A very smart polling professional once told me the formula for satisfaction was “S=P-E”
Put another (actually understandable) way, Satisfaction equals Performance minus Expectations.
I love this.
As consumers, we see this all the time. Check in to a Holiday Inn and you’re happy with a clean room. Check in to a Four Seasons and just having a clean room isn’t enough. Your expectations drive satisfaction.
What a great way to evaluate your programs. If a customer has high expectations for something, “very good” may be a failure. Conversely, if their expectations are low, “very good” may be more effort than you should be putting in.
So what does this mean? In your next member survey, don’t just ask how satisfied your members are with a conference, publication or product. Ask first what their expectation is for that item. Then ask for your performance. Look for the gaps, and you’ll find both the areas where you need to improve and areas from which you may want to divert resources because you’re overinvested against expectations.