Many organisations conduct customer satisfaction studies to measure the extent to which the products and services it provides addresses consumer needs. This traditional and time honoured approach has many strengths and remains a key avenue to gain customer insights. It does however ask customers to aggregate their experiences across a given time period (say the last 12 months). When providing such ratings, customers implicitly weigh up all positive and negative experiences when providing a response. Consequently, customer satisfaction approaches will not necessarily provide insight against individual service experience. To do this, a service evaluation methodology is required.
Service evaluation studies may have a similar line of questioning to customer satisfaction however the scope is limited to the most recent experience. Surveys are typically conducted as close as possible to the interaction (no longer than one week ideally), with period of interviewing extended until a robust sample is collected. By limiting the scope to the most recent experience, and conducting the survey within a timeframe that the service can be reliably recalled, service evaluation studies can drill down to individual aspects of the service delivery that either exceed expectations or require improvement.
Clients that have implemented this methodology, either to replace or supplement their customer satisfaction research, have received insights that have led to: