Customer Satisfaction Surveys Work

Why should you bother?

The life blood of any business is good customer service. Although new customers are important good customer service will help generate customer loyalty and repeat business. With every satisfied customer your business is likely to go on and secure many more customers through recommendations and if you do not take proper care of your customers there is probably a competitor waiting in the wings that will.

A customer satisfaction survey will help by not only identifying problem areas but will also demonstrate to your customers that you care and are proactive in looking for ways to improve the service that you provide.


Where to start?

Objective – As a first step decide what the main objectives of the survey are, in that way you will be able to retain focus and find it easier to decide what questions to ask.

Analysis – Consider how you will analyse the answers having completed the survey.

Keep in mind that ‘closed’ questions (where the respondent is asked to choose from a limited number of responses) are easier to analyse than ‘open’ questions (where the respondent can reply in anyway they want).

A lot will depend on the expected volume of respondents, the higher the volume the more important it is to have an easy method of analysing the results.

Opportunity – Keep in mind that as well as obtaining valuable market research data customer surveys are also a good way to publicise aspects of your service that your customers may not be aware of.

Before publishing the survey read through the survey from a market research view point to confirm that you are asking the right questions in the right way and that your chosen answer format will provide you with feedback that will allow you to make informed decisions.

Next, read through the survey from a marketing view point, check that you have phrased each question so that every opportunity has been taken to promote your business?

The ideal question will perform the following three functions:-

  • Market research – provide valuable feedback to help you improve your customer satisfaction levels and in turn your business
  • Marketing – promote aspects of your business
  • Information/Education – advertise a service that you provide that your customers may not have been unaware of

For example:- Do you find the in-store baby changing facilities useful?

In asking this question the store will hopefully not only receive useful feedback on the baby changing facility but they will also promote the store as being child-friendly even beyond the customers who actually require the facility.

Warts and all – to benefit most from a customer survey you need to be prepared to accept criticism.

A customer satisfaction survey should be designed to highlight problems so that they can be addressed; regular customer satisfaction will prevent complacency and will also give early warning on where your competitors initiatives may be losing you business.


What are the questions you should ask?

Although it is a given that each business is likely to have specific and unique factors that are important in providing good customer services there are common areas that are relevant to all businesses be they a physical store, online internet store or a service industry. The following are key areas to providing good customer service.

Communication – Do customers find it easy to communicate with you?

When customers telephone are their calls answered quickly; are their enquiries about products or services handled properly? Good businesses will make every effort to ensure that whatever the customers query it is resolved by the right person, politely, quickly and fairly.

If a problem is not resolvable immediately do you promise to respond in a given time period and do you deliver on your promise?

Use a customer satisfaction survey to check that all your employees are perceived by your customers as being helpful, courteous and knowledgeable.

Location – Do your customers find it easy to visit you, if a physical bricks and mortar store, is it conveniently located with good access?

Making it pleasant, making it easy – For an internet business it is important to ensure that your website is easy to use and aesthetically pleasing.

Regardless of the store being a bricks and mortar or purely an online internet store, is the store properly laid out, can your customers find what they need and is there sufficient information and help on hand to explain how a particular product works?

The right quality products – In addition to measuring the quality of the service that you provide you should ensure that the products and services that you provide do fully match your customers’ requirements.

Value for money – Cheap or expensive is not always a good measure, value for money is.

Do your customers consider that the products you sell or the services you provide are value for money, if not, why not?

Speed and attention – Customers want their enquiries or queries to be dealt with quickly but attentively.

Are you doing everything you can to avoid any delay?

Good businesses will try to treat each customer as an individual, does yours? Attention is one thing but this has to be hand- in-hand with a quick and satisfactory resolution of the query.

Demographics and Specific issues – Take the opportunity to profile your customers, for example where do they live and what is their age group?

Understand your customers more and you will be able to better target your business.

Allow customers to highlight their specific problems and provide contact details.


What is next?

Having completed the survey analyse the results.

Trends – Look for specific and common areas where the service needs improving.

Ask yourself if any criticism is valid and is there anything that can be done to resolve or minimise the problem?

Training – Are all employees properly trained and do they have sufficient knowledge?

Where employee training programmes have been implemented have they had a positive impact on the business?

Follow-up – If a customer who has completed a survey has raised a specific issue do all you can to ensure that their complaint is addressed.

Do not squander the opportunity to resolve a problem and keep a customer.

Continuously Monitor – Make changes based on the survey results and then re-measure by issuing follow up surveys.

If you are concerned about customer satisfaction and what to view a sample survey for a store that will demonstrate some of the above advice please visit:- Sample Customer Survey