firm from the rest. The Japanese have recognized this and have taught us to expect quality. Today’s consumers do, and they know more about products and services than they ever did.

According to futurist and corporate advisor, Faith Popcorn, a new type of customer is emerging in the ’90s. They are "vigilante consumers" — a new generation of super consumers that are smart, discriminating and vocal. They demand value for their money and expect the companies that they buy from to be responsible and accountable. When companies don’t respond, these "vigilante consumers" will make sure that they will tell anyone who will listen why they shouldn’t do business with those companies. Satisfying these smarter consumers just makes good business sense.

The Customer Service Payoff

Customers are your best source of business information — whether it’s to improve an existing product or service or whether you’re planning to launch something new. There’s no substitution for "getting it from the horse’s mouth." When you open up the lines of communication, you are able to align your resources to best advantage, and you often can make changes or launch products more quickly. By talking to your customers directly, you increase your odds for achieving success; you "mistake-proof" your decisions and work on what really matters. Just think of the money Coca-Cola might have saved if it had talked to its consumers before changing its cola formula. When you routinely ask your customers for feedback and involve them in your business, they, in turn, become committed to the success of your business.

Watch Out For…

Even the best intentions are subject to problems along the way. Temptations to avoid are:

  • Complacency — Obtaining feedback is an ongoing process, not a one-time event. You cannot know what your customers want if you only ask them occasionally. Change is certain, and priorities do shift. The most successful companies are those that can detect and respond to customer changes quickly.
  • Analysis paralysis — When you get your feedback, don’t analyze it to death. Many corporations have departments full of statisticians to determine the reliability and validity of the feedback; however, they never get around to doing anything with the data. In most cases, feedback will make it obvious what you are doing well and where you need to improve, so it’s in your best interest to get started immediately.
  • Doing nothing with the feedback — Nothing will do more to discourage feedback from your customers than not doing anything with their suggestions. You must show them that you appreciate their input as well as communicate to them what has changed as a result of their input. If they feel nothing has been done, then they think their efforts have been wasted and will not participate further.
  • Failing to listen to your experts — Another valuable source of customer information is your employees. They deal with customers constantly and often have first hand knowledge on what the customers’ "hot buttons" are. Too often employers ignore this valuable resource. Big mistake! Talking to your employees should be one of the first steps you take in gathering customer satisfaction data. That way you’ll get a preliminary reading on potential problem areas so that you can focus your efforts when soliciting your customers for their feedback.
  • Demotivating employees — Customer feedback should not be used to punish employees. Instead, use it to detect areas for improvement. Improper training and lack of communication and direction are often the culprits of poor job performance. Besides, if customers discover that their input is used to discipline employees, they may stop providing constructive feedback altogether.


Sources of Customer Data

Too often organizations claim to know what their customers’ requirements are, yet fail to gather and analyze the most useful data. Sure, they know their customers’ general requirements, but do they know what influences customer buying decisions, how important each influencer is, or how they measure up to the competition in the areas most important to the customer? They don’t and won’t unless they collect this information in a formal, systematic manner.

* Your own organization — Uncover potential areas of customer discontent by reviewing your key operational data. Most likely you’ll uncover some things that you can fix immediately, which will make your customers happy and get you started on the right track.

Check on the status of backlogs or stockouts. If these are significant, chances are you have some customers that are not happy with your delivery cycle time.

Review your "Returns and Allowances." If they are high, then your customers are sending you a strong message that they were not happy with the product they purchased — either the quality was inferior or they felt the product was misrepresented.

Examine your production reject or yield rates. If your rejects are high or your yields low, you can bet that some bad product is leaking out to your customers. Even if you inspect the product before shipping it to the customer, tests have shown that inspection isn’t 100 percent reliable — some bad product will sneak out.

Poll your employees for information on customer satisfaction. They interact with customers constantly and probably know a great deal about your customers’ likes and dislikes. If you are a one-person organization, then you are the one dealing with customers. You know what’s going well, what needs fine-tuning, and what needs a major overhaul.

* Customers — You may want to start with a review of customer complaints and inquiries. If you don’t have a systematic way of collecting these, you should develop one. Both are good indicators of opportunity areas. However, don’t limit yourself to just complaints and inquiries. Remember, only two percent to four percent of dissatisfied customers ever complain. If you’re only looking at complaints, you’re missing the other 96 percent to 98 percent who have problems with you.

