Satisfaction is a binary state

The biggest lie perpetrated by modern industry is that customer satisfaction is quantifiable on a scale.

How many surveys have you taken where the options range from “Completely Dissatisfied” to “Completely Satisfied”?

Let us consult the Oxford:

satisfaction |ˌsatisˈfakSHən|
fulfillment of one’s wishes, expectations, or needs

Fulfillment. Not half-bakery, not partial implementation, not attempted fulfillment. Fulfillment, full stop.

Options on a satisfaction scale are expressing nothing useful. The customer’s either satisfied or she’s not. Calling it “partial satisfaction” is just a way for a company with terrible customer service to justify it while patting themselves on the back. Ah yes, the board can say, our customer satisfaction metrics are up! 70% of surveyed customers were at least partially satisfied! Which, back in the real world, means probably 60+% of your customers think your customer service is shit. If they were satisfied, they would have responded with “fully satisfied.”

Think back to the last time you answered a survey yourself with “Mostly Satisfied” or “Somewhat Satisfied.”

Did you actually mean “my issue is resolved and I am a happy customer”? Or did you mean “well, that didn’t really solve anything, but I guess it’s the best I’m getting. Screw you, Dell/Comcast/Verizon!”?

If you really want to know how you’re doing, cut the charade and quit wasting your customers’ time: Make satisfaction a binary option.

Find out if they’re really happy.
Find out if their problem is really solved.
Find out if they’d really recommend you to a friend.

Don’t give yourself an out. Don’t coddle yourself. Ask. Yes, or no?