How to Develop an Effective Customer Satisfaction Survey
By Ira Kerns, Managing Director, GuideStar Research www.guidestarco.com, 212-426-2333
GUIDESTAR RESEARCH WHITE PAPER
What to Measure
A basic and effective baseline customer satisfaction survey program should focus on measuring customer perceptions. How well does your company deliver on the critical success factors and dimensions of the business as defined by the customer? For example, is your service prompt and is your staff courteous? How responsive and understanding of the customer's problem are your representatives? The findings of company performance should be analyzed both with all your customers as well as by key segments. Sometimes an organization's customer service personnel are included in the survey so that a gap analysis can be performed to determine differences in perceptions between the service providers and the customers.
Relevancy of Dimensions & Factors
An effective customer satisfaction survey reflects what respondents care about most. Pre-survey interviews with customers to surface and identify the dimensions and factors they consider important ensure that the survey questionnaire does not overlook one or more important areas and specific service details. If at all possible, pre-survey interviews, especially when developing a customer satisfaction baseline questionnaire, should be conducted with customers to ensure all important service dimensions are included.
More Return for your Research Investment
In today's highly competitive environment, companies need an extra edge to enhance and build upon their relationships with customers. Many of our clients find that high quality customer service can make the difference in winning and retaining customers or losing them. Research shows that organizations that employ customer satisfaction research that goes beyond customer satisfaction, loyalty and retention measurements to identify and measure perceived customer value can deliver much more return on their research investment. By determining which factors produce the highest perceived value by customers, research can provide the knowledge to both correct deficiencies in today's customer service and assist in building high value strategic, customer service offerings for the future. Special sets of questions can built into surveys to learn about the perceived value of services and how a company stacks up against its primary competitors in delivering on the critical value factors.
Organization of a Basic Customer Satisfaction Survey
• Section 1. Overall dimension rating questions • Section 2. Ratings by service dimensions and specific service factors • Section 3. Respondent demographics
Section 1. - Overall Rating Questions
This first part of the survey (or the first part of each dimension rating section) will typically have an overall rating question for each major customer service dimension plus one or two related open-end questions at the end of the dimension's section. Scale and question examples: (5 point scale - Excellent, Good, Average, Fair, Poor) (5-point scale - Very Satisfied, Satisfied, Neutral/Not Sure, Dissatisfied, Very Dissatisfied)
GUIDESTAR RESEARCH - WHITE PAPER - DECEMBER 2005
GUIDESTAR RESEARCH WHITE PAPER
Please rate ABC's customer service overall. Please rate ABC's customer support overall. Please rate ABC's technical product training courses overall. Please rate ABC's documentation overall. Overall, how satisfied are you with ABC's customer service? Overall, how satisfied are you with ABC's customer support? Overall, how satisfied are you with ABC's customer technical product training courses? Overall, how satisfied are you with ABC's documentation? In addition, reference and retention questions may be added.
How likely would you be to recommend ABC's customer service to a friend (or colleague)? How likely would you be to buy or use ABC's customer service