If some of your customers are especially important to you, consider making some key customer visits to discuss ways to make them happier.

Surveys and focus groups are two popular methods for gathering information on more general customer needs. Surveys are written assessments given to individual customers; focus groups are discussion sessions with groups of customers. Both must have clear and specific goals up front in order to be successful. Broad questions in surveys or focus group sessions provide perspective, but it’s usually too general to base decisions on. Objectives must be clear and questions specific if they are to provide results that can be acted upon.

Although focus groups and surveys are similar in what they want to accomplish, one may be more suitable than the other, depending on the application. Surveys are relatively simple and economical to administer and can reach large numbers of customers, but the survey results are limited by the question and brief response format. On the other hand, focus groups take more time and effort, are often more expensive to administer and may not be as far-reaching as surveys, but their interactive nature may produce clearer feedback. The best results are found when combinations of both techniques are used to identify customer requirements and expectations.

Currently, surveys are the most popular tool used by today’s businesses for collecting customer satisfaction data so we will focus the remainder of the Business Builder on developing a customer satisfaction survey.

The Best Kind of Customer Data

More is not necessarily better when it comes to customer data, but getting the right kind of data is critical. Following are the key characteristics of good customer data:

  • Ongoing — One thing is certain, change is going to happen. Your customers may change; their needs may change; the environment may change (e.g., the competition gets tougher, regulations change); and most certainly you will change. As you improve, your customers expectations will likely rise, too. In order to respond to these changing needs, you’ll need to constantly assess your customers.
  • Specific — In order to make the kind of improvements your customers will appreciate, you’ll need to have specific feedback. While general inputs may give you an overall perception of the customer, you can only respond to specific feedback.
  • Timely — If you’re working with old data, it may be obsolete and no longer relevant.
  • Focused — Organizations have limited resources. While the problems can be overwhelming, you can realistically work on just a few. If you try to do too much, you might not do anything well.
  • Weighted (according to importance) — This will help to narrow the list of opportunities to just the few on which you should concentrate. You can rate the relative importance, but it will be much better if your customer does it.
  • Competitive comparison — You should always know where you stand in comparison to your competition. If your customers are willing to provide you with that feedback, take it. And you won’t need a separate survey. Look at the sample survey at the end of the Business Builder to find out how you can incorporate this information in the same survey.


There are six steps in conducting a successful survey. They are:

  • Decide on your objectives
  • Determine who should complete the survey
  • Develop the survey
  • Administer the survey
  • Analyze the results
  • Communicate the results

Step 1
Decide On Your Objectives

What do you want to know from the survey? Be specific. Your objectives will form the basis from which your survey questions will be developed. Limit your objectives to just a few. If you try to include too much, you will make the survey too long (customers may not complete it), and you may uncover more than you can handle (you can’t respond to it). For instance, Josie’s Custom Woodworking wants to increase sales. Josie’s objective for her survey is to determine the best ways to increase sales. That might include questions about pricing, the competition, ways to add value, advertising methods, referrals, etc. In order to limit the length of the survey, she may have to be selective with the kind of questions she asks — even though she’s chosen just one objective!

Two tempting traps to avoid when setting objectives:

  • Don’t plan to reward or punish individual workers on the basis of survey results. That causes workers to focus on survey elements and disregard unsurveyed problems.
  • You probably need to know about your target customer’s demographics (age, educational background, ethnicity, income, etc.) to market your products effectively, but don’t ask about personal details that you don’t need or that you can get from publications rather than surveys. It wastes survey time. More importantly, people who think personal details are none of your business will not respond to your survey, and worse, may consider it a reason not to do business with you.

Now determine the objective(s) of your survey.

Step 2
Determine Who Should Complete the Survey

First and foremost, know who your customers are and which are appropriate to survey! As obvious as this sounds, it is not so obvious in practice. If your market is large, you may have different segments of customers. Or depending upon the industry you may have different levels of customers. Nevertheless, your survey objective(s) will usually determine which customers you should survey. For instance, Sue’s Dress Shop supplies dresses for designers and tailors clothing for individual clients. If Sue is interested in ways to increase her commercial business, then she should target the survey to her designer customers. Similarly, Oscar’s OJ supplies fresh-squeezed orange juice to distributors who then sell to the consumer. If Oscar wants feedback on the flavor of his orange juice, he should survey the end-user, the consumer, not his direct customer, the distributor.

