Should we stop measuring customer and employee satisfaction?

Despite little evidence of any real impact, every year millions of pounds are spent gathering customer and colleague feedback.

95% of products and new services launched this year will fail — and it won’t be for lack of satisfaction surveys. Through myriad questionnaires and phone interviews people will have been asked to articulate what they have experienced in the past rather getting to the core of what they truly need.

It is difficult for us as users , of any service , to think in abstractions or envision a new concept.

There is little evidence that we can even predict our own behaviour. We don’t necessarily know why we make decisions.

When anyone proposes a change — even humdrum day to day changes (think self-serve check outs in supermarkets , or charging people for plastic bags) — we don’t react rationally.

Against this background — does gathering masses of feedback and competing in the satisfaction league tables actually help anyone?

On Thursday I’m chairing a session on Day 2 of the Disruption and Innovation Summit 2020. Tickets are still available through the link. In it we’ll be hearing from Rowan Jackson, the Chairman and Co- Founder of Promising Outcomes.

I won’t attempt to steal any of his thunder but Rowan will propose a radical alternative to the over-reliance on surveys and satisfaction metrics.

How can we reduce satisfaction fatigue and avoid so many surveys competing for our attention and stockpiling in our inboxes?

How can we focus more on what customers and colleagues would value at a personal level?

How can we take a more strategic view of what matters to customers and colleagues — and concentrate on that rather than retrospective box ticking to satisfy Boards and Regulators?

Knowing our customers is about a deep understanding of the day to day problems they face and the opportunities they haven’t even begun to realise.

It takes more than a survey to achieve that.

Photo by Celpax on Unsplash



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Paul Taylor

Paul Taylor


Innovation Coach and Co-Founder of @BromfordLab. Follow for social innovation and customer experience.