Surveying Customer Satisfaction

Your online reputation is always at risk! Whether you are protecting your personal “brand” or securing the reputation of a product or service you sell, the most significant “bang for your buck” can come from an unsolicited source; a link that surfaces in a trade-related blog post, a YouTube video that goes viral, or the complementary back link on a customer’s personal blog. Social network “market intelligence” has a significant and growing voice in advertising dialog; it is what people say about you rather than what you say about yourself!

Imagine a product review that shows 5% of your customers were reporting specific design issues with, for example, the battery compartment latch on an MP3 player you sell. Image a tool that would, in minutes, help you factor out this specific design issue, recalculate a customer satisfaction index, and project that your product would outscore the competition by 4.2%. Would an online tool like this help you manage your product and your career?

Several analytic tools and techniques on the market offer easy-to-use interfaces that offer multiple selections of key performance variables and listings of competing manufacturers. These tools can filter the number of sampled reviews and adjust ranges for different scores and indices. What should you look for in such a tool?

· Verify that data collection techniques are carefully performed. Are samples filtered for promotional content and duplication? Are they run on a regular recurring basis? We believe that, depending on the market, data over 30 days old is stale.

· Select a tool that provides multiple independent criteria for your product reputation metric. Make certain your underlying data sample reliably support variables. Look for robust reporting features that are easy-to-use and well-documented.

· Confirm features that allow you to export your data to ANY spreadsheet (using, for example, comma-separated variable, CSV, format).

Whether you are a product managers or an entrepreneur, you need actionable insights to identify how well your product meets your customers’ expectations. Yesterday’s excitement becomes today’s expectation and tomorrow’s “must-be”. The ever-growing “digital word-of mouth” coinciding with the ebb and flow of social media phenomena like Facebook and Twitter can exaggerate shifts in perception and opinion over very short periods of time.

Customer satisfaction is no longer a simple statistic. Consider this key performance indicator of success as an aggregate of perceived reputation; your product’s functionality (its feature set), its reliability and its accessibility through support from you as the manufacturer, included documentation, and the friendliness of the user interface. One unexpected effect these “socially-shared expectations” have is the speed at which they can unpredictably change. Protect your product and your brand. Your online reputation and the reputation of your products need constant monitoring. Your livelihood probably depends on it!

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