The basic idea of business-to-business CRM is often described as allowing the larger business to be as responsive to the needs of its customer as a small business. In the early days of CRM this became translated from “responsive” to “reactive”. Successful larger businesses acknowledge that they need to be pro-active to find [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 complaint. Telephone-based interviews are often affected by the Cassandra phenomenon. Face-to-face interviews are expensive and can be led by the interviewer.
A sizable, international hotel chain wanted to have more business travellers. They chose to conduct a consumer satisfaction survey to learn whatever they needed to enhance their services for this kind of guest. A written survey was put into each room and guests were motivated to fill it up out. However, when the survey period was complete, the hotel learned that the only real individuals who had filled in the surveys were children as well as their grandparents!
A large manufacturing company conducted the first year of what was made to get Guest satisfaction survey. The very first year, the satisfaction score was 94%. The second year, with similar 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 from the questions was different. The format from the survey was different. The targeted respondents were at a different management level. The Overall Satisfaction question was placed at the end of the survey.
Although all customer care surveys are used for gathering peoples’ opinions, survey designs vary dramatically in size, content and format. Analysis techniques may utilize numerous charts, graphs and narrative interpretations. Companies often utilize a survey to check their business strategies, and several base their business plan upon their survey’s results. BUT…troubling questions often emerge.
Would be 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 take major action with confidence?
Because the examples above show, different survey designs, methodologies and population characteristics will dramatically change the results of market research. Therefore, it behoves a business to make absolutely certain that their survey process is accurate enough to produce a genuine representation with their customers’ opinions. Failing to do this, there is no way the company may 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 sure comprehensive, accurate, and correct results. The discussion on the next page summarizes several key “rules of thumb” that must be adhered to if a survey is to turn into a company’s most valued strategic business tool.
Survey questions needs to be categorized into three types: Overall Satisfaction question – “How satisfied have you been overall with XYZ Company?” Key Attributes – satisfaction with key parts of business, e.g. Sales, Marketing, Operations, etc. Drill Down – satisfaction with problems that are unique to each and every attribute, and upon which action could be taken to directly remedy that Key Attribute’s issues.
The Overall Satisfaction question for you is placed at the conclusion of the survey in order that its answer will likely be affected by a more thorough thinking, allowing respondents to have first considered techniques to other questions. A survey, if constructed properly, will yield a great deal of information. The following design elements should be considered: First, the survey has to be kept to a reasonable length. Over 60 questions in a written survey will 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 only one topic at any given time. For instance, the question, “how satisfied have you been with this products and services?” should not be effectively answered just because a respondent may have conflicting opinions on products versus services.
Fourth, superlatives such as “excellent” or “very” should not be utilized in questions. Such words tend to lead a respondent toward an opinion.
Fifth, “feel happy” questions yield subjective answers on which little specific action may be taken. As an example, the question “how do you feel about XYZ company’s industry position?” produces responses which can be of no practical value in terms of improving an operation.
Though the fill-in-the-dots format is one of the most typical kinds of survey, there are significant flaws, which can discredit the outcomes. For example, all prior answers are visible, which results in comparisons with current questions, undermining candour. Second, some respondents subconsciously tend to search for symmetry within their responses and become guided through the pattern of the responses, not their true feelings. Third, because paper surveys are generally categorized into topic sections, a respondent is more apt to fill down a column of dots in a category while giving little consideration to each question. Some INTERNET surveys, constructed within the same “dots” format, often cause the same tendencies, specifically if inconvenient sideways scrolling is essential to respond to a matter.
In a survey conducted by Xerox Corporation, over 1 / 3 of 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 more accurate response when compared to a paper survey, they might also provide 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 produces a strong positive bias inside their replies (the so-called “Cassandra Phenomenon”.)
Second, studies show that folks become friendlier as 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 attemping to convey their wisdom.
Fourth, telephone surveys are intrusive over a senior manager’s time. An unannounced telephone call may create a preliminary negative impression of the survey. Many respondents could be partially focused on the clock instead of the questions. Optimum responses are depending on 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 option of a telephone or other methods, ALL select the other methods.
Taking precautionary steps, including keeping the survey brief and ultizing only highly-trained callers who minimize idle conversation, will help minimize the aforementioned issues, but will not get rid of them.
The objective of a survey is always to capture an agent cross-section of opinions throughout a team of people. Unfortunately, unless most of the individuals participate, two factors will influence the outcomes:
First, negative people tend to answer a survey more often than positive because human nature encourages “venting” negative emotions. A minimal response rate will usually produce more negative results (see drawing).
Second, a smaller amount of a population is less representative of the whole. For instance, if 12 individuals are asked to take a survey and 25% respond, then the opinions of 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 prone to represent the opinions of the whole group. Anybody can assume that the higher the response rate, the greater accurate the snap-shot of opinions.
Totally Satisfied vs. Very Satisfied ……Debates have raged within the scales utilized to depict levels of customer satisfaction. Recently, however, reports have definitively proven that the “totally satisfied” customer is between 3 and ten times more likely to initiate a repurchase, and that measuring this “top-box” category is significantly more precise than any other means. Moreover, surveys which measure percentages of “totally satisfied” customers instead of the traditional sum of “very satisfied” and “somewhat satisfied,” provide an infinitely more accurate indicator of economic growth.
Other Scale issues…..There are other rules of thumb that could be used to ensure more valuable results:
Many surveys offer a “neutral” choice on a five-point scale for people who might not desire to answer an issue, or for those who are unable to produce a decision. This “bail-out” option decreases the amount of opinions, thus diminishing the survey’s validity. Surveys designed to use “insufficient information,” as a more definitive middle-box choice persuade a respondent to make a decision, unless they just have not enough knowledge to reply to the question.
Scales of 1-10 (or 1-100%) are perceived differently between age ranges. Those 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 several additional details that can improve the overall polish of a survey. While a survey needs to be a workout in communications excellence, the knowledge of having a survey also need to be positive for your respondent, in addition to valuable for your survey sponsor.
First, People – Those responsible for acting upon issues revealed inside the survey ought to be fully involved in the survey development process. A “team leader” should be accountable for making certain all pertinent business categories are included (approximately 10 is perfect), which designated individuals be responsible for answering the results for every Key Attribute.
Second, Respondent Validation – When the names of potential survey respondents have been selected, these are individually called and “invited” to sign up. This task ensures the individual is willing to accept the survey, and elicits an 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 usually best avoided in favour of simple, concise, one subject questions. The questions ought to be randomised, mixing in the topics, forcing the respondent to be continually considering an alternative subject, and never building upon a response through the previous question. Finally, questions ought to be presented in positive tones, which not just helps maintain an objective and uniform attitude while answering the survey questions, but provides for uniform interpretation in the results.
Fourth, Results – Each respondent receives a synopsis in the survey results, either in writing or – preferably – in person. By offering in the outset to talk about the final results of the survey with each respondent, interest is generated during this process, the response rate increases, and the company is left with a standing invitation to come back towards the customer later and close the communication loop. Not only does that offer a means of dealing and exploring identified issues over a personal level, nevertheless it often increases an individual’s willingness to sign up in later surveys.
A highly structured client satisfaction survey can offer an abundance of invaluable market intelligence that human nature will never otherwise allow usage of. Properly done, it may be a method of establishing performance benchmarks, measuring improvement as time passes, building individual customer relationships, identifying customers vulnerable to loss, and improving overall customer care, loyalty and revenues. If a company is not careful, however, it can be a source of misguided direction, wrong decisions and wasted money.