Survey Design Elements
Satisfaction Surveys for Customers
Regarding surveys, there is very little numerical evidence of the financial benefit they can provide. This is because each company is different, and every office handles their clients (external and internal stakeholders) in unique ways. Yet, research has found that 86% of buyers will pay more money for a better experience, but only 1% of consumers feel that vendors consistently meet their expectations. To help your company understand your customer’s expectations – and to measure where you currently are and if you are meeting customer needs sufficiently – you develop and manage customer satisfaction surveys. You can also use surveys to identify additional services or offerings your customers would like to see you help them with and develop ideas on what you can do to improve internal processes.
Customer satisfaction surveys are an important piece of your customer-centered initiatives. More information about when to administer them, how to administer them, and the types of questions they could contain (and why) are identified in the paragraphs below. This should provide you with a solid foundation to getting started with customer surveys.
Survey timing really depends on a few variables such as the number of customers served, the length of time and related rate of customer/supplier interactions, and the type of product/service provided. No matter when you decide to submit a survey to your customer, the most important thing about timing is that you want the customer’s experience with your brand to be fresh on their mind. You can survey your customers in a couple of ways.
Generating a link for them to supply responses online is one method which can be
Delivered in an email
Provided for them to complete on-site (trade show or other similar venue)
Printed on a business card and hand-delivered to your customer at the end of the transaction.
You can also call them directly and ask a series of guided questions which would make the entire interaction seem like an informal interview. No matter which avenue you decide to take, the most important aspect is that you must write down your findings for future examination.
Regarding timing, you may be asking when you should do this? What follows are some examples of when.
After your customer schedules with your front desk
Feedback after scheduling is important because it will let you know if they were satisfied with your facilities/processes/staff within your lobby/waiting room and their perceptions of your front desk associates. Customer perceptions of your front desk transactions are deeply valuable as they often set the tone for your customer as they engage with your brand. It’s best to ask questions related to facility appearance and scheduling ease-of-use (How easy was it to deal with our company today?”). Keep it short and ask at the point-of-sale as 52% of survey-takers say they would not spend more than 3 minutes completing a survey.
After the treatment/appointment
Post-treatment evaluations will indicate their satisfaction with your service and the people responsible for delivering it (Physical Therapy Assistants, Dental Technicians, Graphic Designers, etc.) We recommend asking net promoter score questions here (How likely are you to recommend ____________ to a friend) as well as customer satisfaction questions (1-5 Likert scale; Highly Satisfied – Highly Unsatisfied).
Six months after service
Six months out is a good time to measure customer loyalty. This allows you to stay on their mind by providing a touch-point, and gives you good feedback about their impression of your brand and your offerings. Research has shown that 87% of survey-takers want to have a say in a company’s future products/services. Now would be a good time to find out what you could provide for them that would make them consider coming back for a visit.
If you are a medical provider, this would be a good time to give them knowledge of the cash-based service offerings you have in place, and a way for you to provide them with a digital rack card in addition to the survey link should you elect to obtain responses via email.
After any customer service encounter
If your customer initiates contact with customer service, a customer service survey should go out to them immediately to ensure their issue was resolved. The information this survey would contain can be used to help you mend or soften broken connections with your customer base, as well as help you to understand how effective your processes are. You want to know you are doing a good job, and your customer wants to know they are being heard.
You want to know what kind of questions you should ask? A couple of types were identified in the preceding paragraphs and below you’ll find more examples.
Demographic questions are important to ask because they help you understand your customers. Most important to you would probably be which customers are loving your products or services, and which customers feel you aren’t matching their expectations. Hopefully you have much of this data collected somewhere else to save you from asking for it within your survey. Should you need to ask, you can collect demographic information on the following topics:
Race and Ethnicity
Household/ Business Income
Residential/Business Zip Code
Dependent/Employee Information (count, age, etc.)
There is a definite need to identify and build upon important areas of your company’s customer experience. Satisfaction questions allow you to single-out your priorities and bolster them appropriately as needed, if needed, pending the results of your data analysis. Some topics you can assess with satisfaction questions are:
Customer Service experiences
Sales processes and communications
Warranty or repair experience received
Workmanship; Quality of Service/Products
Open Text/Feedback Question
Open text-boxes can provide you with amazingly rich feedback about specific topics or experiences which you can internally follow up on. We love designing surveys with open text feedback options for our clients to receive supplemental information not otherwise covered by “degree of satisfaction”-type questions.
Action/Follow Up Questions
Should your customer wish for you to provide personal follow-ups to remedy a negative experience, this is the opportunity for you to do so. Incorporating a simple “Would it be okay for us to follow up with you about your responses” and capturing their personal information in subsequent questions will allow for you to talk one-on-one with your customers and personally hear about their experiences and praises of the interaction they had with your brand.
A research study by Vision Critical found that 86% of customers are more likely to participate in a survey to make a difference in the world. Use that fact as a solid lead-in for the research endeavors at your company. Make sure your customers know they are helping to make a difference in the way your company operates. Highlight your acknowledgement that their voice matters.