Also, give some thought to the number of customers you want to survey. Do you have a few key accounts? Maybe you want to survey each of them. If you have multiple customers, you may have to select a sample to survey. Also, you may want to hear from different individuals at the same customer site. Feedback from individuals other than your direct contact may reflect problems that your contact doesn’t know about and report.

Each time you administer a survey, you should adjust the recipient list to assure that you don’t accidentally survey the same customers repeatedly. Once you have initial results, you may want to assess one defined target segment repeatedly or assess one segment after another.

Step 3
Develop the Survey

Having settled on objectives and decided what kinds of customers you’ll target, it’s time to draft the survey. You’ll need to formulate questions whose answers will help you decide what needs to be changed to achieve your objectives. The following tips may help you:

  • First, list potential question topics. Common service factors for which you may want to ask customers to grade your performance and product value include:


    1. Features
    2. Features desired
    3. Variety
    4. Safety
    5. Durability
    6. Quality
    7. Reliability
    8. Documentation clarity
    9. Documentation adequacy
    10. Packaging quality
    11. Packaging convenience
    12. Cost


    1. Pushiness
    2. Friendliness
    3. Courtesy
    4. Accessibility
    5. Attention
    6. Care
    7. Competence
    8. Flexibility
    9. Understanding of customer needs
    10. Professionalism
    11. Appearance
    12. Effective use of time

    Customer feelings:

    1. Appreciated
    2. Respected
    3. In control
    4. Needs and desires met


    1. Location convenience
    2. Well or poorly organized offerings
    3. Furnishings
    4. Cleanliness

    Post-sale service:

    1. (Same list as employee features above)
    2. Order processing timeliness
    3. Delivery timeliness
    4. Condition on delivery
    5. Installation problems
    6. Problem solving
    7. Kept promises
    8. Product usefulness

    Company perception:

    1. Confidence
    2. Trust
    3. Honesty
    4. Affection
    5. Efficiency
    6. Stability
    7. Innovativeness
    8. Brand quality

    Consider what you know and what you want to know regarding customer perception of each factor you consider to be significant. Then shorten the list to just significant factors that you would be willing and able to work on to increase customer loyalty or attract new customers. Conversely, also list factors where there may be opportunities to cut back on quality if it would reduce production costs without driving away customers.

    Now, decide how much difference learning what you want to know about each factor will make. If responses to a related survey question are unlikely to affect what you do, don’t waste the respondent’s time. Don’t ask it.

    It’s time to draft the survey questions. Common question formats include yes-or-no questions, Likert scales (discussed below), and lists for the respondents to rank. Examples appear in the survey example near the end of this document. More tips for effective question syntax and survey layout can be found in the Business Builder "How to Create a Customer Survey."

    Before you finalize the survey questionnaire, see if any of the questions can be answered to your satisfaction by observing and talking to your sales staff and customers.

  • Decide on the response format. This will determine how your customers will provide their answers to your survey questions. There are two commonly used formats — checklist and Likert scale.

    For each question in a checklist format, the customer will be able to respond either "yes" or "no." While this is the simpler of the two formats, it can be confusing if the customer’s answer is actually "maybe," "sometimes," or "mostly." The Likert-scale format, developed by R.A. Likert in 1932, represents a bipolar continuum where the lower end is a negative response and the higher end is a positive response. Examples of Likert scales are:

    • Strongly disagree, disagree, neutral, agree, strongly agree
    • Very dissatisfied, dissatisfied, indifferent, satisfied, very satisfied
    • Very poor, poor, average, good, very good

    On occasion you may want to add NR (not relevant) or NA (not appropriate) to indicate that the customer is not a valid respondent for that question.

    The advantages of the Likert scale are (1) it allows the customer to express a degree of opinion, and (2) scales with five response items have shown to be higher in reliability than those with just two. However, reliability appears to level off after five responses, so while a five point scale is better than a two point, ten is not necessarily better than five.

  • Determine the level of importance for each question. Not only is it important to determine how you’re doing for each question, but you should also know its degree of importance. Remember, you don’t have unlimited resources. You can’t improve everything, nor should you expect to. Work smartly. If you know what is most important to your customer, it’s only logical that you should start there first, especially if your customer is not satisfied with your performance level. This is one of the most critical components of surveys, but it is one that is frequently omitted. Without it, you can’t prioritize your work.

