MDB Insight Blog


Ask Me Now – Measuring Service Satisfaction

#WednesdayswithMDBInsight – this week Chris Bandak, EVP Market Research & Analytics, talks about the evolution of measuring service satisfaction (and a very cool coffee recipe).

The information desk in public buildings is typically a busy spot, a central point of interaction between staff and the public. Questions are answered, directions provided, and a wide array of information is distributed. Understanding the success or failure of these interactions is critical in the development of a long-term strategy to continuously improve. 

Measuring satisfaction, at the interaction level, traditionally involved large amounts of data captured for a small cross-section of customers. A telephone interview, for example, would collect responses from a selected sample. These interviews were often 15-minutes in length, making it a challenge to engage large numbers of participants without significant costs. The timeliness of this method was another challenge, often delivering data weeks or months after the transaction took place. Measuring the satisfaction of seasonal transactions such as property tax payments, in particular, would be impacted by this delay. In general, the longer the elapsed time from transaction to completed data analysis the less helpful the measure would be.

Over time, it became apparent that capturing experiences after they took place also diminished the accuracy of results. Trying to recall how helpful that receptionist was, never mind trying to provide specific details of the transaction, is difficult. The time between transaction and data collection was too often a problem contributing to poor or skewed results.  Quick corrections in strategy and tactics to address service delivery could not be implemented until months after the fact and excellent or poor service by staff could not be addressed in an appropriate timeframe.  

In addition, small sample sizes captured after the fact do not provide any insight into the peaks and troughs in service delivery in real-time. If satisfaction is generally high during early morning and late afternoon hours but drops substantially during a mid-day “rush” period, it’s important to see this reflected in results. Without this vital information, potential responses and adjustments that could improve satisfaction remain elusive.

With growing support for web surveys the first step forward towards real-time measurement became the ability for customers to receive a card or other type of medium with a URL to an online survey that would hopefully capture data within days of the transaction.  This was definitely an improvement in terms of transaction-to-measurement time delay however response rates were low and in many cases the service provider was responsible for handing out the cards (you can imagine the implementation issues involved in that).

Fast forward to today and the new trend in measuring transactional data is to obtain immediate feedback, with the highest possible response rates. This means making participation inviting and easy as well as non-intrusive. Essentially, participation should be short and sweet.

unnamed-9Point-of-transaction feedback opportunities are a good example to illustrate the ease and simplicity that results in immediate data with maximum response rates. This is accomplished by using 3rd party terminals like the ones visible today in many airports where busy travelers would be unlikely to take more than a brief few seconds to provide feedback about a transaction. By facilitating instant feedback with the push of a button, these terminals are equally viable solutions for municipal offices, libraries, recreation centres and any other locations where point-of-transaction feedback is valuable.

In the interest of full disclosure, I should point out that MDB Insight provides these terminals as part of our Service Satisfaction IQ™ platform. What’s important, however, is the reason behind our decision to bring this technology to our clients. We are always looking for new and innovative solutions that address the challenges our clients are facing, and point-of-transaction feedback is one of those solutions. The HappyOrNot™ technology we chose offers the latest features backed by an industry leader in customer experience. And the results speak for themselves – we’re able to provide immediate analytics customized to address the measures of greatest interest and importance. More participants, instant data, and monitoring capabilities that translate into meaningful adjustments that improve satisfaction.

unnamedTo learn more about Chris and the other members of our team, go to

Our Wednesdays with MDB Insight posts (#WednesdayswithMDBInsight) feature the thinkers and doers on our team sharing ideas and talking about what’s important to us as professionals. We have very diverse backgrounds and a range of interests to share with you. We hope you’re enjoying these posts and that you will join the conversation with us and let us know what’s on your mind mid-week.

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