Customer Satisfaction Survey

Customer Satisfaction Survey

 Customer satisfaction is the key to long term success for an organization. If the customers of the organization are not happy then the organization will lose them to the competitors and lose out on the sales revenue. Understanding the customers and their needs goes a long way towards the provision of excellent customer service and high customer satisfaction.

Customer satisfaction is not something that can be presumed. In fact, it is a thing which needs to be measured through customer satisfaction surveys. While customer satisfaction surveys are a good way to determine what the customers think about the organization, products, or services, they also help to find out the satisfaction or dissatisfaction of the customers with the products and services of the organization. Customer satisfaction surveys are also the best way to uncover customer needs, their likes and dislikes, what they think about the prices, how well the organizational employees are serving them, why they cancel their orders with the organization, and finding out the areas of improvement etc. The surveys go a long way to strengthen relationships with the customers and help build trust and loyalty.

Learning what the customer needs and whether or not they are being met is arguably more important than having a great product, because a great product is not necessarily great if it leaves the customer unsatisfied. With a customer satisfaction survey, the organization has the following ability.

  • To see how customers feel about the organizational products and services
  • To understand customer’s priorities
  • To get knowledge about the customers’ perception of the organizational performance and its customer service
  • To understand organizational performance relative to the customers’ priorities
  • To see how customers feel about the market, and what they need
  • To obtain useful data for a decision on priorities for improvement.

Through customer satisfaction survey, organization is able to learn more about the customers’ loyalty, including whether they will remain a customer and if they have any desire to switch to a competitor. Organization can see how the customers feel about the different aspects of the organization. Once the organization has the information, it can use it to drive decisions. Organization can strengthen relationships with the customers, to boost sales, alter products to meet the needs of the customers, and to build customers’ loyalty so that they continue to use organizational products and services in the future.

Formal survey has emerged as by far the best method of periodically assessing the customer satisfaction. The surveys are not marketing tools but an information gathering tool. Enough homework needs to be done before embarking on the actual survey. This homework includes the following.

  • Define the purpose of the survey
  • Define objectives of the survey
  • Design survey approach
  • Develop questionnaires and forms
  • Administer survey (email, telephone, post or through a person)
  • Method of compiling data and analyzing the findings
  • Format of the report to present the findings

When the organization conducts a customer satisfaction survey then it is important what questions it asks the customers. There is no point in asking irrelevant questions on a customer satisfaction questionnaire.  Questions are to be designed in an appropriate manner so that it can gauge the customer perception correctly. In order to do this the questions included in the customer satisfaction survey should fulfill the following criteria.

  • Keep the customer in mind when designing survey questions
  • Know what is to be measured
  • Keep the questionnaire as short as possible
  • Use simple language
  • Use open ended questions sparingly
  • Make sure your survey is user friendly, visually appealing, and professional
  • Offer incentives
  • Test the survey before sending it to the customer

Customer satisfaction survey must include basic questions related to customer satisfaction as well as questions related to the customer loyalty. The questions should also include what the customer liked and did not like about the organization, its products and services.

The forms of customer satisfaction survey should be easy to fill out with minimum amount of time and efforts on customers’ part. They should be designed to actively encourage customers to complete the questions. Yet they must provide accurate data to monitor improvements in the performance of the organization. The data should also be sufficiently reliable for management decision making. This can be achieved by incorporating objective type questions where customer has to rate on scale of say, 1 to 10. For repeated surveys, organization can provide the rating that was previously accorded by the customer. This works like a reference point for the customer.

Customers must be provided a way to express the importance they attach to various survey parameters. They should be asked to give a weightage factor, again on a rating scale of say, 1 to 10, for each requirement. This gives a better indication of relative importance of each parameter towards overall customer satisfaction and makes it easier for the organization to prioritize its action plans by comparing the performance rating (scores) with importance rating (weightage).

Analysis of customer satisfaction survey data

 The customer’s requirements must be translated and quantified into measurable targets. This provides an easy way to monitor improvements, and deciding upon the attributes that need to be concentrated on in order to improve customer satisfaction. Organization can recognize where it needs to make changes to create improvements and determine if these changes after implementation have led to increased customer satisfaction.

