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    Nobody pays me to write any of the copy on my blog, and should I ever have the good fortune that they do, I will declare it. My main employment is as the owner and principal of The Future Place consultancy. The Future Place provides two key services 1) training and services to industry and academic bodies and 2) consultancy services to companies. The details of the companies I work with are a private matter, but if I blog about any company who has paid The Future Place more than expenses recently (approx. two years) I will mention that they are a client. I hold equity in Virtual Surveys and provide consulting services to them from time to time. I am paid to run courses for a number of trade bodies and over the last few years clients have included ESOMAR, AMSRS, MRS, and MRIA.

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I definitely agree with you on this Ray. I would also suggest that in most cases when we think about customer satisfaction research, we are thinking about people's top of mind reactions to brands (or products), which means we should usually ask satisfaction at the start of the survey. It is these reactions which people will typically use in real life, not only when talking to friends or colleagues as you suggest, but also when making a decision about (for example) which brand of washing powder to buy in the supermarket. Few people will weigh up the specifics of their last purchase and mentally rate how fragrant the washing powder was or how long it lasted or how well it cleaned before deciding which to buy - that's not to say these aspects won't factor in the decision, as our brains unconsciously sift through all of this information to give a reaction, but it will all have happened in a split second - a gut reaction.

Both Lehrer (in How We Decide) and Gladwell (in Blink) use the strawberry jam tasting examples, demonstrating how easily results can change depending on where satisfaction is positioned (i.e. before or after considered thought about a product), and how thinking about erroneous aspects of a product/service can affect how we respond to questioning. We need to make sure we're not only asking relevant questions, but that we're not collecting skewed (and less 'reaslitic') results because of the order in which we've asked them.

Karen Schofield
Senior Associate Director
Virtual Surveys

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