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Why have customer satisfaction survey "top box" definitions changed so much?

A few years ago, when analyzing customer satisfaction survey results, top box meant that when you asked your customer a question and they responded with a rating, they gave you the highest possible rating.  For example, if you used a scale of 1 to 5 in your customer satisfaction survey, it meant that to be top box you had to receive a rating of ‘5’.


Customer Success SurveysHowever, as time went on, those analyzing the
customer satisfaction survey results slowly let the definitionsof top box loosen and the necessity of highest possible survey ratings began to erode.  This led to analysts accepting customer satisfaction survey results of 4’s and 5’s to be a “top box” score.

And this trend has continued, I recently read an article that described top box as a rating of 3, 4 or 5.  Even when we know that customers are more dissatisfied than ever, we still have companies stating that 94% of their customers are satisfied.  This percentage is so watered down that now even a middle of the line rating is considered a satisfied customer.

Corporations think that they have beaten the system by loosening up their definition of a very satisfied top box customer.  In reality all they have done is mask a problem rather than solve one.

Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if a few years down the road they forget that they’ve watered down their top box.  When these companies are trying to figure out why their “satisfied customers” are leaving they’ll finally realize too late that a 3 and 4 rating really isn’t satisfied.

SERVICE 800 can start a customer satisfaction measurement program for you in days, so you can start simply and evolve your measurements over time. Why wait? Can you afford not to know? Start improving customer service now.

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