    For example, Barry’s Body Shop just completed a customer satisfaction survey that told him he needs to extend his service hours and clean up his shop. Because of his limited staff, Barry only has resources to work on one. Which one should he choose? If he had asked his customers to rate the importance of each, the choice would have been easy. He would have discovered that extending his service hours was highly important while cleanliness was not important at all. The simplest method for determining level of importance is to use a three point scale — 3 for high, 2 for medium and 1 for low. Again, refer to the sample survey at the end of the Business Builder to see how it’s done.

  • Minimize open-ended questions. An example might be, "How can we improve our service?" Then you would allow space for the customer to write in his answer. Open-ended questions are hard to tabulate. Whenever you can, format your questions so you can use a checklist or Likert scale. Do allow room for comments, though. If a customer has a specific problem, he may describe it in the comments section enabling you to respond — maybe even fix it immediately.

    For example, Karen’s Kolorful Kites just completed a survey and discovered that one of its distributors experienced on-time delivery problems. The distributor commented that the carrier Karen utilized did not have a regional depot in his area. He was always the last stop. Karen had no idea this had been a problem and immediately switched his product to a regional carrier. The problem was solved, and the distributor was elated.

  • Develop an introduction to your survey. Keep it brief. You should explain the purpose of the survey and include any instructions that are needed to complete the survey. Customers are more likely to complete your survey if they know (1) why you need it and (2) how to complete it. You may also want to collect information such as name, function, or company so you can segregate the data further. Explain in the introduction that while this is optional, it does allow you to follow up on issues that individuals cite.
  • Test the questions on a select number of people before you send your survey out. This will flag potentially confusing questions. You can either have some of your employees complete the questionnaire or sample a group of customers.
  • Keep your survey short. Long surveys will reduce the number of responses that you’ll get. A rule of thumb to keep in mind is two pages, front and back (for a total of 4), not exceeding 30 questions. If you have more, save them for next time.
  • Set a deadline to complete the survey. Don’t extend it too long because it’ll never find its way out of your customer’s "In Basket." At the same time, don’t make it too soon. Travel schedules and vacations may preclude your customer from completing it. Two weeks from receipt of the survey usually works well.
  • Clearly identify who should receive the completed survey. This should be included in your introduction. If it is to be returned to you directly, include a self-addressed stamped envelope to facilitate the return of the completed survey.
  • Thank all who participated. Everyone is asked to complete surveys these days. Make sure you include a thank-you in the survey introduction. Also, if the respondent provides his name, it is customary to send a note or card thanking him again and describing survey results and follow-up actions taken as a result.

Step 4:
Administer the Survey

You may want to contact the people you intend to survey before hitting them with questions, and ask them if they will help you by responding. Prenotification will both let the survey candidates know how important it is to you and help you avoid irritating clients who resent surveyors.

If you are handing out survey cards to customers, be aware that research has indicated that it’s better to do it as they depart, not as they arrive. Having a list of features to criticize during the visit makes a customer more likely to notice weaknesses. That inspires useful feedback, but it can cost you the customer.

If you are not satisfied with the initial response rate, don’t give up. Consider supplementing the survey in another medium–for example by asking questions by telephone or on a Web page when not enough were answered by mail.

Step 5:
Analyze the Results

Once your customers return the completed surveys, you are ready to compile the data and analyze the results. In most cases, competency with a computer spreadsheet program is all you’ll need. First, you’ll need to design the spreadsheet, enter the data, then choose the graphs to summarize the results. These might be pie charts, bar graphs, or line graphs which are available in all of the popular spreadsheet programs.

For both the checklist and Likert format, you’ll be able to determine the percentages of positive and negative responses for each response. Each "yes" is a positive response and each "no" is a negative response for a checklist. With the Likert scale, you can determine positive and negative percentages by combining the responses on each end of the continuum. For instance, Strongly Agree and Agree become positive; Disagree and Strongly Disagree become negative. When this happens, you transform the five-point scale to a three-point scale that just happens to be the same as your "Level of Importance" scale and very similar to a checklist format.

If your customers decide to fill in the biographical information (name, function, company, etc.), you’ll be able to do some further manipulation that may prove helpful. For instance, you may want to sort the survey data by type of customer, function, sales level, product purchased or whatever makes sense to determine if any trends are developing.

