We’ve Improved! Why Isn’t the Customer Satisfied?


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I’m working with a client’s contact center this week and the data from our Customer Satisfaction and Quality Assessment (QA) reveal an interesting story. The Customer Service team has been working on improving their service delivery, and the behavioral data from our on-going QA work reveal clear improvement in specific areas of the call. The improvement in call quality, however, has not translated into corresponding improvement in Customer Satisfaction.

So, in my presentations this week, I dug into the data with the Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) and Call Center management team. Because our Customer Satisfaction surveys have helped identify key drivers of the client’s customer satisfaction, specifically when the customers call the contact center, we could compare the improved CSR service behaviors to the key drivers of customer satisfaction.

The bottom line is that the improvements were great and will have a  positive impact  operationally, but the improvements weren’t necessarily in areas that their customers would immediately notice or reward. Some of the key service soft skills that will move the needle on customer satisfaction have been stagnant. If the contact center wants customers to reward them with increased satisfaction, they’ll have to keep doing a great job in their improved hard skills, but add to it the key soft skills for which their customers will reward them.

This week’s presentations have reminded me, once again, that focusing on industry standards, industry benchmarks, and best practices will only improve your customer’s satisfaction if those standards, benchmarks, and best practices are what your customers care about. Until you find out what matters to your customers and link them to your QA program, you might just be moving the needle on all the wrong things.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Tom Vander Well
Vice-President of c wenger group. In 29, Tom was named as one of the top 1 people in the call center industry by an industry magazine. He works with our clients as a senior SQA data analyst, training development leader and Quality Assessment specialist. Tom holds a B.A. degree in speech/communication from Judson University and has been with c wenger group since 1994.


  1. As long as 15 years ago I was involved in an international, European Commission funded project during which we proved that customer satisfaction surveys are worthless without an assessment of what customers really consider to be of value to them.
    The research included examples such as the one above to show that e.g. multimillion dollar investments in new call center hard- and software have zero impact on scores -and therefore a negative impact on the bottom line- if customers don’t consider the improvements relevant to their overall experience or evaluation.
    Put like this, it sounds stupidly simple.
    Yet virtually nobody includes questions like “How much value do you assign to this point?” in their surveys.
    Beats me why. As well as how everybody seems to get away with it….

  2. Thanks for your comment, Guido. I thik the the motivation for the blindness is that its cheaper, easier and more marketable.

    I ran into a middle manager from a company we’d proposed a focused Customer Sat survey specifically for their customers that would identify key drivers of their customers’ satisfaction and then would translate into a targeted QA process. He told me that he loved our proposal, but his boss opted to go with a firm that would would tell them how they ranked against other call centers in their industry.

    “How did that work for you?” I asked.

    He laughed.

    “Our customers aren’t any more satisfied. We still have no link between our QA and customer satisfaction, BUT my boss has a really nice plaque on his wall saying we’re ranked #5 in our industry.”



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