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Satisfaction Research for a non-profit…Why?

Information Is Power.

Read any business magazine or newspaper and you will see the words “Customer Satisfaction.” However, customer satisfaction is more than a buzzword or catch phrase. It plays a vital role in business today, whether your  company is a large and publicly traded product-based company or a small non-profit service-based organization.  In a non-profit organization, both the people who receive services and your donors can be considered your clients.

Why Measure?

Today’s leaders use actionable information to initiate and shape change for their organizations. Once change is made, leaders need to measure progress toward achieving their vision and goals through valid reliable measurement. There are many tangible reasons to invest in satisfaction measurements.

Proactive Indicators:

Resource Allocation: In these times of tight budgets, you can’t expect to change everything at once. By targeting those areas clients feel are most important, you can get the biggest bang for your buck.  In addition, utilizing satisfaction data can assist in allocating limited funds towards necessary training.

Measure Perceptions: What is true and what clients and donors believe is true may be two different things. For example, just because we know that our service calls are answered faster than the competition’s, doesn’t mean that our clients believe that they are. To change perceptions you must address what is believed to be true, not necessarily the empirical truth.

Build Relationships: A dedicated program can help a company build a stronger relationship with current clients and key stakeholders.

Service Re-Engineering: Let your clients tell you what changes should be made to improve a product or service. Effective research can provide actionable information on what changes will most directly impact customer satisfaction

Measure Success of Changes: After changes have been made, satisfaction research can let you know if those changes were successful.

Communicate to Clients/Donors: A regular satisfaction survey will send the message to your clients and/or donors that your company has: a focus on customer satisfaction, a willingness to let customers set standards, and an overall commitment to quality and continuous improvement.

Defection Opportunity: All organizations lose some clients. The key is to manage defections and learn from them. By conducting follow up research, an organization can learn what is the root cause for that client left and act on that information, if necessary.

In addition to being a measurement tool, customer satisfaction research is an important two-way communication tool. It can communicate to customers:

  • A focus on client satisfaction
  • A willingness to let the client set standards
  • An overall commitment to quality and continuous improvement
  • In addition to ratings and suggestions for improvement, clients can communicate many other messages when responding to satisfaction surveys:
  • Information about how they use services
  • A request to be contacted regarding a problem, a suggestion, or new product information
  • Updated information about changes of addresses, telephone and facsimile numbers, etc.

If an organization communicates its message clearly and listens to customer input, a wealth of knowledge can be accumulated regarding differences between market segments, the effectiveness of the organization’s improvement efforts, and other variables which impact growth.

Posted in Business Development, Client Satisfaction.

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