Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.
– Albert Einstein
I work with many companies of many sizes through my consulting business. When HostGator offered me the opportunity to conduct a customer satisfaction survey for them, I jumped at the chance. Even though customer satisfaction as a topic profoundly interests me, I have generally held the view that numbers themselves are painfully boring. I’ve never liked math and I have always felt that numbers are things that are best left to the experts who actually like numbers.
Over the last two weeks, though, I’ve been immersing myself in numbers – especially numbers relating to customer satisfaction. HostGator has sent out nearly ten thousand surveys to random customers and people who have completed live chats. The result? A lot of data (and a lot of numbers) on what HostGator’s customers think of the company and how its doing.
Fortunately, the results we gathered from all that data were neither shocking nor surprising. While there were no astonishing revelations, there was data that confirmed what HostGator thought based on gut feeling and there was data that showed everyone some interesting trends and correlations.
- That data showed that just about 90% of HostGator customers gave a positive response when asked how likely they were to recommend HostGator to a friend or colleague. The average “would you recommend” rating was 8.36.
- A similar percentage of HostGator customers felt the company’s employees were able to resolve their problems. The average “agent performance” answer was 8.55.
- Roughly 83% of the customers surveyed through post-chat surveys responded saying that HostGator resolved their issues in a timely manner.
- About 91% of HostGator’s customers rated the customer service ability of HostGator’s employees positively.
- In every survey conducted with a 0 to 10 scale, 10 was the most popular choice.
Even though the ratings HostGator received were pretty good by essentially any standard, HostGator wants 90% or more of ratings at an exemplary, not a “pretty good” level. To HostGator’s management team and to me, exemplary means means that just about 100% of a company’s ratings would be 9’s and 10’s. Averages would then be in the mid 9’s instead of the mid 8’s.
The fact that HostGator was willing to conduct the surveys and then share the results shows a lot about the company.
In the business world, there is no shortage of companies that approach customer satisfaction with complete confidence that the results will be overwhelmingly positive. As the results come in, the executives at these companies quickly learn that ignorance is not bliss and does not provide for adequate protection against shocks to the ego.
These executives see painfully disappointing results and even more disappointing feedback from customers, all of which indicate that the real world is very different from what they had assumed.
HostGator has done just the opposite. Not only have they asked me to share the results of their surveys, but they have already started making changes and working on improvements. HostGator’s management team is not conducting these surveys just to see where they are and leave it at that – they are conducting these surveys to gather the information necessary to make changes and to improve