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Do your Customers Like Customer Satisfaction Surveys?

It is a question I always get asked by prospective clients: “How will our customers react to a customer survey?” And it is an important question too. The last thing you should do is antagonise your customers by doing something they don’t like.

As part of our quality control, at the end of the interview with our clients’ customers we ask them what they thought of the process they have just gone through. This ensures our process is not antagonising our clients’ customers or eroding their relationship.

To demonstrate what they say we have compiled a list of customer statements from four projects. This lists both good and bad things about us and is not censured except to hide the name of our clients. The statements are sorted alphabetically. Read the statements here to get a first hand understanding of what customers think about satisfaction surveys.

The answers vary but overall customers like being asked what they think of a supplier. In summary:

  • Customers like being surveyed within reason
  • It shows their supplier cares about them and their business
  • They want to see results
  • They like a third party doing the exercise
  • They like face to face in depth surveys
  • They enjoyed our process

Customers like being surveyed within reason

Customers do not mind being surveyed as long as the survey is personal, is meaningful and has direction. However be sure not to inundate customers with surveys. Generally online or telephonic surveys do not have the same impact as they are impersonal and make customers feel they are just a number.

It shows their supplier cares about them and their business

Overwhelmingly customers like the fact that you interview them. It shows you care about them and their business. In addition to gleaning information that will enhance your company, a pleasant spinoff of a customer survey is increased customer loyalty. This is true as long as the interview process is meaningful and asks relevant questions.

They want to see results

Customers do not participate in surveys because they want to make you feel good. They participate because they want to see change (as I mentioned in a previous blog). If you go out and ask the source of all your revenue (customers) a whole lot of questions you are entering in an unspoken contract with them that you will do something about any issues they raise. If you don’t, you will increase their frustration levels resulting in an even lower customer loyalty than before the survey. Do something about it, your customer loyalty will receive a significant boost.

They like a third party doing the exercise

We often find customers are more willing to open up to us as we are a neutral party. We liken ourselves as marriage guidance counsellors between customers and suppliers. Give your customers a safe means of talking about issues that have been bugging them. If you contract a third party your customers also realise this is an expense you are incurring. It indicates that you must be serious and really value their input – a relatively inexpensive way of buying loyalty.

They like face to face in depth surveys

If a customer is to do a survey, engage with them intellectually. Make them think and sweat in the process and the result will be a far greater level of engagement and commitment from them. They will enjoy it more if they are more involved in the survey. Often online questionnaires do not portray the feeling the customer that was chosen for their feedback – they could have been one of many thousands. A face to face interview says quite the opposite; customers feel singled out and made to feel important. This is good relationship building material.

They enjoyed our process

Customers like our process because we do not have a list of predefined questions. We sit down and brainstorm with them about what they want from an ideal supplier and then measure how well you are performing against the uncovered needs. This process makes them think and helps them articulate what their needs actually are – a learning process that adds value. We often get comments about how much they have learned and how wrong their original perceptions were. Customers often comment on how they don’t like questionnaire type surveys and find our process a breath of fresh air. That is because we do not presuppose their needs and allow them to talk about absolutely anything. This is something questionnaires do not do, which limits what you can talk about and more importantly what you cannot talk about.

In Summary

With all this information, go back and look at the list of statements our clients’ customers had to say about customer surveys and see how you can add value to the relationship and your company by conducting a survey.

Douglas MacGregor

Customer Relationship Auditing

“Building superior business relationships through client intelligence”

+27 (11) 805-3588 (direct)

+27 (82) 414-9394 (cell)

douglas@cra.co.za

www.cra.co.za

 

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