Target both objective and subjective customer satisfaction drivers

Behavioral Interventions are usually aimed at improving one or more of 3 key metrics:

  • direct revenue generation
  • customer satisfaction
  • operational efficiency

Leaving the first metric aside, let’s focus on customer satisfaction. The impact of a BI can be both direct and indirect.

An example of an indirect impact would be to improve operational efficiency so you deliver higher quality to your customer while cutting your costs. Everybody wins and the increased customer satisfaction is the indirect result of your gain in operational efficiency. A good example of this phenomenon is what is usually observed when checklists are introduced in critical processes such as in healthcare. Operational efficiency is greatly increased while patient outcomes are improving as well.

But to really understand the impact your intervention will have on the perceived customer satisfaction of your clients, it’s critical to distinguish objective and subjective customer satisfaction.

You can achieve operational efficiency improving objective customer satisfaction and yet observe decreased satisfaction as reported by your clients. What’s happening in those cases? More often then not, it’s because the drivers of subjective customer satisfaction have been impacted and it is now much lower, more than negating the positive impact you had on the objective drivers of customer satisfaction.

An excellent example of this phenomenon is when a Houston airport wanted to address customer complaints about bag waiting times. They added baggage handlers and routed bags more efficiently and delivered the bags much quicker. The complaints persisted. Upon investigation, they discovered that they served passengers a bit too efficiently. They were arriving at the gate closest to luggage belts, minimizing walk time to about 1 min and then had to wait 7 mins for the bags being delivered. The airport worked hard to minimize bag delivery time to 8 mins but satisfaction was still low. By now you probably guessed that the culprit was the wait time in itself. So they gated planes away from the luggage belts, and made people walk 7 mins and then just wait 1 min on average to get their bags when they arrived at the luggage belts. Same total time, more walking, but customer satisfaction greatly increased.

If the airport had tried to understand the subjective drivers of customer satisfaction beforehand, they could have driven it higher much quicker. Don’t ever underestimate those subjective aspects that can negate the results achieved on the objective drivers.

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