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Measuring Satisfaction

April 10, 2013

Measurements of customer satisfaction have been around for some time now. Those for supplier satisfaction are rather more recent. But in both cases, I am surprised at how little they are used to gain real insights to the quality and impact of the contracting process.

There is growing understanding that the way organizations negotiate and handle risk, the way they manage scope definition and change, their approach to performance management are among the critical elements that define the value achieved from their relationship. Yet I have encountered few analyses – other than those performed through IACCM – that actually explore these key areas.

An effective study would of course not only address these topics, but would want to know the answers relative to competition. Satisfaction indicators have limited meaning unless we understand their influence on choice.  And there is generally no better way to generate management attention than to have comparative data of this sort.

Historically, research of this sort tended to be driven through a central research department and there was reluctance to include too many questions. In today’s internet age, it does not have to be especially complicated, time consuming or costly to obtain data on customer or supplier satisfaction. Questionnaires can be far more targeted to specific recipients, allowing more segmentation of survey type and more detailed topics.

Satisfaction surveys that produce actionable information are a powerful way to generate management information and to gain investment. Is the reluctance of the contracting and commercial community to acquire such data an indication of political naivete, a fear of the results, or just the fact that we have never really thought about it?


  1. Supplier satisfaction survey should be administered along with End-user survey as procurement professionals are looking at generating actionable information for both the stakeholders. Survey questions could be suitably selected once suppliers are finalized; this should also address improving end-user satisfaction too.

  2. Dinesh permalink

    Absolutely right, the measuring satisfaction is now becoming a two way traffic and I have seen this since the recent global financial crisis, this could be one of the outcomes from outsourcing to low cost countries, customer satisfaction and receiving their feedback about the services provided by outsourced firm are matters a lot to develop and assess the in-house skills, and improve quality across the sector, mainly in outsourced IT related services.

    When it comes to contracting in resource sector, when an unsuccessful tenderer receives a letter from the company about their unsuccessful tender, the time starts ticking and thinking about what went wrong and the next question is about having meeting with company’s representative to clarify and ask few questions.

    The company has more to do with each unsuccessful tenderer, the first is question about how they find the tender document. Is that too onerous? How can we improve our tender documentation? The time given to the tenderer is sufficient enough to submit the bid on tender closing date? How was the quality of scope of work? Is our tender document is at far with industry standard?

    Second tier of measurement is done by the company internally from the person who has due diligently managed tender administration is about their behaviour, was they rude? Responded timely? Punctual in replying to emails or other forms of communication, have they followed the instructions from the tender document, how was their level confidence in the clarification meetings, if had any, etc etc..

    The data collected by the company used to measure how the supplier is looking at the company and how company can improve good relationship with suppliers and bring good fair competition.

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