Measuring user satisfaction

User satisfaction is a key component of the success of an IT department In fact, most business leaders use satisfaction as their sole source of data to judge how well IT is responding to the needs of the business. Therefore, it is in the best interest of IT departments to ensure that the opinions of the business stakeholders is accurate and doesn't depend only on water cooler chatter. We will see some strategies that IT departments use to measure and manage user satisfaction.


The least reliable form of user feedback, yet often the most destructive. Gossip about IT's performance (or lack thereof) can have a dramatic impact on user satisfaction.


User complaints are a great source of data for IT managers as it provides an opportunity for them to correct a failure in service delivery. the problem is that less than 5% of users typically complain, the remainder preferring to say nothing. And users will not complaint if they feel it will not give any results. Thus IT departments without any complaints may not be as good as they think.

It is thus not a great source of feedback to judge the overall satisfaction of the users.


The service orientation assessment is a way for IT departments to evaluate the presence of pre-requisites to satisfy users. It allows IT departments to estimate what would be the satisfaction of their users without running a formal survey. Combined with a user survey, it gives both the symptoms (the survey results) and the diagnostic (the assessment).


Over 60% of IT departments perform at least an annual user satisfaction survey, or IT survey.  The annual survey aims to measure the attitude of users towards the services delivered and typically tries to understand why users gave a high or low rating through diagnostic questions. Since it is done only once a year, the survey tend to be long and include questions that my not be relevant to all users.

The major issue with yearly surveys is that IT managers tend to forget about satisfaction for the remainder of the year.


The monthly user satisfaction survey is similar to the annual survey except that it divides the users in 12 groups and surveys a different group each month. The survey tends to be shorter and include more dynamic questions, question that varies from month to month in order to better understand a specific issues or the impact of a project. The monthly survey also reinforces the importance of user satisfaction to the IT managers since surveys comes out at the same frequency as te  budget numbers, keeping the results on the table each months.

Monthly results allow IT departments to identify which initiatives really made a difference on satisfaction and which didn't.


A ticket close survey (or post-transaction survey) is a survey that is sent every time a transaction has been completed. For example, some IT organizations send a survey to every (or a percentage) of users that have sent a request to the help-desk. The ticket close survey provides on-going feedback on the service quality and give s a chance to the IT department to correct  failures un service delivery.

Ticket close surveys are a great way to monitor processes throughout the user life-cycle.


Interviews allows the IT departments to get in-depth data on a situation by discussing with a specific user. The back-and-forth communication allows the interviewer to further dig in a specific area if required or simply skip portions that are not relevant. It typically a richness of information that would be difficult to achieve through surveys. The downside is the difficulty in measuring the feedback and the effort required.


Focus groups are a great method to obtain more data about specific issues or initiatives. It allows the users to voice their opinion or ideas in a less-structured format than a survey. It also allows them to interact with one another and highlight issues they wouldn't have come up on their own. The downside is that it doesn't provide Data that is easily measurable.


  • IT departments have several methods available to survey satisfaction
  • IT department shouldn't rely on word-of-mouth or complaints to judge satisfaction.
Posted on October 18, 2013 .