Five levels of customer satisfaction

A few days ago Sathya, an onsite offshore coordinator aka account manager working with my company, stopped by to discuss what he and his company could do to earn my trust and to make me happy. I wish more people in my life would ask the same questions, in particular women. And I tell you, in many cases the answers would be exceptionally simple. Well, not when it comes to making me happy as a CTO managing multimillion dollar technology budget. In this case earning my trust and keeping me happy is a very tall order. I am sure that many of you are dealing with the same question (either asking or answering it), so I think there is a value in sharing what I told Sathya…

There are at least 5 levels / horizons of customer satisfaction that the vendor has to achieve. There is a natural order to these horizons and there is no reason even to approach fifth level till you are done with the first one. And of course reaching just one horizon doesn’t give you much. You need to maintain all five in perfect state to achieve that illusive customer sat…

The first horizon is the company / corporation itself. The company engaged you as the vendor in order to achieve certain objectives. The company has specific metrics it wants you to comply with – financial, quality, productivity, etc. Before your go any further you need to meet the expectations established by these metrics. In case the company did not establish the metrics you should do it yourself and bring them to the company. Show us, the corporation, that you are contributing to the overall success of the company, helping us with the bottom line, delivering to the benchmarks of quality that are same or better than internal personnel, meeting deadlines and staying under budget. Even though that appears a difficult horizon to reach, it is actually the simplest one. Catering to the organization is a high level task, it allows you to be generally correct, meet expectations in most cases, etc. you do not have to be always perfect. Some failures and individual mishaps do not appear on executive radars and could be averaged out by successful projects and other money saving initiates. Continue reading