This article discusses the development of an internal scoring index that can be used by survey companies administering customer satisfaction surveys, customer loyalty surveys, or surveys that measure both satisfaction and loyalty.
An internal scoring index can be distinguished from external benchmarking, where company results from a customer survey would be compared to results from other companies.
Development of an internal scoring index offers several important advantages over external benchmarking.
First, the index can be customized to the specific needs of the company. This is accomplished by developing a questionnaire covering topics most important to the company and tailored to the specific products and/or services offered by that company. In contrast, when relying on external benchmarking, the questions used must be identical (or almost identical) to the questions underlying those benchmarks.
Typically, a customer satisfaction survey will involve asking customers to rate their satisfaction on many different “attributes” or aspects of the customer experience, in addition to rating their “overall satisfaction.”
Developing the list of “attributes” to include in a questionnaire is a key important part of the services provided by survey companies. The list needs to cover the “key” issues that can potentially be related to overall satisfaction and customer loyalty. An internal scoring index is then based on an optimized combination of the ratings on the attributes.
A second advantage of using a customized internal scoring index is that it provides a single measure that is both more concise and more sensitive for tracking progress over time. Many companies conduct multiple “waves” of customer satisfaction surveys to track progress over time. For example, a company might initiate a customer survey program, build a scoring index from the first wave of results, and then conduct a second survey “wave” six months later.
Of course, the results from each question in the survey can be compared between waves. But, a single index can combine the results from many different attributes to provide a single measure for comparison. Importantly, a properly constructed index will be more sensitive to changes over time, as it is based on multiple attributes, combined in an optimized manner.
A third advantage relates to surveys that involve measures of customer loyalty in addition to overall satisfaction. An index can be constructed that is strongly correlated with both overall satisfaction and attitudinal loyalty. This ensures that changes in the index over time will be predictive of changes in customer loyalty, as well as overall satisfaction.
As the above discussion suggests, proper construction of an internal scoring index is very important. This process is generally far more complex than simply averaging the ratings on the various attributes included in customer satisfaction and customer loyalty surveys. Rather, a professional statistician – who is also typically involved in the questionnaire design process – analyzes the results to evaluate which attributes are most strongly related to overall satisfaction and loyalty. The index then assigns more “weight” or influence to attributes that are most strongly related to overall satisfaction and loyalty.
In conclusion, the development of an internal scoring index can provide an important tool for tracking progress on customer satisfaction and loyalty over time. The creation of a customized survey index allows companies to take measurements that are relevant to their own processes, products, and/or services. Also, with the help of a professional statistician, the index can be optimized in terms of being predictive of attitudinal loyalty, as well as overall satisfaction.
About the Author
Marc Tillman is a member of the professional services staff at Amplitude Research, Inc., headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida. Amplitude is one of the top survey companies specializing in client and customer satisfaction surveys and customer loyalty surveys.