A customer satisfaction program is any one of a number of processes that allows companies to measure the overall happiness of the people that buy their products. The most basic form of program is typically a survey which asks direct questions about the customers and their happiness level; this is typically done over the telephone, email or via a survey card. More complex systems are also available when portions of a company’s consumer base are handpicked as a way of representing the customers as a whole. These methods are much more elaborate and generally require one or more face-to-face meetings.
Most companies try to make their customers as happy as possible with their purchases. This increases the likelihood of repeat customers and word-of-mouth advertising, two extremely valuable things for businesses. While making a good product goes a long way towards making people happy, so does checking up on them to make sure that they remain satisfied after the initial purchase.
The most common method of keeping tabs on after-sale viewpoints is through a customer satisfaction program. This general term is used to cover a huge range of programs that begin at the time of the sale and continue on months or even years afterwards. There are three general types of customer satisfaction program: voluntary, involuntary and selective.
A voluntary customer satisfaction program generally consists of questions that are asked of a huge number of customers. The idea is to ask as many people as possible with the understanding that a large portion of them won’t respond. These programs range from the mail-in postcards found in some franchise restaurants to the random phone calls that ask if the purchaser wants to take a survey.
An involuntary customer satisfaction program is one where the respondents are forced to answer a series of questions in order to unlock a feature or guarantee a service. These are uncommon, as they have a tendency to foster ill-will among the survey takers. The most common type of this kind of program is performed during product registration. Registration will unlock warranty features for a product, but the registrant will need to answer a series of questions beforehand.
The third type of customer satisfaction program in selective. In order to perform a selective survey, the company must maintain a database of information about its customers. This information is generally attained through the registration or purchasing processes. These programs will look at product user demographics to find a cross section. Once the company knows the distribution of its customers, it can survey specific people that are representative of the entire group.