How Honeywell and Toyota Measure Client Satisfaction

Published: 02nd March 2011
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Measuring your client's satisfaction is an important part of staying ahead of your rivals. If a company just views the monetory side of business (sales orders placed), it may not notice until too late that it has been overtaken by the competition. The following two illustrations, taken from sales training case studies, illustrate how an effective system can be established to measure actual client satisfaction:

Surveys carried out by company "A" of its clients and employees showed up clear deficiencies. The trouble was that no-one in the company was in overall charge of all matters relating to clients. Each employee dealt with certain areas, such as logging the order, service, the warehouse, dispatch and invoicing, but no one was in overall charge of all the customer-related matters.

If, for example, a customer wanted to know how far advanced their order was, they would be passed from pillar to post when they phoned the company. This would often lead to delays in order processing, which, in turn, would annoy the customers.

Company "A" created a new 'customer satisfaction' department with its own director. This department is directly responsible to the clients for all steps involved in processing their orders, from advice to logging the orders, fixing delivery times to deliveries, invoicing and credit matters.

To ensure that the customer satisfaction department is kept abreast of current trends and developments, the whole of the sales department and the dealers working with the department were put on-line.

Client satisfaction in company "A" is assessed on the basis of clearly defined criteria:

Average length of time it takes to process an order Average length of time it takes to react to a client's request for information or objection/complaint The precision of information supplied to clients Percentage of deliveries which include the wrong parts Sticking to the agreed delivery time Percentage of misdirected deliveries

In a second example, Company "B" has a customer satisfaction based on three principles: communication, cooperation and advice. The customer satisfaction department is under the direct control of the executive board and constantly checks customer satisfaction and informs the board of the results.

The organisation has a customer assistance centre with 50 highly qualified tele-advisers who answer 1,500 client calls a day on a service extension. By establishing this centre, company "B" has managed to reduce the average amount of time it takes to handle a client complaint from 27 to 6 days.

Client satisfaction in company "B" is tested with two different instruments:

The new sales and delivery survey checks satisfaction with delivery to new customers In the service survey every client is asked the following questions within 20 days of using the service offered by the companies network of repair centres.

Did you receive the best advice? Were the repairs carried out within the agreed time? Were you satisfied with the service you received from the repair centre? Would you recommend the repair centre to anyone else?

Every repair centre documents the parts that were needed for the repair work, the date of the repair and the name of the fitter. The repaired items are registered according to serial numbers. This way, company management knows exactly which problems are arising in which centres, which manufacturing techniques are causing an above-average number of problems and which service engineers are not sufficiently qualified.

All questionnaires are sent by the customer satisfaction department to clients. Data about product shortcomings is immediately passed on to the repair centres concerned and those who have a too high complaint rate are visited and sales training provided by service specialists.

The customer satisfaction department publishes a 'problem workshop list' at regular intervals. This lists the worst 100 repair centre with the highest complaint rate. If a repair centre who appears on the list does not correct the situation, the customer satisfaction department is entitled to terminate contract with that particular repair centre. On the other hand, particularly good repair centres, are publicly commended and the top repair centres receive the 'President's award'.

Some businesses believe that provided their products are selling well, their clients are satisfied. This attitude can be a dangerous one. Ensuring your people are trained to deliver high levels of service, so your clients are satisfied (and measuring this accurately) is just as important as focusing on increasing sales skills with sales training.


Richard Stone a Director for Spearhead Training Ltd that runs management and sales training programmes aimed at improving business performance.

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