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A customer satisfaction assessment is a process that determines how satisfied customers are with a business or product. Such assessments may be verbal or written and may be delivered in a number of ways. Most formal assessments include questions on several relevant topics. The purpose of a customer satisfaction assessment is to determine how successful a business or product has been at meeting a customer's needs and to identify areas needing improvement as well as those that are highly successful. The goal is to use results to improve customer relations, therefore increasing customer retention.
Both product- and service-based companies can use customer satisfaction assessments. A product-based company will want to know such things as whether the product packaging was attractive to the customer, whether the product was easy to use and whether the product performed as well as the customer expected it to. Service-based companies will also want to know if they met customer expectations, but might also want to assess how courteous and knowledgeable the personnel were during the customer's experience. Both types of companies will want to know if the customer is likely to buy from them again and if she will refer the product or service to others.
There are many different ways to deliver a customer satisfaction assessment. Customer interviews can be held over the phone or in person, or customers can be asked to fill out surveys online or through the mail. Comment cards, such as those sometimes found on restaurant tables, can include questions about the quality of service, freshness of the food and the overall atmosphere. Each method has pros and cons, and the reliability of data may vary based on methodology.
A more formal customer satisfaction assessment is likely to contain classification questions. These are designed to group respondents into categories by common factors, such as age, sex, ethnicity, household income, or geography. This is done for two reasons. Firstly, a company will be more concerned with ensuring the satisfaction of customers who fit the normal buyer profile. Secondly, a company needs to know if it is satisfying customers in one demographic, but not in another.
It is extremely important for a business to know whether its customers are satisfied. Unhappy customers will not buy again and may tell their friends and family about bad experiences. They might even write online reviews that strangers can use to make buying decisions. Happy customers, on the other hand, are likely to write positive reviews or to refer a good business to others.