The fundamental idea of business-to-business CRM is often described as allowing the larger business to be as responsive to the requirements of its customer as a small business. In the early days of CRM this became translated from “responsive” to “reactive”. Effective larger businesses acknowledge that they need to be pro-active in locating [hearing] the views, concerns, needs and levels of satisfaction from their customers. Paper-based surveys, like those left in hotel bedrooms, generally have a low response rate and are usually completed by customers who have a grievance. Telephone-based interviews tend to be influenced by the Cassandra phenomenon. Face-to-face interviews are costly and can be led by the interviewer.
A sizable, international hotel chain wished to get more business travellers. They decided to conduct a customer satisfaction survey to discover what they necessary to improve their services for this sort of guest. A written survey was placed in each room and guests were required to fill it up out. However, once the survey period was complete, your accommodation found that the sole individuals who had filled in the surveys were children as well as their grandparents!
A large manufacturing company conducted the first year of the things was made to get Customer satisfaction survey. The very first year, the satisfaction score was 94%. The 2nd year, with the same basic survey topics, but using another survey vendor, the satisfaction score dropped to 64%. Ironically, concurrently, their overall revenues doubled!
The questions were simpler and phrased differently. The order 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 end of the survey.
Although all client satisfaction surveys can be used as gathering peoples’ opinions, survey designs vary dramatically in length, content and format. Analysis techniques may utilize a multitude of charts, graphs and narrative interpretations. Companies often utilize a survey to test their business strategies, and several base their entire business strategy upon their survey’s results. BUT…troubling questions often emerge.
Are definitely the results always accurate? …Sometimes accurate? …In any way accurate? Are available “hidden pockets of customer discontent” which a survey overlooks? Can the survey information be trusted enough to consider major action with assurance?
As the examples above show, different survey designs, methodologies and population characteristics will dramatically modify the results of a survey. Therefore, it behoves a business to help make absolutely sure that their survey process is accurate enough to create a real representation of their customers’ opinions. Failing to do this, there is not any way the company are able to use the results for precise action planning.
The characteristics of a 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 definitely be adhered to when a survey is to turn into a company’s most valued strategic business tool.
Survey questions ought to be categorized into three types: Overall Satisfaction question – “How satisfied are you overall with XYZ Company?” Key Attributes – satisfaction with key regions of business, e.g. Sales, Marketing, Operations, etc. Drill Down – satisfaction with problems that are unique to each attribute, and upon which action might be come to directly remedy that Key Attribute’s issues.
The Entire Satisfaction question is placed at the conclusion of the survey to ensure that its answer is going to be afflicted with a much more in depth thinking, allowing respondents to have first considered answers to other questions. A survey, if constructed properly, will yield an abundance of information. The subsequent elements of design ought to be considered: First, the survey must be kept to some 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 any given time. As an example, the question, “how satisfied are you currently with the products and services?” can not be effectively answered since a respondent may have conflicting opinions on products versus services.
Fourth, superlatives such as “excellent” or “very” really should not be found in questions. Such words often lead a respondent toward an opinion.
Fifth, “feel great” questions yield subjective answers on which little specific action may be taken. For example, the question “how will you feel about XYZ company’s industry position?” produces responses that are of no practical value when it comes to improving an operation.
Although the fill-in-the-dots format is probably the most frequent kinds of survey, there are significant flaws, which may discredit the outcomes. As an example, all prior answers are visible, which leads to comparisons with current questions, undermining candour. Second, some respondents subconsciously tend to search for symmetry within their responses and be guided from the pattern with their responses, not their true feelings. Third, because paper surveys are usually categorized into topic sections, a respondent is much more likely to fill down a column of dots in a category while giving little consideration to every question. Some INTERNET surveys, constructed inside the same “dots” format, often result in the same tendencies, particularly if inconvenient sideways scrolling is necessary to answer an issue.
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 instead of carefully considering each question.
TELEPHONE SURVEYS Though a telephone survey yields a far more accurate response compared to a paper survey, they might likewise have inherent flaws that impede quality results, such as:
First, each time a respondent’s identity is clearly known, concern over the possibility of being challenged or confronted with negative responses at a later time creates a strong positive bias in their replies (the so-called “Cassandra Phenomenon”.)
