The basic concept of business-to-business CRM is frequently identified as allowing the bigger business to be as responsive to the needs of its customer as a small business. In the past of CRM this became translated from “responsive” to “reactive”. Successful larger businesses recognise that they have to be pro-active to find [listening to] the views, concerns, needs and levels of satisfaction from their customers. Paper-based surveys, such as those left in hotel bedrooms, usually have a low response rate and are usually completed by customers that have a grievance. Telephone-based interviews are often influenced by the Cassandra phenomenon. Face-to-face interviews are expensive and can be led by the interviewer.
A big, international hotel chain wished to get more business travellers. They made a decision to conduct a customer satisfaction survey to learn whatever they required to enhance their services for this kind of guest. A written survey was put into each room and guests were required to fill it up out. However, once the survey period was complete, your accommodation found that the only individuals who had filled in the surveys were children as well as their grandparents!
A big manufacturing company conducted the first year of what was created to become Customer survey. The first year, the satisfaction score was 94%. The second year, with the exact same basic survey topics, but using another survey vendor, the satisfaction score dropped to 64%. Ironically, simultaneously, their overall revenues doubled!
The questions were simpler and phrased differently. The transaction in the questions was different. The format in the survey was different. The targeted respondents were in a different management level. The Entire Satisfaction question was placed at the conclusion of the survey.
Although all client satisfaction surveys are used for gathering peoples’ opinions, survey designs vary dramatically long, content and format. Analysis techniques may utilize a wide variety of charts, graphs and narrative interpretations. Companies often utilize a survey to evaluate their business strategies, and several base their entire strategic business plan upon their survey’s results. BUT…troubling questions often emerge.
Are the results always accurate? …Sometimes accurate? …Whatsoever accurate? Exist “hidden pockets of customer discontent” that a survey overlooks? Can the survey information be trusted enough to take major action with assurance?
Because the examples above show, different survey designs, methodologies and population characteristics will dramatically modify the outcomes of market research. Therefore, it behoves a company to create absolutely confident that their survey process is accurate enough to create a true representation of their customers’ opinions. Failing to do this, there is no way the company are able to use the outcomes for precise action planning.
The characteristics of any survey’s design, as well as the data collection methodologies employed to conduct the survey, require careful forethought to make certain comprehensive, accurate, and correct results. The discussion on the next page summarizes several key “rules of thumb” that must be followed in case a survey is to become company’s most valued strategic business tool.
Survey questions should be categorized into three types: Overall Satisfaction question – “How satisfied have you been overall with XYZ Company?” Key Attributes – satisfaction with key areas of business, e.g. Sales, Marketing, Operations, etc. Drill Down – satisfaction with issues that are unique to every attribute, and upon which action could be taken to directly remedy that Key Attribute’s issues.
The Entire Satisfaction real question is placed after the survey so that its answer is going to be afflicted with a far more thorough thinking, allowing respondents to get first considered answers to other questions. A survey, if constructed properly, will yield a great deal of information. These design elements should be taken into account: First, the survey should be kept to your reasonable length. Over 60 questions in a written survey can become tiring. Anything over 8-12 questions begins taxing mdycyz patience of participants in a phone survey.
Second, the questions should utilize simple sentences with short words. Third, questions should ask for an opinion on just one single topic at a time. For instance, the question, “how satisfied have you been with our services and products?” cannot be effectively answered since a respondent could have conflicting opinions on products versus services.
Fourth, superlatives including “excellent” or “very” really should not be used in questions. Such words often lead a respondent toward an opinion.
Fifth, “feel great” questions yield subjective answers which little specific action can be taken. For example, the question “how do you feel about XYZ company’s industry position?” produces responses which can be of no practical value with regards to improving an operation.
Though the fill-in-the-dots format is probably the most frequent types of survey, there are significant flaws, which can discredit the outcomes. As an example, all prior answers are visible, which results in comparisons with current questions, undermining candour. Second, some respondents subconsciously tend to search for symmetry inside their responses and turn into guided by the pattern with their responses, not their true feelings. Third, because paper surveys are typically categorized into topic sections, a respondent is much more likely to fill down a column of dots inside a category while giving little consideration to each question. Some INTERNET surveys, constructed within the same “dots” format, often lead to the same tendencies, especially if inconvenient sideways scrolling is necessary to reply to a question.
In a survey conducted by Xerox Corporation, over one third of all responses were discarded because the participants had clearly run down the columns in each category rather than carefully considering each question.
TELEPHONE SURVEYS Though a telephone survey yields a far more accurate response than a paper survey, they could likewise have inherent flaws that impede quality results, such as:
First, each time a respondent’s identity is clearly known, concern over the potential of being challenged or confronted with negative responses later on generates a strong positive bias in their replies (the so-called “Cassandra Phenomenon”.)
