8 Secrets of Customer Satisfaction Survey Success
Customer satisfaction surveys are a great way to gain perspective on what you’re doing well and what you could improve upon. Once you become aware of these things, you can take the necessary steps to hold on to your current customers, as well as better understand how to attract new ones.
As markets become increasingly saturated, it has become more and more important to keep the customers you already have. The claim that it costs five to eight times more to obtain new customers than to hold on to current ones is holding true. This is where customer satisfaction surveys come into play. In order to gain perspective from a customer satisfaction survey, it needs to be structured well. Here are eight secrets to asking the right questions.
1. Provide a Reference Point
Instead of asking customers to rate service on a scale from 1-10, for example, give them a selection of reference points:
o Poor. They are worse than I expected.
o Okay. I have no complaints.
o Great. They are better than I expected.
o Exceptional. I would recommend them to my friends.
From this answer, you’ll have better insight into how you compare to your competitors and whether or not you have loyal followers. If someone is willing to recommend you to their friends, they will most likely remain loyal customers.
2. Keep Questions Neutral
When customers read your survey, they should be under the impression that it was written by a third party. There should be no presence of bias or leading questions. It should be clear, from the way the questions are written, that both positive and negative answers are welcome. This will help collect as much accurate feedback as possible.
For instance, a leading question would be, “Did you feel you were cheated out of your money at Casino X?” This question prompts the customer to become suspicious of the casino even if they did not feel cheated in the first place. Instead, use a neutral question like, “Tell me about your experience at Casino X.”
3. Keep Questions Clear and Comprehensible
Just because you are familiar with your industry’s terms, your customers may not be. Remember to use simple and clear questions in your survey to avoid any misunderstanding. For example, do not use technical terms in a technical survey if the subjects are not technical experts.
4. One at a Time
You should also avoid asking double-barreled questions. This type of question asks about two different issues within the same question. For example, “Do you think Restaurant X’s facilities are clean and visually appealing?” Combining both questions into one makes it unclear what you are trying to measure. Some respondents will want to answer “yes” to both, some will answer “no” to both, and some would like to answer “yes" to one and "no” to the other, but can’t because of the way the question is worded. In cases like this, it's best to make them two different questions.
5. Open Ended Questions
Including open ended questions in your survey can provide great feedback that you may not have gotten otherwise. However, these types of questions can be hard to quantify, so only ask one or two. As customer go through the survey, they may think of things they would have liked to mention along the way. Providing space for some feedback can capture those ideas. For instance, “Tell us how you feel about the recent change in management?” This can even be as easy as leaving space for any additional comments or feedback at the end of the survey.
6. Ask Contextual Questions
It's important to know where customers are coming from when they answer your questions. Ask some contextual questions, such as, "How long they have been using the company for their services?" and "How often do you use their services?" The information obtained from contextual questions can be very valuable in determining which customers are worth surveying and which are not.
7. Customer Loyalty Beats Customer Satisfaction
If a customer is satisfied, that’s great, but that doesn't necessarily mean they will stay with you. They may be just as satisfied somewhere else, for a lower price. As mentioned above, knowing which customers are worth surveying is important. The National Business Research Institute describes an interesting analogy for their concept of “Shooing Away Butterflies."
“Butterflies” are customers who jump from one promotional offer to another. These customers do not create the potential for long term value. and “often don’t even provide short-term value, in fact. Think of credit card customers who flit from bank to bank following a succession of introductory rates. Instead, companies should invest their resources in courting 'barnacles'—customers who are likely to stick around for many years, as long as they’re treated right.”
8. Test Your Questions
Now, that you have your questions, test your survey on a third party before unleashing it on your customers. This way, you can weed out any misunderstandings before the customers see it. After testing comes distribution. Once all data is collected, try to learn from the answers and to change your products or services respectively otherwise your survey will have been useless.