“I can’t get no satisfaction”

Mick Jagger wrote the iconic song as a reflection on an increasing market oriented world, with marketers promoting their brands promising ” satisfaction” at an ever increasing rate probably evoking some negative reactions in the author’s mind.

On the two sides of satisfaction; perception of quality and emotional reactions, I’d say that my work is very much focussed on emotional reactions. In the development sector over all, I’d like to argue that this is very much the case and perhaps an issue with the customer approach of many of the donor organisations. Any organisation depending on donors for their funding, Amnesty International, UNICEF, Save the Children, will base their communication and appeal to the emotional reactions of their audience or customers, customers in this case being the donors. Imagine a campaign showing starving children in an effort to make you donate money. This communication triggers aims at triggering an interesting response within you, I imagine you’d feel a emotions high on both arousal and displeasure on the Russel structure of core affect scale , hence most likely stressed and nervous… makes sense to me. By donating, you’d become perhaps less aroused and more pleased making you serene and calm, at least to some extent.

With the programme I’m working with being very much focussed on collecting perceptions and “customer feedback” there’s a natural connection to the topic. I’m yet struggling to find evidence of the theories studied in this course being applied to the other category of customers for these types of organisations – the beneficiaries. Results are mostly measured in hard evidence; nr of schools built, amount of meals distributed etc etc but I rarely see level of satisfaction as an indicator. I might be mistaken and will look into this further as the course moves on and I learn more on the topic and the practice in the industry. This is of course a huge topic that can be elaborated upon immensely.

4 thoughts on ““I can’t get no satisfaction”

  1. Hi Erik, interesting blog post! It makes me think of the photo of the drowned syrian little boy, spread on social media, that made the world so upset. When we recognize a situation – “it could have been my child/ brother/relative” , it all comes near our hearts. Our natural empathy, when we can feel how it would feel, triggers us. I agree with your thoughts about the feelings that arouses and – when strong enough?- lead to action.
    I found this article about empathy: http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/topic/empathy/definition
    (The greater good science Center, Berkeley, University of California) Maybe it is interesting? Or maybe this is very basic for you? 🙂

    I also thought about the beneficiaries and their feelings. Is it possible to compare with our Swedish social welfare? The counselors working with social welfare try to measure the clients satisfaction with the service and the effects of the support. Though, I find the method a bit unusable as I think the questions tend to be at bit inadequate. When 80 % of the clients always answers that they are pleased, we must be missing something. Especially when so many of the clients problems remain.
    The young clients are on the other hand measured by their feelings, which is more interesting, especially when social work is based on relations.
    Our social welfare is run by the law. This might affect the result of an investigation of satisfaction. What is the criteria for your business support?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much Gunilla! a very interesting comment and a great article, not too basic at all 😉
      I’m curious to know why children are measured in “feelings” and adults in satisfaction…? Are children not able to comprehend satisfaction or vice versa, adults not able to grade their feelings.

      My business, a kind of volnteer focus group set up, a bit like yougov is, I suppose measured in response rate and new people joining with the assumptions that a higher response rate means a higher level of satisfaction with the service. We can also measure the retention rate as we measure how many people “opt out” of the service. Very rough estimates of course.


      1. I guess they consider rating satisfaction is too abstract for the children, it probably requires a more mature brain. (I guess… Must ask, though)

        Moving on to module 3: Maybe you should consider giving your costumers a gift, making them obliged to support your business? I am inspired after reading about reciprocation in Cialdinis book “Influence, science and practice”. 🙂


  2. Thank you Gunilla!
    Not sure about the satisfaction rating for children either but it should work as long as one compares the responses over time. 90 of 100 children are satisfied month 75 /100 month 2 80/100 month 3 and so on. This would give an indication at least.

    We don’t give gifts, other than the opportunity to participate. This is a cost issue to some extent but we also want people to participate for the right reasons. We’d skew the results if we starting giving handouts on a larger scale. It’s of course a bit of an admin nightmare to do it as well 😉


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