Customer Satisfaction
Customer Satisfaction Benchmarking

If you own or manage a relatively large business, you may have already put into place a customer satisfaction tracking mechanism. If you have not yet done so, chances are that you have at least thought about such a survey. Regardless of whether you currently are monitoring your customers' satisfaction, it is important to note that a customer satisfaction tracking program, by itself, will not give you a full picture of satisfaction in the marketplace.

The often asked question is "how satisfied are my customers." Framing the question a little differently, it becomes "how satisfied are my customers relative to my competitors' customers, and relative to the best companies in my industry?" If you can answer this question, you know your company's relative strengths and weaknesses at satisfying customers, and you are well-positioned to exploit your knowledge.

One way to benchmark is to periodically touch base with your competitors' customers. If you are in a high-penetration industry, a random survey of the market often will suffice to reach these consumers. If your industry touches just a small percentage of the population, you will have to be a bit more creative in reaching competitors' customers, but it can still be done.

Another way to benchmark is to ask current customers to think of the best company in the industry, and to rate that company on the same attributes that you use for internal measurement.