Do You Measure Customer Service By Satisfaction or by Complaints?


When it comes to business, measuring is an integral part of success. While measuring sales, marketing even web visitors is common, many businesses fail to recognize the need to measure customers service… and with good reason.

Measuring customer service is hard and quite honestly, most businesses are not created with customer service as part of their business DNA.

Customer service as part of a company’s DNA is the absolute best description of what it takes to truly deliver on the customer service front… and it’s so not mine. That phrase totally belongs to Ben Yaskovitz. It’s in Tip #4 of his latest blog post Using Great Customer Service as a Differentiator.

What an elegant, descriptive way to describe the perfect delivery of exceptional customer service.

Ben goes on to tell of his own customer service testimonials from his start up Standout Jobs.

Exceptional customer service has earned him not only testimonials but also new sign ups for the service. Obviously customer service is part of the Standout Jobs DNA.

This really contrasts with my own experience with another start up. However, a more recent and horrible tale is tole by Marketing Pilgrim Andy Beal who writes a tale of customer service gone bad with his blog post Office Depot Joins the Reputation Deadpool.

In a nutshell, Office Depot put out some ATTRACTIVE bait to capture a new customer by offering a great limited time offer of a special low-low price on a Toshiba Laptop. That’s the way it works. A a business, you entice a customer to try your product or service with an offer that is too good to resist. Office Depot even sweetened the already sweet deal by offering next day shipping. You can’t build a successful business on profit margins this thin, but it’s necessary to win new customers.

Then, as you fulfill the order, you amaze the customer. You meet or exceed their expectations with the hope of winning that customer as a steady customer for life… or at least, the next few years.

In Andy’s case, Office Depot was trying to woo him away from his “steady” office superstore, Staples. At the very least Andy expects flowers, a nice dinner and a movie. Poetry, a moonlight gondola ride and ridiculously expensive champagne would have sealed Staple’s fate as soon to be “used to be”. Instead, Andy was stood up and then sent a bill for flowers he never saw and a dinner he never ate. Andy’s devotion to Staples has grown ten fold as a result of the experience. Meanwhile, Office Depot’s brand is being drug through the streets after being tarred and feathered.

Obviously customer service is NOT part of Office Depot’s DNA.

Kelly over at Maxiumum Customer Experience writes:

Your customers are skeptical. There are customers who want you to provide delight, and then there’s this lady. Depending on your industry, there may be thousands lined up behind her. At this point she’s not looking for delight. She’ll take a discount or some other special offer, but what I heard in her voice says it’s not what she’s looking for.

She wants to know somebody at this company cares.

BRAVO Kelly!!! That’s a hit the nail square on the head kind of observation!!!

Does anyone at your company care?

Trust me, if there isn’t anyone who cares, it’s going to show. It’s surprising how a truly sympathetic ear can take the edge off of the burning rage that builds when you feel you’ve been reduced to a number.

How do you measure customer service?

Leadership Tools offers these as ways to measure customer service quality.

  • Customer Attrition Ratio = number of customers leaving / total number of customers (for the same time period) – the higher the ratio, the less likely it is that your company is consistently delivering quality customer service.
  • Sales Growth – your reputation precedes you. If people are still buying from you, and referring others, chances are they are happy with the service and they are loyal to your organization.
  • Customer Survey Results – directly asking customers to rate the service level they receive is by far the best way to measure service quality.
  • Customer Complaints – be thankful for each complaint that comes to your attention. You can only provide a thoughtful response to customer issues once you are made aware of the issue. When customer’s complain they represent not just their issue, but perhaps an issue that is affecting others.

However, it’s all for naught if customer service isn’t part of your company’s DNA. It’s cool to care about your customers. Pass it on!


  1. Kathy,

    You’re so right. Measuring is critical, and I think easier to do with the negatives than with the positives. Not everybody who loves you will crow about it. Not everyone who hates you will, either, but a lot more of those do talk. Not only that, but what they say is as important as how many there are.

    In one well-written blog rant like Andy’s a caring company can find initiatives to last through a year of customer service improvements.

    Thanks for reading Maximum Customer Experience and for your kind shout-out!



    Kelly’s last blog post..Summer Is a Great Time to… Smile for the Birdie

  2. I really do agree with kelly on this issue. Negative comments are a much more possitive thing, it helps you improve and better your customer service experiance.

    Regards, Lamonte

    Do Follow Proxy Directorys last blog – The Best & Fastest Free Anonymous Proxy

  3. The key with keeping track of the customer service issues is to act on the complaints – if the company keeps making the same mistakes, it will get to the point where there isn’t any company left.

    In some respects the comments (both negative and positive) are a guidebook to help you create the best customer service possible for your customers – the trick is you need to be paying attention and acting on the suggestions.

    Marc Norriss last blog post..Best Customer Service Ever

  4. Great article. Your third bullet is especially critical and often overlooked by those who think it’s too difficult to write a simple customer satisfaction questionnaire.

    Getting going on a regular feedback and tracking process will bring customer based metrics into the management discussion. It takes far less effort to start measuring customer satisfaction than it does to turn around a business whose customers have begun to leave.

    .-= Andy´s last blog ..My Goal for The Customer Satisfaction Questionnaire Blog =-.

  5. Hissing Kitty says:

    It just goes to show you that people can absolutely complain about anything, especially if they feel like they have been wronged in some way. I am still amazed that companies continue to ignore consumers complaints, even when most of them are just like this and would require a very quick simple fix 🙂

  6. Gilbert K. Sarungi says:

    Very nice arguements on customers perception on services given to them.


  1. […] dragging the VP’s company’s name through the dirt because of some exceptionally poor customer service.  When bloggers get dissed- they tend to blog about it.  (Read Andy Beal’s Rant about […]