If you never measure how well your business products or your services affect your customers, chances are you may have lost customers, your reputation may have suffered, or negative word of mouth might have dried up your referral lists. No matter how sophisticated a business owner thinks he might be, there is always the need to focus on "key issues" related to overall customer satisfaction and thus - customer loyalty.
Whether you choose complicated and intricate customer survey software, or if you are just starting out and have even created your own short survey online with the compliments of free web-site surveys, always remember to keep the survey brief, informal, and easy to understand. Most customers don't have much of an affinity for industry jargon, but are willing to give their opinion as long as it is quick, easy, and at some later time their answers and suggestions show up as what someone actually read, worked on, and later applied to their day-to-day business.
For instance, one of our favorite lunch spots served superb food, and gave great service for those of us with time constraints - that is until the bill was due, and then we would continuously have to wait for the server to finally bring the check. A few months later when a casual survey of only five questions was placed in the billfold with our tab, we were able to make the suggestion that servers stay on top of hurried lunch patrons and have checks ready as soon as possible. Not even a month later, servers were getting the lunch tabs to us in a much more expeditious manner.
There are a few classic questions that most businesses almost always find useful, and I've seen these questions used quite often:
- How likely would you be to recommend ABC Luncheon Restaurant to a friend or colleague?
- How likely would you be to continue dining with us at ABC Luncheon Restaurant two years from now?
Make your rating scales easy to understand. The most popular range is from 0 to 10, ranging from extremely poor to extremely likely to recommend. Feel free to use a few open-ended questions and ask customers what your company could do to earn the highest rating. If 100 surveys are filled out, and 70 come back with excellent ratings, then you know you are doing a great job, but if the ratings are low, open-ended questions can provide that needed feedback to help your organization to improve.
And one more requirement of a successful customer survey is to have your customers divided into subgroups since there are sometimes obvious differences in service requirements. In the example above, many retired people love to take their time when eating lunch and might think if a server dropped off the check prematurely, the customer was being rushed; in this circumstance knowing the age groups of survey recipients could draw completely different results. Other subgroups can be based on geographic locations, or economics; depending on what is applicable to a particular organization.
Keep surveys meaningful and use them often enough to have a consistent key to helping your business grow.