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Predicting Vendor Relationships By Reviewing Your Vendors Attention to Customer Service

Best practice technology providers measure customer satisfaction on many levels and do not try to rationalize poor service scores. Above all, they measure customer satisfaction for the purpose of understanding and improving the customer experience. The right questions help determine whether service providers are really committed to meeting the customers' expectations. In simple terms, taking a moment to ask who, what, when, how and why can help separate the players from the posers.

Who | When it comes to customer satisfaction, whose opinion matters?

Measuring customer satisfaction in B2B customer relationships is more complex than consumer relationships as there are multiple stakeholders. Companies who are serious about integrating satisfaction feedback into their organization will gain feedback from several levels, including:

  • Users who work with the technology on a daily basis. Their feedback is important for vendors when it comes to monitoring ease of use, system performance, employee productivity and technology stability.

  • Project managers that are responsible for software implementation, vendor management and end results. Their input can help shape how relationships are managed and are critical to overall satisfaction.

  • Business leaders and executives look more at the big picture. Their observations help uncover ways to improve long-term ROI.

A best-in-class measurement program will solicit feedback from several individuals in each company. For prospective buyers, the “who” question offers a quick way to assess whether a technology supplier understands both the strategic objectives and the nuances of a business relationship.

What | When it comes to customer satisfaction, what does the vendor actually measure?

When a technology vendor says “Over 90% of our customers are satisfied” what exactly does that mean? Actually, leading technology vendors do not measure whether or not a customer is satisfied. They only care about whether a customer is very satisfied.

In many countries, such as the United Kingdom, “satisfaction” is akin to cultural politeness. When a customer claims they are “Satisfied” or “Somewhat Satisfied,” that often means there are underlying issues with the vendor that have yet to be addressed.

“Very Satisfied” is the customer service gold standard. While few companies will be able to cite numbers in the 90% plus range when using this scale, it says a lot when vendors aspire to this goal. Another variation of the “Very Satisfied” measurement is a “Net Sat” score. Here, companies take the number of customers who are “Very Satisfied” and subtract anyone “Dissatisfied” or “Very Dissatisfied.”

Technology vendors who utilize customer satisfaction feedback well will penetrate much deeper than a single question. Successful companies look for ways to align their operations to customer needs. In general, four aspects of customer satisfaction are consistent across technology suppliers.

  • Sales and sales relationship

  • Service and service support

  • Technology performance

  • Ease of doing business

It is a good idea to ask each prospective technology supplier how they measure satisfaction across each of these four aspects.

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Best practice technology providers measure customer satisfaction on many levels and do not try to rationalize poor service scores. Above all, they measure customer satisfaction for the purpose of understanding and improving the customer experience.

 

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