Two major factors that can be determined from the customer satisfaction survey data are given below.

  • Performance matrix (performance of the organization relative to customers priorities)
  • Satisfaction index (customer’s satisfaction over a period of time).

 Performance matrix is the average of the weightings and the scores given by the customer for each parameter is plotted on a Scatter graph. This graphical representation is easy to understand without any great knowledge of statistics. With the data obtained, the average weightage (importance) on x-axis and average scores (performance) on y-axis can be plotted for each parameter. From this scatter plot the organization can find out at a glance, the areas where there is scope for improvement, highlighted, where possible by using the traffic signal analogy as shown in Fig 1.


Fig 1 Scatter plot of performance matrix and satisfaction index

 Value of customer satisfaction survey

There is significant value in measuring the satisfaction levels of the customers using customer satisfaction survey. With customer satisfaction survey, the organization can generate real data that will help it draw valuable conclusions as to how to run the organization and to improve revenue. It provides the organization with the following benefits which it cannot receive in any other way.

  • Unbiased data – Asking customers in person does not yield correct answers since it may be biased. A customer satisfaction survey allows the organization to find out without any biases what a larger portion of customers think about the organization.
  • Tracking changes – Every time the organization conducts a customer satisfaction survey, it is able to view and track the changes that the organization makes over time. It is able to make sure that the organization is not doing anything to make the customers less satisfied, and that the changes the organization has made for improvement are working.
  • Qualitative and quantitative data – Customer satisfaction survey also provides the organization an opportunity to learn from both qualitative and quantitative data. Quantitative data allows the organization to run complex analyses to learn more about the organizational business, while qualitative data gives the organization the chance to find out what the customers really think in a reduced bias setting.

Important aspects of the customer satisfaction survey

 The following are the important aspects of the customer satisfaction survey.

  • Organization develops a customer centric culture and becomes sensitive to the needs of the customers through proactive interaction with them.
  • Customer satisfaction survey helps the organization in managing customer expectations.
  • Conducting a robust customer satisfaction survey is not sufficient. The key is to understand what the results are indicating and to act upon them to make the changes.
  • Customer satisfaction survey measure satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the products and services of the organization. It determines critical needs and offers an opportunity to effectively communicate and build truly personal relationships with the customers.
  • If a customer gives the highest rating, there is need to know why, so that the organization can replicate that same experience and outcome with other customers.
  • It is important to understand why the customers are rating the way they are, so follow up questions can be helpful. However, it is necessary to avoid piling on too many questions since it may reduce response rates.
  • Objective feedback from the customers is more useful than good feedback. Therefore, the organization must make sure the structure of the customer satisfaction survey as well as the distribution method promotes the flow of true and honest customer opinions.
  • If not engineered correctly, customer satisfaction survey can introduce bias into the feedback collection, undermining the quality of the information gathered and leading the organization to draw inappropriate conclusions.
  • Customer satisfaction survey feedback is worthless if the organization donot take action on it. Organization needs to put plans in place to resolve issues revealed by the survey and always reconnect with those customers those have expressed dissatisfaction.
  • Getting real information from real customers in real time is the best way for the organization to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the organization.
  • Take time to thoughtfully review the responses of customer satisfaction survey and consider their implications. If the organization listens to the responses carefully, spotting what frustrates the customers, what delights them and what unmet needs they have, the organization will be better equipped to build a thriving organization.
  • Organization needs to study in depth the customer feedback. The feedback must not be forgotten without proper analysis and without taking action on them. The results — including verbatim customer comments – are to be shared with the employees and what lessons these results tell the employees are to be learned.
  • Customer satisfaction survey should not be considered as administrative exercise. It must be considered as the life line for the organizational growth and success.
  • Organization cannot live in denial. If the results are not what it want, donot sweep them under the carpet and blame it on the method of conducting the survey. The feedback is to be accepted and acted upon for the health of the organization. 

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