Customers are your best source of business information whether it's to
improve an existing product or service or whether you're planning to launch something
new. There's no substitution for "getting it from the horse's mouth."
When you open up the lines of communication, you are able to align your resources
to best advantage, and you often can make changes or launch products more quickly.
talking to your customers directly, you increase your odds for achieving success;
you "mistake-proof" your decisions and work on what really matters.
When you routinely ask your customers for feedback and involve them in your business,
they, in turn, become committed to the success of your business.
survey is an effective method for measuring customer satisfaction and achieving
continues improvement in quality. There are six steps in conducting a successful
survey. They are:
- Decide on your
- Determine who should
complete the survey
- Develop the
- Administer the survey
- Communicate the results
Decide On Your Objectives.
What do you want to know from the survey? Be specific. Your objectives will form
the basis from which your survey questions will be developed. Limit your objectives
to just a few. If you try to include too much, you will make the survey too long
(customers may not complete it), and you may uncover more than you can handle
(you can't respond to it).
Determine Who Should Complete
the Survey. First and foremost, know who your customers are and which are
appropriate to survey! If your market is large, you may have different segments
of customers. Or depending upon the industry you may have different levels of
Also, give some thought
to the number of customers you want to survey. Do you have a few key accounts?
Maybe you want to survey each of them. If you have multiple customers, you may
have to select a sample to survey. Also, you may want to hear from different individuals
at the same customer site. Feedback from individuals other than your direct contact
may reflect problems that your contact doesnt know about and report.
Develop the Survey. Having
settled on objectives and decided what kinds of customers you'll target, it's
time to draft the survey. You'll need to formulate questions whose answers will
help you decide what needs to be changed to achieve your objectives. The following
tips may help you:
First, list potential
question topics. Common service factors for which you may want to ask customers
to grade your performance and product value include:
Features, Features desired, Variety, Safety, Durability, Quality, Reliability,
Documentation clarity, Documentation adequacy, Packaging quality, Packaging convenience,
- Employees: Pushiness,
Friendliness, Courtesy, Accessibility, Attention, Care, Competence, Flexibility,
Understanding of customer needs, Professionalism, Appearance, Effective use of
- Customer feelings: Appreciated,
Respected, In control, Needs and desires met
service: (Same list as employee features above), Order processing timeliness,
Delivery timeliness, Condition on delivery, Installation problems, Problem solving,
Kept promises, Product usefulness.
perception: Confidence, Trust, Honesty, Affection, Efficiency, Stability,
Innovativeness, Brand quality
what you know and what you want to know regarding customer perception of each
factor you consider to be significant. Then shorten the list to just significant
factors that you would be willing and able to work on to increase customer loyalty
or attract new customers.
the Survey. You may want to contact the people you intend to survey before
hitting them with questions, and ask them if they will help you by responding.
Personification will both let the survey candidates know how important it is to
you and help you avoid irritating clients who resent surveyors.
you are handing out survey cards to customers, be aware that research has indicated
that its better to do it as they depart, not as they arrive. Having a list
of features to criticize during the visit makes a customer more likely to notice
weaknesses. That inspires useful feedback, but it can cost you the customer.
you are not satisfied with the initial response rate, dont give up. Consider
supplementing the survey in another medium--for example by asking questions by
telephone or on a Web page when not enough were answered by mail.
Analyze the Results. Once
your customers return the completed surveys, you are ready to compile the data
and analyze the results. In most cases, competency with a computer spreadsheet
program is all you'll need. First, you'll need to design the spreadsheet, enter
the data, and then choose the graphs to summarize the results. These might be
pie charts, bar graphs, or line graphs which are available in all of the popular
the Results. After you have analyzed the data, it is time to communicate the
results to your staff and customers.
the staff: Remind everyone that customer satisfaction is essential for continued
prosperity. Emphasize the importance of keeping the customer wants and needs in
mind whenever decisions are made--especially in product design, marketing, and
Then the customers:
Communicating survey results and resulting action is absolutely necessary if you
want to continue to receive feedback from your customers. If they feel that the
survey results do not get the proper attention, they'll be reluctant to provide
you with feedback in the future.
your customers involved when you can. This gives them ownership of the issues,
makes them part of the solutions and allows them to experience firsthand your
dedication in satisfying their needs. You might also want to solicit their input
for your annual goals and objectives. Then, tell them how you're doing against
the goals, and tell them frequently. That way they know that progress is being
made and that you value their opinions and their participation. Plus, it provides
you with some great public relations.
feedback and ideas for improving your customer feedback - trial an Australian-built
customer satisfaction survey tool:
is an Australian-built online survey tool that is currently used by over 200 Australian
and New Zealand based organisations of all sizes to conduct online customer surveys.
The tool can be used to conduct cost effective satisfaction surveys, regular 'post-service'
feedback surveys, new product feedback, website feedback ... to name a few popular
Please be assured that your correspondence with us is confidential.
We will not divulge email addresses or any other details you provide to outside
complete the form below to arrange your FREE custom-branded customer feedback
survey software demonstration and a PeoplePulse pricing and information sheet.
completing the form below, a PeoplePulse representative
will contact you to discuss your needs and current
situation. From there we will set up your demo
and arrange a suitable time to show the system
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Cinoy Ravindran is a Computing Engineer, specialising in solution/ concept selling
in Information Technology, Wealth Management, as well as Stress Management. Visit
his website at: http://cinoy-tickets.blogspot.com/