Second, research indicates that folks become friendlier as a conversation grows longer, thus influencing question responses.
Third, human nature states that people enjoy being liked. Therefore, gender biases, accents, perceived intelligence, or compassion all influence responses. Similarly, senior management egos often emerge when trying to convey their wisdom.
Fourth, telephone surveys are intrusive on a senior manager’s time. An unannounced phone call may create a preliminary negative impression from the survey. Many respondents could be partially focused on the clock as opposed to the questions. Optimum responses are dependent upon a respondents’ clear mind and free time, 2 things that senior management often lacks. In a recent multi-national survey where targeted respondents were offered the choice of a phone or some other methods, ALL select the other methods.
Taking precautionary steps, like keeping the survey brief and making use of only highly-trained callers who minimize idle conversation, will help minimize the previously mentioned issues, and definitely will not get rid of them.
The goal of any survey is to capture an agent cross-part of opinions throughout a team of people. Unfortunately, unless a majority of the folks participate, two factors will influence the outcomes:
First, negative people have a tendency to answer a survey more frequently than positive because human nature encourages “venting” negative emotions. A low response rate will generally produce more negative results (see drawing).
Second, a reduced amount of a population is less representative of the whole. As an example, if 12 people are motivated to take a survey and 25% respond, then your opinions in the other nine folks are unknown and might be entirely different. However, if 75% respond, then only three opinions are unknown. One other nine will be more very likely to represent the opinions from the whole group. Anybody can assume that the higher the response rate, the more accurate the snap-shot of opinions.
Totally Satisfied vs. Very Satisfied ……Debates have raged over the scales employed to depict amounts of customer satisfaction. Recently, however, studies have definitively proven that a “totally satisfied” customer is between 3 and 10 times very likely to initiate a repurchase, which measuring this “top-box” category is quite a bit more precise than any other means. Moreover, surveys which measure percentages of “totally satisfied” customers instead of the traditional amount of “very satisfied” and “somewhat satisfied,” provide an infinitely more accurate indicator of business growth.
Other Scale issues…..There are other rules of thumb that could be used to ensure more valuable results:
Many surveys provide a “neutral” choice over a five-point scale for those who might not wish to answer a matter, or for people who are unable to produce a decision. This “bail-out” option decreases the quantity of opinions, thus diminishing the survey’s validity. Surveys which use “insufficient information,” as a more definitive middle-box choice persuade a respondent to create a decision, unless they just have too little knowledge to respond to the question.
Scales of 1-10 (or 1-100%) are perceived differently between age groups. People who were schooled employing a percentage grading system often think about a 59% to get “flunking.” These deep-rooted tendencies often skew different peoples’ perceptions of survey results.
There are a few additional details that will enhance the overall polish of any survey. While market research should be a fitness in communications excellence, the experience of having a survey should also be positive for your respondent, along with valuable for that survey sponsor.
First, People – Those in charge of acting upon issues revealed in the survey should be fully involved in the survey development process. A “team leader” should be accountable for ensuring that all pertinent business categories are included (as much as 10 is good), which designated individuals take responsibility for addressing the final results for every Key Attribute.
Second, Respondent Validation – After the names of potential survey respondents have been selected, they may be individually called and “invited” to participate. This step ensures the individual is willing to accept survey, and elicits an agreement to do this, thus enhancing the response rate. Additionally, it ensures the person’s name, title, and address are correct, a place where inaccuracies are commonplace.
Third, Questions – Open-ended questions are typically best avoided in favour of simple, concise, one subject questions. The questions also need to be randomised, mixing the topics, forcing the respondent to get continually thinking about an alternative subject, and never building upon a solution through the previous question. Finally, questions ought to be presented in positive tones, which not merely helps maintain an objective and uniform attitude while answering the survey questions, but enables uniform interpretation of the results.
Fourth, Results – Each respondent receives a synopsis of the survey results, either in writing or – preferably – face-to-face. By giving in the outset to share the results from the survey with every respondent, interest is generated during this process, the response rate increases, as well as the company is left with a standing invitation to come back for the customer later and close the communication loop. Furthermore that provide a means of dealing and exploring identified issues on the personal level, nevertheless it often increases an individual’s willingness to sign up in later surveys.
A well structured customer care survey can provide a wealth of invaluable market intelligence that human nature will not otherwise allow usage of. Properly done, it can be a method of establishing performance benchmarks, measuring improvement over time, building individual customer relationships, identifying customers vulnerable to loss, and improving overall customer care, loyalty and revenues. In case a company is not careful, however, it may be a source of misguided direction, wrong decisions and wasted money.