Many companies don’t know how to measure customer satisfaction, although most companies agree that customer satisfaction is an important factor in profitability and increasing revenue. The best way to gauge customer satisfaction is with a well-designed, professionally administered customer satisfaction survey.
Surveying customers about their satisfaction is more complex than it might appear at first. Designing a customer satisfaction survey that will deliver actionable insight takes more than asking a few questions. It requires expertise in survey design, semantic analysis of qualitative responses, and knowledge of behavioral psychology for the best results.
The survey questionnaire is the first important factor in the success of your customer satisfaction survey. The survey questions require careful attention to the format to ensure that the question doesn’t promote a biased response. In addition, a balanced scale for responses promotes unbiased results.
The deployment method—phone, in-person, paper or Internet, for example—can also influence the results. You need to ensure that your entire population has equal access to the deployment method. That may require a questionnaire written in multiple languages, or it may mean that in-person or mail may be the only viable methods if a substantial portion of your sample don’t have Internet or email access.
You also need to measure sampling error and ensure that you receive enough responses to be certain that your sample size is large enough to represent the entire population accurately. Although you can create customer satisfaction surveys online using free or inexpensive tools, most such services are woefully inadequate at survey design and deployment.
Understanding both the qualitative and quantitative results in a way that provides actionable insight is also beyond the capabilities of most online services. Understanding qualitative data requires understanding both psychology and linguistics to understand what the choice of specific words in customer survey responses really means.
Pretty graphs only go so far in understanding quantitative results. To be meaningful, you must measure trends over time and it is useful to apply benchmarks comparing your customer satisfaction survey results to those of competitors or other companies.
In addition, you will want to review the actions you should take because of the input from customer satisfaction surveys. More than likely you will address the quick, easy, or inexpensive actions first. You may find it helpful to deploy additional pulse type customer satisfaction surveys after taking action to measure the success of the changes.
You should begin to see a rise in order frequency and order size as customers find your company easier to do business with, and as they see that you have taken actions based on their input. You may want to establish a regular survey schedule as your understanding of how to measure customer satisfaction increases. It is best to seek advice from experienced survey professionals before establishing a schedule to ensure you don’t irritate customers while trying to please them.
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