May 222012

Sometime back, I visited Tata’s Service Station to get my car serviced. Feedback form was mandatory before service station would release the car. The form suggested to give rating from 1 to 10 on various parameters of the service. I gave score from 6 to 10 on various service parameters such as timeliness, facilities of the station, behavior of employees, workmanship etc. Service Advisor advised me that Tata expects a score of more than 8. Surprised? Yes, more than 8 out of 10 i.e. 9 or 10 only.

I gave scores the way Advisor wanted because other than timeliness service was good. I re-read the meanings of scores for each of 1 to 10. The ratings meant the following:

  • 1 to 6: Bad (Showed red embarassed smiley against this score)
  • 7: Average (Showed red embarassed smiley against this score)
  • 8: Industry Benchmark (Showed unhappy orange smiley against this score)
  • 9: Good (Showed a smiling smiley against this score)
  • 10: Exceptional (Showed green ecstatic smiley against this score)

Service Station expected customers to give 9 or 10 score on each of the service parameters. At that time I realized, the Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) score targets that we (I work for a IT firm) have for our customers is 85% or more. The CSI for each parameter in car service station and IT company matched ditto.


I wondered, what is the purpose of these surveys? If companies gauge score on the range 9 to 10 out of 10 and then target their area of improvement on parameters that are getting scores of 9 or 10 then there is really nothing to improve; how does 9 differ from 10?

Taking this idea further, I believe companies have no data to improve and differentiate from competition. The current industry benchmark of 8 will become common occurrence and thus, today’s extra ordinary will become just average (everyone company will have the same score).


Companies will need to enhance these surveys so that they can hear customer’s voice. There can be two solutions to these 9 & 10 Score Surveys:

  1. Companies expand their scales as follows:
    1. Retain score 1 to 8 for ratings as it is i.e. 1-6 means Bad, 7 means Average and 8 means Industry Average.
    2. Expand the range 9-10 for Good score to 9-15. This additional scale will let customers rate the parameters and let companies choose the parameter that needs improvement.
  2. Mark each service parameter by two scales:
    1. Scale 1: Let customers choose a service by Bad, Average or Good. Bad and Average parameters need major improvement.
    2. Scale 2: For parameters that are marked Good, let customers rate those parameters on Scale 1 of 1 to 5. If companies are getting only Good rating then companies can choose the parameters among Good where they may outsmart the competition.

How does your organization gets your customer fill Service Surveys or calculates Customer Satisfaction Index? Is your scale sensitive enough to provide insightful information about areas to improve? Are you always insisting on getting CSI above 85% on all the parameters? Share your thoughts.

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