Second, studies have shown that folks become friendlier as being a conversation grows longer, thus influencing question responses.
Third, human nature says that people want to be 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 over a senior manager’s time. An unannounced telephone call may create a primary negative impression from the survey. Many respondents might be partially focused on the clock rather than the questions. Optimum responses are depending on a respondents’ clear mind and spare time, a couple of things that senior management often lacks. In a recent multi-national survey where targeted respondents were offered the choice of a mobile phone or some other methods, ALL select the other methods.
Taking precautionary steps, such as keeping the survey brief and ultizing only highly-trained callers who minimize idle conversation, will help minimize the previously mentioned issues, and definitely will not eliminate them.
The goal of any survey is always to capture a representative cross-section of opinions throughout a small group of people. Unfortunately, unless a majority of the people participate, two factors will influence the final results:
First, negative people have a tendency to answer a survey more frequently than positive because human nature encourages “venting” negative emotions. A small response rate will usually produce more negative results (see drawing).
Second, a reduced percentage of a population is less associated with the whole. For example, if 12 individuals are required to take a survey and 25% respond, then the opinions from the other nine folks are unknown and could be entirely different. However, if 75% respond, then only three opinions are unknown. The other nine may well be more likely to represent the opinions of the whole group. You can think that the larger 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 levels of client satisfaction. In recent years, however, reports have definitively proven that a “totally satisfied” customer is between 3 and 10 times more prone 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 as opposed to the traditional amount of “very satisfied” and “somewhat satisfied,” provide a much more accurate indicator of economic growth.
Other Scale issues…..There are more rules of thumb that are often used to ensure more valuable results:
Many surveys offer a “neutral” choice over a five-point scale for individuals who might not want to answer an issue, or if you are unable to make a decision. This “bail-out” option decreases the quantity of opinions, thus diminishing the survey’s validity. Surveys that use “insufficient information,” as being a more definitive middle-box choice persuade a respondent to make a decision, unless they just have too little knowledge to answer the question.
Scales of 1-10 (or 1-100%) are perceived differently between age ranges. People who were schooled using a percentage grading system often consider a 59% to become “flunking.” These deep-rooted tendencies often skew different peoples’ perceptions of survey results.
There are some additional details that will enhance the overall polish of a survey. While market research needs to be an exercise in communications excellence, the knowledge of getting a survey also need to be positive for that respondent, as well as valuable for the survey sponsor.
First, People – Those responsible for acting upon issues revealed in the survey ought to be fully involved in the survey development process. A “team leader” should be responsible for making certain all pertinent business categories are included (approximately 10 is perfect), which designated individuals take responsibility for answering the outcomes for each Key Attribute.
Second, Respondent Validation – Once the names of potential survey respondents happen to be selected, they may be individually called and “invited” to participate. This task ensures anyone is willing to accept the survey, and elicits a contract to do so, thus enhancing the response rate. Additionally, it ensures the person’s name, title, and address are correct, a place in which inaccuracies are commonplace.
Third, Questions – Open-ended questions are generally best avoided in favour of simple, concise, one subject questions. The questions ought to be randomised, mixing up the topics, forcing the respondent to become continually thinking about a different subject, rather than building upon a solution from your previous question. Finally, questions ought to be presented in positive tones, which not only helps maintain an unbiased and uniform attitude while answering the survey questions, but allows for uniform interpretation from the results.
Fourth, Results – Each respondent gets a synopsis in the survey results, either in writing or – preferably – face-to-face. By giving at the outset to share the final results from the survey with each respondent, interest is generated during this process, the response rate increases, and also the company is left with a standing invitation to come back for the customer later and close the communication loop. Not only does that offer a way of dealing and exploring identified issues on a personal level, nevertheless it often increases an individual’s willingness to participate in later surveys.
A properly structured client satisfaction survey can offer a wealth of invaluable market intelligence that human nature will never otherwise allow use of. Properly done, it could be a method of establishing performance benchmarks, measuring improvement over time, building individual customer relationships, identifying customers at risk of loss, and improving overall customer care, loyalty and revenues. If a company is not careful, however, it may become a supply of misguided direction, wrong decisions and wasted money.