Customer Satisfaction
Relationship Versus Transaction Measurement

When you decide to conduct a customer satisfaction survey, one of the first decisions you will need to make is to conduct a relationship-oriented or a transaction oriented survey. A "relationship" survey asks the customer about all or most aspects of the service relationship. A "transaction" survey focuses on satisfaction with a specific transaction. In making the decision of which way to go, you should ask yourself the following questions.

  • Are my customers' transactions complex and infrequent? If they are, you will want to consider a transaction-oriented approach. Examples of such transactions would involve taking out a mortgage, or the purchase of a house, automobile, or boat.
  • Do I service my customers frequently with simple transactions? Do I know how to contact my customers? If you can answer both of these questions in the affirmative, you probably want to consider a relationship-oriented approach. Banking is one industry that lends itself to a relationship survey.
  • Is my ongoing relationship with my customers more important than any individual transaction? Of course, if it is, a relationship approach is in order.

There are instances when you will want to consider taking both approaches. This can be done in the context of a single survey by asking about both the latest transaction and the relationship, or by conducting separate surveys. If separate surveys are conducted and your customers conduct frequent transactions, it is a good idea to ensure that any one customer is not surveyed too frequently. After all, the last thing we want to do in administering a customer satisfaction survey is to aggravate customers.