Using surveys to track customer satisfaction

In business, it has always been important to maintain a handle on the level of satisfaction your customers have with your business. For many businesses, however, this had long been an informal form of measurement that relied on hastily constructed promotional surveys or other systems that relied on anecdotal reports. Others simply tried to judge their customers’ reaction by the number and types of complaints they received. Using surveys to measure and track customer satisfaction is the most effective and proactive way to achieve this.

If you want to succeed in today’s customer-centric marketplace, you have to wave goodbye to those old thought processes and embrace the new reality. When it comes to customer satisfaction, racing from complaint to complaint trying to fix problems will ultimately cause your organization to suffer. Your feedback is never effective if it comes in sporadically. To be useful, it needs to be part of an organized strategy for engaging customers at every level. As part of that process, you need an effective survey strategy.

Select the Right Survey System

There are different survey models that can provide the data you need. You have to pick the ones that will work best for your specific companies needs. For the most part, these surveys come in two main types: the relationship model, and the transactional or event model.

The relationship survey is one that is taken to measure a long-term customer’s level of satisfaction. For the purposes of these studies, long-term can be several months of repeat business or more. These studies ask specific questions to gauge a customer’s overall experience with your company. They should take no longer than ten or fifteen minutes to complete, and be done only a handful of times a year.

Event surveys ask fewer questions, can be asked of any customer, and should only take a couple of minutes at most. These are designed to judge the effectiveness of short-term promotions or other events. The survey is usually offered right at the point of transaction.

There should be a variety of questions asked when conducting surveys. Open-ended questions that enable respondents to offer specific feedback are encouraged. You should also ask questions that can become actionable. These questions are worded in such a way that they provide you with feedback that enables you to complete actionable tasks to improve customer satisfaction almost immediately. 

Finally, you have to develop some sort of segmentation so that you can evaluate different demographic groups. This better identifies specific areas where a certain group of customers might not be as satisfied as they should be. Without that evaluation, key problems with one demographic can remain hidden among the larger group of satisfied respondents.

The bottom line is simple: to be successful in the new economy, you need to be more customer-centric than ever before. However, to do that you have to develop an effective way to find out what your customers are thinking. The right survey strategy can be a critical component in that process.