The fundamental idea of business-to-business CRM is often identified as allowing the bigger business to be as responsive to the requirements of its customer as a small business. In the past of CRM this became translated from “responsive” to “reactive”. Successful larger businesses acknowledge that they have to be pro-active in locating [paying attention to] the views, concerns, needs and levels of satisfaction from their customers. Paper-based surveys, including those left in hotel bedrooms, tend to have a low response rate and are usually completed by customers who have a grievance. Telephone-based interviews are frequently affected by the Cassandra phenomenon. Face-to-face interviews are pricey and can be led by the interviewer.
A large, international hotel chain desired to have more business travellers. They chose to conduct a client satisfaction survey to discover whatever they required to improve their services for this type of guest. A written survey was placed in each room and guests were motivated to fill it up out. However, if the survey period was complete, the resort discovered that the only real individuals who had filled in the surveys were children along with their grandparents!
A big manufacturing company conducted the initial year of what was designed to get Guest satisfaction survey. The very first year, the satisfaction score was 94%. The next 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 with a different management level. The Entire Satisfaction question was placed at the conclusion 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 numerous charts, graphs and narrative interpretations. Companies often use a survey to check their business strategies, and many base their business plan upon their survey’s results. BUT…troubling questions often emerge.
Are definitely the results always accurate? …Sometimes accurate? …In any way accurate? Exist “hidden pockets of customer discontent” that the 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 outcomes of a survey. Therefore, it behoves a company to create absolutely certain that their survey process is accurate enough to create a genuine representation of the customers’ opinions. Failing to do this, there is absolutely no way the company can use the final results for precise action planning.
The characteristics of any survey’s design, and also 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 if 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 may be delivered to directly remedy that Key Attribute’s issues.
The Entire Satisfaction question for you is placed after the survey to ensure that its answer is going to be impacted by a much more in depth thinking, allowing respondents to get first considered answers to other questions. Market research, if constructed properly, will yield a great deal of information. These design elements needs to be considered: First, the survey must 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 example, the question, “how satisfied are you with the services and products?” should not be effectively answered since a respondent might have conflicting opinions on products versus services.
Fourth, superlatives including “excellent” or “very” should not be used in questions. Such words often lead a respondent toward an opinion.
Fifth, “feel good” questions yield subjective answers where little specific action can be taken. For instance, the question “how can you feel about XYZ company’s industry position?” produces responses that are of no practical value with regards to improving a surgical procedure.
Even though the fill-in-the-dots format is among the most common varieties of survey, you will find significant flaws, which can discredit the results. For example, all prior answers are visible, which results in comparisons with current questions, undermining candour. Second, some respondents subconsciously tend to look for symmetry in their responses and turn into guided from the pattern of their responses, not their true feelings. Third, because paper surveys are generally categorized into topic sections, a respondent is a lot more likely to fill down a column of dots within 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 important to answer a question.
In a survey conducted by Xerox Corporation, over one third of all the responses were discarded since 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 more accurate response than a paper survey, they may also 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 date produces a strong positive bias inside their replies (the so-called “Cassandra Phenomenon”.)
Second, research indicates that people become friendlier as being a conversation grows longer, thus influencing question responses.
Third, human nature states that people like to be liked. Therefore, gender biases, accents, perceived intelligence, or compassion all influence responses. Similarly, senior management egos often emerge when attempting to convey their wisdom.
Fourth, telephone surveys are intrusive on the senior manager’s time. An unannounced call may create a preliminary negative impression from the survey. Many respondents may be partially focused on the clock as opposed to the questions. Optimum responses are dependent upon a respondents’ clear mind and free time, two things that senior management often lacks. In a recent multi-national survey where targeted respondents were offered the choice of a telephone or some other methods, ALL select the other methods.
Taking precautionary steps, including keeping the survey brief and using only highly-trained callers who minimize idle conversation, may help minimize the previously mentioned issues, and can not get rid of them.
The objective of a survey is to capture a representative cross-section of opinions throughout a group of people. Unfortunately, unless most of the people participate, two factors will influence the final results:
First, negative people tend to answer a survey more often than positive because human nature encourages “venting” negative emotions. A minimal response rate will generally produce more negative results (see drawing).
Second, a lesser portion of a population is less associated with the entire. For instance, if 12 folks are required to have a survey and 25% respond, then the opinions from the other nine people are unknown and might be entirely different. However, if 75% respond, then only three opinions are unknown. Another nine may well be more prone to represent the opinions of the whole group. Anybody can think 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 utilized to depict levels of customer care. Recently, however, reports have definitively proven that a “totally satisfied” customer is between 3 and ten times more likely to initiate a repurchase, and this measuring this “top-box” category is significantly more precise than some 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 economic growth.
Other Scale issues…..There are more rules of thumb that may be used to ensure more valuable results:
Many surveys offer a “neutral” choice over a five-point scale for individuals who might not desire to answer a question, or for those who are unable to produce 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 create a decision, unless they simply have not enough knowledge to reply to the question.
Scales of 1-10 (or 1-100%) are perceived differently between age groups. People who were schooled utilizing a percentage grading system often consider 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 improve the overall polish of the survey. While a survey needs to be an exercise in communications excellence, the knowledge of having a survey ought to be positive for that respondent, in addition to valuable for that survey sponsor.
First, People – Those accountable for acting upon issues revealed inside the survey needs to be fully engaged in the survey development process. A “team leader” should be accountable for making certain all pertinent business categories are included (approximately 10 is good), and that designated individuals take responsibility for answering the results for each and every Key Attribute.
Second, Respondent Validation – Once the names of potential survey respondents happen to be selected, they are individually called and “invited” to sign up. This task ensures the individual is willing to accept the survey, and elicits a binding agreement to accomplish this, thus enhancing the response rate. In addition, it ensures the person’s name, title, and address are correct, an area in which inaccuracies are commonplace.
Third, Questions – Open-ended questions are generally best avoided in favour of simple, concise, one subject questions. The questions should also be randomised, mixing the topics, forcing the respondent to become continually thinking of another subject, and not building upon a solution through the previous question. Finally, questions should be presented in positive tones, which not only helps maintain an unbiased and uniform attitude while answering the survey questions, but provides for uniform interpretation from the results.
Fourth, Results – Each respondent gets a synopsis in the survey results, in a choice of writing or – preferably – personally. By offering in the outset to discuss the outcomes in the survey with each respondent, interest is generated along the way, the response rate increases, and also the company is left having a standing invitation to return to the customer later and close the communication loop. Furthermore that offer a method of dealing and exploring identified issues on the personal level, but it often increases an individual’s willingness to participate in later surveys.
A highly structured client satisfaction survey provides a great deal of invaluable market intelligence that human nature is not going to otherwise allow access to. Properly done, it could be a way of establishing performance benchmarks, measuring improvement as time passes, building individual customer relationships, identifying customers in danger of loss, and improving overall client satisfaction, loyalty and revenues. If a company is not careful, however, it may turn into a source of misguided direction, wrong decisions and wasted money.