Satisfaction Isn’t The Goal

Jared Spool

October 29th, 2012

“Was your experience satisfactory?” the survey asked the user. If the answer is no, well, then we can work on making it better. But if it is yes, what do we do? Should we walk away happy with what just happened?

Satisfaction is a miserable place to stop our goal of constant improvement. Food that is satisfactory is just edible. It’s not particularly delicious. It’s just not awful. Edible is the place we stopped.

No self respecting restaurant chef would stop at cooking edible food. They’d want their food to go beyond satisfactory.

We need to push beyond user satisfaction to user delight. We should be asking “Was your experience delightful?” and not stop until we get a true and enthusiastic “Yes!” as our answer.

3 Responses to “Satisfaction Isn’t The Goal”

  1. Lea Ward Says:

    Hi Jared, Yes! Satisfactory is so unsatisfactory as a measure for an experience. We can do better! And delightful is definitely better. But a great experience isn’t always delightful (think of an airline’s handling of a flight delay or cancellation). We use the Experience Scan – a set of 3 questions – to gauge how an experience is for customers. We see that these questions help to “push beyond user satsifaction” to find out what’s meaningful to the customer. See also our Scan on the new Modern Art Museum in Amsterdam:

    And move on to get the YES answer.

  2. Steve Portigal Says:

    I love the point here of reframing “satisfaction” into “delight” but also agree with Lea that delight isn’t necessarily within the framework of how a person approaches an experience; whether it’s just not appropriate as in a failure remedy, or just not…their…vocabulary. If you literally ask people about “delight” you are bringing them into your jargon-world. I realize many methodologies require you to commit to some set of terms and test against them, but just because delight is part of an organizational imperative doesn’t mean your customers understand the word the same way you do.

  3. Steve Says:

    Maybe a comparison to a previous version of the application using a likert scale or other way to measure quantitatively in order to get closer delightful (enjoyable, etc.) would work. I don’t know if many enterprise applications can ever make it to delightful. But in comparison to the previous version maybe? Also, couldn’t our expectation of delightful change based on the person’s personality, how they feel about their job, what kind of task we are testing, etc? These things could be factored in based on an initial questionnaire.

    Could “I like it a lot better” or “It’s much easier” as farthest right choices on the Likert scale be considered delightful for a spreadsheet application for someone that is introverted and doesn’t really like their particular job?

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