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Customer Satisfaction Surveys

Given that the cost of acquiring new customers exceeds cost of keeping an existing customer several fold, businesses learned fairly quickly that the on-going satisfaction of their customers is critical to their success.

The following points should be considered when designing and deploying a customer satisfaction study:

  1. Determine the goal of the survey. It is OK to conduct overall satisfaction studies once or twice a year, or tied to where a customer is in their lifecycle as a customer.
  2. Short surveys result in higher response rates.
  3. Consider pre-populating known data such as demographic information if you plan on segmenting during analysis. This reduces the length of surveys as well as guarantees information is accurate.
  4. Consider rewarding customers who respond by excluding them from another survey for some definite period.
  5. Consider all applicable modes of surveys. Will you be able to reach your customers electronically? Will making the survey online introduce its own biases?
  6. Time your survey to reach participants at a time they are likely to be least occupied.
  7. Open-ended questions can result in ideas that were not even on your radar. Consider including such questions although you might want to limit the length of responses.
  8. For online surveys, if the survey is long, consider using a feature that allows customers to save partially completed survey and return to it later.
  9. Experts disagree on the significance of any one question. However, Fredrick Reichheld, in his book Loyalty Rules, made a strong case for a concept called Net Promoter Score. This score measures the percentage of your customers who would recommend you (your product or services) to a friend. Reichheld argues that this is the single most reliable indicator of your company’s ability to grow.

Sample Customer Satisfaction Surveys