Understanding Cultural Differences in Customer Satisfaction Ratings
Sorry I have been neglectful of my blog for the last week; I have been headsdown working on a report detailing the best practices for attracting, developing and retaining talent in India. The SSPA has a committee of members who have been working on this project for the last year, surveying and interviewing hiring managers in Indian tech support organizations. The amount of data they uncovered, and the indepth findings and recommendations from the members is amazing, and my job was to merge all the information into a research report. I completed a draft of the report…all 46 pages…today so am coming up for air.
The report will be released at our Spring Best Practices Conference, and the head of the committee, Microsoft’s Dheeraj Prasad, will lead a session highlighting the findings. I hope you will attend his session; any company with either owned or outsourced support resources in India should leverage these findings.
While I was emerged in writing the report, I came across a fascinating article I wanted to share with everyone. Over the years I have received inquiries from support managers who were perplexed about how the same service organization could receive such different ratings in post-interaction surveys from different regions of the world. I have waxed poetic on this topic many times…but never in writing for fear of being politically incorrect.
Last week I had a briefing with CustomerSat, an SSPA partner providing customer satisfaction analytics for the support industry, and we talked about how people in different cultures rate the same experience differently. Marya Darabont, Research Consultant for CustomerSat Professional Services in Europe, wrote an excellent article on this. If you service customers outside of the US, I encourage you to read it. Some highlights discussing propensity for selecting certain scores on a numbered scale:
- Anglo (USA, Canada, Australia), Nordic and Western European cultures tend…to use all points on the scale, as they are less concerned with any social consequences of strong opinions.
- In countries such as China, Hong Kong and Japan…a middle response style is more common. Another observation is that such cultures tend to think dialectically in that they see both good and bad attributes in their interactions, i.e., they don’t see everything in black and white, hence the use of the middle of the scale.
- Latin cultures are…high in uncertainty avoidance, which emphasizes rules and intolerance for ambiguity. Research suggests that cultures that are high in uncertainty avoidance prefer the endpoints of a scale because they are more definite and clear.
No, I don’t think this gives you an excuse for poor sat scores in other geographic regions, but it does help explain ongoing trends toward certain groups scoring similarly. I hope you will pass this article along to the owner of your customer sat program.
Ok everyone, back to work! Thanks for taking a moment to check my blog, and if you have any input, please add a comment or drop me an email.