Determining What Characteristics Are Important To Your Customers

Posted by on Dec 31, 2010 in Customer Satisfaction | 0 comments

Measurement is worthless if the characteristics being measured fail to benefit the customer.  In order to avoid this problem, take time at the start of the measurement process to develop a list of the characteristics and problems that may be significant to your customers.
Start by asking yourself, “What characteristics are my customers likely to be seeking in my products and services?”  You can supplement your internal list by using the following techniques to get customer feedback:
  • Focus groups.  Gather a small group of customers and ask them what is important to them.
  • Investigating complaints.  List the things your customers complain about.
  • Customer comment cards.  Use open ended questions to find out what customers like and dislike and what you can do to make your business better.
  • Customer visits.  See directly how customer use your products in their homes or offices.

Some categories to consider when soliciting feedback from your customers might include:
  • Performance:  how well the product or service does what it is suppose to do.
  • Reliability:  the ability of the product or service to function as promised.
  • Assurance:  the knowledge and courtesy of your employees and their ability to elicit trust and confidence.
  • Tangibles:  the physical aspects of your products and services.
  • Empathy:  your employees demonstration of caring and individual attention to customers.
  • Responsiveness:  willingness and readiness of employees to help customers and provide prompt service.
  • Features:  the characteristics of your products and services that exceed their basic functions.
  • Conformance:  the degree to which a product or service meets specifications for design and operation.
  • Durability:  how long your products and services last.
  • Perceived quality:  the relative worth of your products and services in the eyes of the customer.
  • Serviceability:  How easy is it for you or the customer to fix your product or service with minimal downtime or cost.
  • Cost:  the value offered by your products and services relative to its price.
  • Choice:  the different options you provide in your products and services.

Developing a list of categories for organizing and measuring information from your customers will give you a clear picture of what they care about, where you stand in their eyes, and what to improve to meet their expectations.

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