Customer satisfaction surveys

I used to dabble in some online survey groups to gain experience in identifying customer satisfaction criteria. The survey companies paid a ridiculously low compensation or offered lotteries, sweepstakes or points to keep us participating. Some of the surveys were particularly repetitious; some asked for information I would probably not reveal to my accountant, but a few were succinctly designed to garner results and asked questions relevant to specific goals for specific companies.

The company has to think about the reason for the survey. Is the purpose to evaluate the future of a particular product or is it going to measure areas  in which a business can improve? When the company has identified its goals, the business can choose a cross-section of participants for the interviews and find out how they perceive a particular product or even the efficiency of their  customer service. At times targeting the entire client base might be a great idea, but it becomes a lot less expensive and more productive to survey particular aspects of a business and then use each section as a building block or part of the puzzle striving to fit all of the pieces together in one coherent, well-planned community.

As companies survey customers however, it is important to note that customers expect the responses they give to produce observable results. If the surveys fail to listen to the customer responses and suggestions, and no changes are produced, those customers are not likely to continue to participate. Companies need to take action and budget enough resources to make the changes and meet customer expectations.  There was a local roofing company in my area who called all of the homeowners who had used them in the past and asked for suggestions how they could improve their business. Most of the neighbors responded that the employees were very sloppy; they would leave empty soda cans, food wrappers and debris lying around. Evidently the company didn’t take that suggestion very seriously, because a number of neighbors who participated in the survey were so disgruntled they told other neighbors who may have been considering using the company. I don’t see that company here anymore. Could it be?

As the surveys concentrate on specific goals, the length, questions, customer data, collection reports and actions to be taken have to be considered. Most surveys are conducted online, and telephone surveys still do exist. Automated software make surveys relatively easy, and depending on the age, socio-economic and geographic areas the survey is designed to reach, the results can make a discernible improvement in customer satisfaction.

photo credit: guspim

3 Responses to “Customer satisfaction surveys”

  1. Kathy Clark said:

    Apr 20, 10 at 9:00 pm

    Very good point! There is no point in taking the time to develop and initiate a customer satisfaction survey if there is no intent to follow up on the feedback. Survey results should always be used to develop improvement plans and someone should be identified to be responsible to implement the plan. I’m always amazed at how some organizations just don’t get it. If you don’t do everything in your power to make your customers happy you may at some point not have any customers to worry about.

  2. Sandra Tung said:

    Apr 21, 10 at 4:46 pm

    It’s important to listen to feedback and take actions to address customer concerns. However, a lot of organizations fail to take one step further, that is to communicate back to customers what you have changed. The full feedback loop should be listen, act and then communicate.

  3. JenniferH, TOA Tech said:

    Apr 22, 10 at 2:31 pm

    You bring up an excellent point. Feedback and follow-throughs are absolutely important and necessary.

    I work for TOA Technologies that offers a web-based mobile workforce management software solutions that focuses on optimizing the work flow and work order process of mobile employees to enhance the customer experience and mitigate field service inefficiencies. One of our main offerings includes a Post-Appointment Survey, an application that automatically surveys customers immediately after an appointment is completed to gauge their satisfaction and better understand the quality of service they received.

    This function is ONLY insightful and effective when you listen to the feedback and take appropriate actions to address these concerns. Time and time again, I see customers who implement surveys, but fail to act upon it. It’s an incomplete attempt!