Satisfaction is conceptually defined as ‘the fulfillment or realization of a need, desire or taste’, which, in marketing research terms, could be posed as a question in terms of whether or not it has been fulfilled, to a greater or lesser degree. , the need, desire, or taste that gave rise to a particular purchase.

Also, an interviewee could be asked directly whether or not they are satisfied with that purchase. That is, you can use the term itself in the question, or some more colloquial and frequent synonym. Satisfaction has as synonyms joy, pleasure, taste, complacency, joy, delight, pleasure, well-being, or content, among many others. And as antonyms displeasure, disgust, discontent or sadness, and of course, dissatisfaction. The colloquial use of the expression ‘to be, or to feel satisfied’ is extremely unlikely among Spanish-speaking customers and consumers, so its use in a questionnaire must be questioned.

It is worth asking yourself when was the last time that you or someone you know declared to be, to have been, or to feel ‘satisfied’ after seeing a movie, going to the hairdresser’s, taking a plane trip, or after a visit to customer service offices. to the customer of your cell phone provider, internet connection, cable TV, etc.

Local expressions vary and it is clear that there is much work to be done in the wording of questions for a satisfaction survey questionnaire. ‘To be, or feel happy’ seems to be a much more common expression.

Satisfaction can be measured at different stages of the purchase process, from the expectations that are previously established, to the purchase situation and the use of products and services. It could be argued that the measurement includes a comparison between what the customer expected to get, versus what he got through the exchange relationship.

In addition, it would be necessary to consider some effects after the transaction and even more, after the use, consumption, or enjoyment of the product or service. Perhaps this would lead to a questionnaire that is too long, which is why it is common to find measurement instruments focused on an evaluation of results, rather than expectations.

You can measure the satisfaction itself, or the elements that led to it being given. In other words, a direct measurement can be made of what we call ‘satisfaction’, which is the result of a complex chain of events and relationships that intertwine the relationship between client and supplier. Or a measurement can be made of every one of those dimensions, factors, attributes, elements of execution, and characteristics of the product or service that as a whole give rise to a satisfied customer.

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In the first case, customers would simply be asked ‘how satisfied’ are they (how happy)? In the second, they would be asked to evaluate the perceived quality of each of the elements of the customer-supplier relationship.

In this second case, you can still ask a direct (general) question about customer satisfaction. And it could be done before and after the evaluation of each of the individual elements. Thus, the first question would be considered a spontaneous assessment of customer satisfaction, while the second a reasoned assessment.

It is assumed that the process of evaluating each element of the commercial relationship separately leads to a correction in the appreciation that the client originally made about his satisfaction. This correction can be both to overvalue or to undervalue the satisfaction originally declared.

Satisfaction can be measured as a phenomenon in absolute or gradual terms. Consideration must be made separately for the direct measurement of satisfaction as a general phenomenon and for the evaluation of the elements that give rise to it separately.

In the first case, there is general agreement that satisfaction is a phenomenon that occurs gradually, so in reality, the problem lies in deciding on the number of points on the scale, the inclusion or not of a point intermediate; the balance between positive points towards one end and negative points towards the opposite end and the phrasing of the scale points. Usually, the scales are 4, 5, 7, or 10 points, with descriptions of the type ‘Very satisfied’ or ‘Not at all satisfied’, or equating the level of satisfaction to a rating scale of 10 points.

On the other hand, in the case of the elements of the commercial relationship, it is worth considering a categorical measurement of the YES/NO type. For example, ask Was your car delivered on time? As opposed to asking how satisfied you are with the delivery time of your car.

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The decision of the scale has to do both with the style of writing, the fluency, and the handling of the questionnaire, as well as with the statistical analysis that is intended to be carried out with the answers given by the clients. Both considerations are very relevant to decide on the scale of the questions.

The importance of satisfaction items can be measured directly, or they can be derived statistically.

In the first case, the interviewees are asked how important each of the elements that affect their satisfaction. This can make the questionnaire very long, since you have to ask for the importance of each attribute and then, in a second round, its evaluation. Also, it typically results in an overestimation of the importance of attributes.

In the second case, based on the general satisfaction evaluation declared by the interviewee, a statistical analysis is carried out in which this ‘dependent variable’ is considered to be a function of the elements that give rise to it. The most widely used functional statistical technique is multiple regression, in different versions, although discriminant analysis or tree analysis can also be used.

The dependent variable can be spontaneous or reasoned satisfaction, as well as questions about repurchase intention, recommendations to third parties, etc. which are also based on the evaluation of the elements of customer satisfaction.

The either statistical method provides sufficient statistical validity and reliability to avoid having to ask respondents for a statement of the importance of each attribute. The only reason to request it separately would be the possibility of carrying out a market segmentation exercise in such a way that clients are grouped according to which attributes they consider more or less important. A customer satisfaction study must include the measurement of global satisfaction, in a spontaneous and reasoned way; a satisfaction rating for each performance attribute; questions about repurchase intention and recommendations to third parties, and a section of open questions about recommendations,

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Additional discussion topics have to do with the definition of the sample (who to interview), the moment of measurement (near or far from the moment of truth), the frequency of measurement, the means of application of the interview, anonymity of the interview, etc. Also, with the characteristics and depth of the information analysis, its presentation to the General Management and, especially, the use that is going to be made of it.

Customer satisfaction is an evaluation response that they give about the degree to which a product or service meets their expectations, needs, and desires. Sensitizing about it only makes sense to the extent that the provider is willing to change its way of establishing a relationship with that customer.