Kath’s Karaoke Kompany decided to sort its customer satisfaction survey results by job function. After analyzing the results, Kath found that the manufacturing and sales people gave her company high satisfaction results. Yet, the executives gave her company low marks. It was obvious that she needed to investigate why the executives were dissatisfied. If she had not sorted the data in this manner, she may have overlooked this issue.

Step 6
Communicate the Results

After you have analyzed the data, it is time to communicate the results to your staff and customers.

First the staff: Remind everyone that customer satisfaction is essential for continued prosperity. Emphasize the importance of keeping the customer wants and needs in mind whenever decisions are made–especially in product design, marketing, and customer services.

Then the customers: Communicating survey results and resulting action is absolutely necessary if you want to continue to receive feedback from your customers. If they feel that the survey results do not get the proper attention, they’ll be reluctant to provide you with feedback in the future.

Get your customers involved when you can. This gives them ownership of the issues, makes them part of the solutions and allows them to experience firsthand your dedication in satisfying their needs. You might also want to solicit their input for your annual goals and objectives. Then, tell them how you’re doing against the goals, and tell them frequently. That way they know that progress is being made and that you value their opinions and their participation. Plus, it provides you with some great public relations.

The Bedrock Bank Corp. decided to communicate what they were doing with their customer feedback during their Customer Appreciation Week. Instead of the general promotions, free coffee and giveaways they were accustomed to providing, they designed a major communication campaign to inform their customers of the survey results and announce their follow-up plans.


Once you’ve identified your customers’ needs, your strengths and weaknesses, and the priority for improvements from the surveys, pick a few areas on which to concentrate your organization’s efforts. If there are some simple, quick fixes then, by all means, make them, but focus the majority of your efforts on those "vital few" that will achieve the biggest gains in satisfaction levels. Identify some key performance indicators for customer satisfaction, develop goals, and measure your progress against those performance indicators. Also, under-promise and over-deliver. Keeping expectations slightly below perceived performance keeps your customer happy and makes you look good.

Ongoing assessments are needed to keep a current and accurate account of customer satisfaction. Remember, surveys and focus groups are valuable in detecting shifts and spotting trends in satisfaction levels, for providing incentive for continuing progress, and in identifying new opportunities for improvements. Direct customer input is imperative. A system that doesn’t include large doses of customer input is meaningless. Also, updates or revisions to performance indicators are often necessary to reflect changes in customer needs.

As quality guru John Guaspari wrote in I Know It When I See It, "It doesn’t matter whether your own records show high satisfaction levels, it’s the customer’s perception that counts."


  • Design and administer the survey yourself. Although there are survey houses who will try to convince you that this is much too complex a process for you to undertake alone, don’t be intimidated. You know your customers. Who better than you could design a survey that assesses your customers’ needs? A thorough knowledge of statistics will not be necessary. If this is the first time you’ve asked for feedback, it will be very obvious what you are doing well… and not so well. If you follow the advice given in this Business Builder, you will be quite capable of creating a survey that provides you with relevant feedback that you can act upon.

    With each succeeding survey, you’ll improve the process. Furthermore, when you conduct the survey yourself, you internalize it, and it becomes the cornerstone from which you make some very important business decisions — not just another program performed by an unrelated third party.

  • Utilize available software programs. Due to the increasing use of surveys, many software packages that simplify the survey process are being marketed. Not only do these programs provide a broad selection of questions to include in your survey, but they also perform both elementary and complex statistical manipulation. Although you can spend several thousand dollars for ones with lots of bells and whistles, there are more moderately priced packages for under $500. You can find a listing of these in the Resources section at the end of the Business Builder.




Name (optional):

Department (optional):

Role/Function (optional):

Address (optional):

Phone (optional):

Instructions: First evaluate the services provided by us. Next, evaluate the services provided by an alternate supplier or the competition in general. A "5" represents world class levels, "1" is poor, "3" is average. If you feel that we or the competition perform this service in a world-class manner, then circle "5". If you feel that we or the competition perform at a poor level, then circle "1". Please use the remaining numbers to describe less extreme feelings.

In the last column indicate how important you feel this service is to you. If the statement describes a service that is important to you, please circle "H" for High. If the service is not important to you, circle "L" for Low. If you feel somewhere in between, indicate so by circling "M" for Medium.

If you wish to add information not covered by the statements or provide examples that describe your opinions about a service, please do so in the comment sections provided at the end of each question. The questions are general in nature yet comprehensive when accompanied with your specific comments. Your comments are valuable in improving our understanding of your requirements, and we appreciate each one of them.

