In past blogs, I’ve talked about the importance of garnering testimonials from your customers.  Testimonials work for you by providing both feedback from current customers for continual process improvement and social proof for prospective customers. This creates a strategy for securing the customers you already have by constantly improving the outstanding customer-centric service for your clients and converting potential customers from your competition through glowing reviews.

But no matter how glowing your testimonials are, they can’t give you a full picture of what your customers think. Moreover, customers and prospects may worry that the testimonials were hand-picked or don’t represent typical results.

The stark reality is that many of your competitors won’t have the information to answer those questions or overcome those objections.  Statistical satisfaction data provide the most powerful form of feedback to overcome that hurdle. And, when you combine the data with testimonials, you gain the ability to appeal to prospects’ logic and to their emotions.

Satisfaction Data: General and Specific

statistical satisfaction dataGeneral satisfaction data come from measures that tap the global, or overall satisfaction with your product, service, or business. These measures typically provide useful information for your marketing, because they’re easily interpreted and offer a summary indicator.

Specific satisfaction data augment the general or overall data in two ways. First, if overall satisfaction is high, they can illuminate areas that can still be enhanced. This proves key to continuous process improvement.

Second, if overall satisfaction proves to be low, these measures provide vital information to identify critical areas of improvement — including customer service — on which you can take action to increase overall satisfaction before it affects your bottom line. This proves key to customer retention and offers the secret to being truly customer-centric.

How the Data Work for You

By combining general and specific satisfaction measures, then, the Feedback Generator illuminates areas where improvement is needed and in which customer service problems are likely to arise. That is where the advantage of this system lies, as compared to such summary indicators as a Net Promoter Score.

When we work with distributors, manufacturers, and rep agents, we find that even those who score highly on overall satisfaction measures still enjoy key opportunities for improvement. If you can achieve gains in those areas, you can reduce customer problems and complaints. Often, those areas of improvement also represent opportunities to increase revenue.

For example, we may discover that customers have trouble finding products for which they’re looking; clearly, solving that problem presents an opportunity to increase spend of existing customers. In other cases, we find that salespeople are not suggesting additional products or services that might be useful for a given customer. Uncovering that pattern reveals another pathway to greater profit.


These general and specific satisfaction measures aren’t just useful internally, they also fuel your marketing by providing even more ammunition to increase conversions, sales, and revenue. And here’s a tip to make them even more powerful: by targeting your specific satisfaction questions at areas in which customers’ objections typically arise, you’ll gain a powerful weapon for overcoming those objections. The result is that overall conversion and retention will increase and profit will reflect that growth.


Dr. Jeanne Hurlbert, President of Hurlbert Consulting, brings to her role as STAFDA’s endorsed customer service consultancy expertise in sociology and survey research. After spending more than 25 years in academia, she now uses her extensive behavioral science expertise to help companies like yours distinguish yourselves through customer service. What sets her approach to customer service apart is that she begins by helping companies meld research and marketing to find out exactly (a) what their customers want and (b) how well they’re succeeding in giving customers what they want. Jeanne provides STAFDA members with 30 minutes of complimentary consulting per year; please identify yourself as a STAFDA member when you contact her. You can schedule a consult with her by going to or you can call her at 888-590-9677. And, if you’d like to complete her complimentary assessment, just go to