Do You Know Your Customers?

RATER Model

Did you know that only 1 out of every 26 unhappy customers complain? With so little data to learn from, it is important to discover gaps between customer experience and expectation. The RATER model is the solution to figure out where those gaps are. The RATER model was developed in 1990 and is an evolution of the SERVQUAL method. It is based on the idea that customers rate the quality of service provided by comparing their experiences with their expectations. The goal of this model is to show which areas the customers’ expectations differ from the actual offered quality.

RATER is an acronym based on five dimensions: Reliability, Assurance, Tangibles, Empathy, and Responsiveness. Your customers will be evaluating your service on based on these dimensions whether they are doing so consciously or not. So, let’s break down these metrics.

Reliability

A reliability issue could mean that you fail to deliver as promised or that your customers misunderstood what service you are providing. Benchmarks that you should consider focusing on are: timeliness, consistency, regularity, and accuracy. So, ask yourself, do you deliver the service a customer expects, when the customer expects?

Assurance

Your customers first need to know why they should trust you; then you must reinforce that trust by ensuring reliable service. You must meet their expectations by not only proving that you are credible but address their concerns competently. Benchmarks that you should focus on are: competency, respect, credibility, confidentiality, and an assurance of safety and security.

Does your organization inspire confidence?

Tangibles

Tangibles is a tricky one. It is the physical aspect of your business. Often, your customers won’t notice unless it is a negative experience for them. Depending on your service, those physical benchmarks that you should on are: facilities, equipment, technology, and employees. The best question to ask yourself is, does your company present itself professionally?

Empathy

Caring about the customer and empathizing with them is important. But there is someone else you have to think about when it comes to this metric. The stakeholder. You can show empathy by providing: Access to staff, services and information; clear, appropriate and timely communication; understanding the stakeholder; appropriate service for customer needs; and individualized attention. A question to ask yourself is if your team members are understanding and empowered to solve problems?

Responsiveness

If you want to win the heart of the customer and convert them into a lifelong buyer. You must show a willingness to help by providing prompt service through the channels they prefer. This means your customer service must be accessible by phone, email, text, and even social media. Benchmarks to focus on are: Willingness to help, prompt attention to requests, problem resolution, complaint handling, and flexibility. A question to ask is, does your team address queries within the expected time frame?

The RATER model is the best way to organize and evaluate customer feedback. If you want to identify gaps between customer expectations and your service, use this model. Now you tell me, are these the only metrics we should measure? Comment below what other metrics should be included and why.

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