The Customer Satisfaction Conundrum
How often are we drawn into business relationships by the promise of customer satisfaction?
With phrases like:
- Our customer service is world-class!
- Creating satisfied customers is our top priority!
- Satisfied customers are our greatest advertising!
- Guaranteed customer satisfaction!
Do these exclamations really increase the probability of a satisfied customer? And what about those auto-surveys? How is customer satisfaction determined?
For simple purchases, like a dinner at a restaurant, determining satisfaction is straight forward. The food was good, I am full, and it came at a reasonable price—I am satisfied!
But what about complex business to business (B2B) purchases costing millions of dollars for services that will be performed over months or years?
I’ve been involved in B2B services in the biopharmaceutical industry for most of my career. Whether offering services or assessing a service provider, there are obvious determiners that drive buying decisions: capabilities, capacity, expertise, project timeline, quality.
But after the buying decision is made, or the project has been underway for six months, how is customer satisfaction determined? There seem to be factors that drive customer satisfaction that lie below the surface of the obvious and are difficult to assess until after the buying decision is made.
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