23 March 2010

Reliability vs Customer Satisfaction Surveys

You may not have noticed the difference between reliability and customer satisfaction surveys. I didn't until I gave some thought to the subject. One counts faults on a car and the other rates how happy the buyer is with their car.

Reliability Surveys: We all want a car that is flawless but they are complex machines to build and so things go wrong. Therefore, such a survey must be important, right? In my opinion wrong. Firstly, people will overlook car problems if the dealer is polite, friendly and efficient when handling any problem. Fact: A customer is more likely to buy a certain brand of car again if the dealer fixes problems with good service, than they would with a brand that never breaks down.
Also, these surveys do not differentiate between types of faults. A sticking cup holder is a nuisance but a failed transmission may set off alarm bells, especially if it is a common problem. Two minor flaws over a warranty period wouldn't worry me but it counts as two faults. One major breakdown such as a transmission failure would be counted as only one fault. Yet the latter fault is so much worse. So for the two reasons I've just mentioned, I have decided to ignore reliability surveys.

Customer Satisfaction Surveys: These let you know how customers feel about the vehicle they own. It would cover not only reliability but the whole ownership experience. If owning a particular car leaves the customer with a good disposition toward it, that means a lot. A positive or negative rating for this survey would affect my opinion.

Reliability surveys can be misleading due to their narrow focus on faults and how they just count them. The customer satisfaction survey tells us if buyers liked the car and therefore whether they will be inclined to buy again. This is the one that matters to me.

The bottom line: Forget the first type of survey and scrutinize the latter.

1 comment:

  1. Great observations RayCee. My customer satisfaction comes from a large number of factors. Whereas my expectations of reliabililty come solely from the car.

    Customer Satisfaction Guy