Thank you for your time and effort in helping us become a world-class vendor!

A. Reliability — Ability to perform the promised service dependably and accurately.
This company Best competitor Importance level
1. Follows through with commitments in a timely manner. 1 2 3 4 5   1 2 3 4 5 L M H
2. Shows a sincere interest in solving my problems. 1 2 3 4 5   1 2 3 4 5 L M H
3. Performs the service right the first time. 1 2 3 4 5   1 2 3 4 5 L M H
4. Is dependable. 1 2 3 4 5   1 2 3 4 5 L M H
5. Insists on error-free records. 1 2 3 4 5   1 2 3 4 5 L M H
B. Empathy — Caring, individualized attention a firm provides its customers.
1. Gives me personal attention. 1 2 3 4 5   1 2 3 4 5 L M H
2. Has convenient service features (e.g., hours,contacts, etc.). 1 2 3 4 5   1 2 3 4 5 L M H
3. Has my best interests at heart. 1 2 3 4 5   1 2 3 4 5 L M H
4. Understands my specific needs. 1 2 3 4 5   1 2 3 4 5 L M H
C. Tangibles — Appearance of physical facilities, equipment, personnel and communication materials.
1. Has modern and/or appropriate facilities and equipment. 1 2 3 4 5   1 2 3 4 5 L M H
2. Physical facilities are visually appealing. 1 2 3 4 5   1 2 3 4 5 L M H
3. Projects a professional image. 1 2 3 4 5   1 2 3 4 5 L M H
D. Responsiveness — Willingness to help customers and provide prompt service.
1. Employees inform me exactly when services will be performed. 1 2 3 4 5   1 2 3 4 5 L M H
2. Employees give me prompt service. 1 2 3 4 5   1 2 3 4 5 L M H
3. Employees are always willing to help me. 1 2 3 4 5   1 2 3 4 5 L M H
4. Employees are never too busy to respond to my requests. 1 2 3 4 5   1 2 3 4 5 L M H
E. Assurance — Knowledge and courtesy of employees and their ability to inspire trust and confidence.
1. The behavior of employees instills confidence in me. 1 2 3 4 5   1 2 3 4 5 L M H
2. I feel safe in my transactions with employees. 1 2 3 4 5   1 2 3 4 5 L M H
3. Employees are courteous. 1 2 3 4 5   1 2 3 4 5 L M H
4. Employees have the knowledge to answer my questions. 1 2 3 4 5   1 2 3 4 5 L M H
Additional Comments:

F. Relative Value.

Listed below are five features pertaining to suppliers and the services they offer. We would like to know how important each of these is to you when you evaluate suppliers’ service. Please allocate a total of 100 points to the five features based on how important each is to you — the more important a feature is to you, the more points you should allocate to it.

_____Points Appropriate facilities/equipment; professional personnel.
_____Points Accurate and dependable service performance.
_____Points Willingness to help customers and provide prompt service.
_____Points Knowledgeable and courteous employees that inspire trust and confidence.
_____Points Caring, individualized attention to customers.
100  Points



Measuring Customer Satisfaction — Development and Use of Questionnaires by Bob E. Hayes. (ASQC Quality Press, 1998).

Delivering Quality Service: Balancing Customer Perceptions and Expectations by V.A. Zeithaml, A. Parasuraman and L.L. Berry. (The Free Press, 1990).

Customer Satisfaction: The Other Half of Your Job by Dru Scott. (Crisp Publications, Inc., 1991).

Customers For Life: How to Turn That One-Time Buyer into a Lifetime Customer by Carl Sewell and Paul B. Brown. (Doubleday, 1998).


Apian Software — Survey Pro

Creative Research Systems — The Survey System


Internet Sites

"Customer Satisfaction — How Can I Measure It?" by Yoshio Kondo. Conference Proceedings from World Congress for Total Quality Management. European Society for Organizational Excellence, 2001.

"Using The Telephone To Perform Customer Satisfaction Surveys," by Michael Kirsch and Leslie Wood. Agency Sales Magazine 32:4 (April 2002), 40 (2).

American Society for Quality Control

International Customer Service Association

Other Sources

  • Samples of surveys from banks, restaurants, dry cleaners, etc.
  • Statisticians from universities, colleges, corporations
  • Corporate Total Quality Management (TQM) Directors
  • Survey houses

Writer: Susan Smith

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