The basic concept of business-to-business CRM is often described as allowing the bigger 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”. Profitable larger businesses understand that they have to be pro-active to find [paying attention to] the views, concerns, needs and levels of satisfaction from their customers. Paper-based surveys, such as 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 often affected 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 decided to conduct a consumer satisfaction survey to learn the things they necessary to increase their services for this kind of guest. A written survey was placed in each room and guests were required to fill it out. However, when the survey period was complete, the resort discovered that the sole those who had completed the surveys were children as well as their grandparents!
A big manufacturing company conducted the very first year of the items was designed to become 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. An order of the questions was different. The format of the survey was different. The targeted respondents were with a different management level. The Entire Satisfaction question was placed at the end of the survey.
Although all client satisfaction surveys can be used for gathering peoples’ opinions, survey designs vary dramatically in size, content and format. Analysis techniques may utilize a multitude of charts, graphs and narrative interpretations. Companies often make use of a survey to check their business strategies, and several base their strategic business plan upon their survey’s results. BUT…troubling questions often emerge.
Are definitely the results always accurate? …Sometimes accurate? …Whatsoever accurate? Are available “hidden pockets of customer discontent” that the survey overlooks? Can the survey information be trusted enough to take major action with assurance?
As the examples above show, different survey designs, methodologies and population characteristics will dramatically change the results of a survey. Therefore, it behoves an organization to help make absolutely confident that their survey process is accurate enough to create a real representation of the customers’ opinions. Failing to accomplish this, there is not any way the organization may use the outcomes for precise action planning.
The characteristics of a survey’s design, and 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 really must be adhered to in case a survey is to become a company’s most valued strategic business tool.
Survey questions needs to be categorized into three types: Overall Satisfaction question – “How satisfied are you 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 every attribute, and upon which action could be taken to directly remedy that Key Attribute’s issues.
The General Satisfaction real question is placed at the end of the survey to ensure that its answer will likely be impacted by a far more comprehensive thinking, allowing respondents to get first considered techniques to other questions. A survey, if constructed properly, will yield a wealth of information. These design elements needs to be considered: First, the survey has to be kept to your reasonable length. Over 60 questions in a written survey will end up 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 demand an opinion on just one single topic at a time. For example, the question, “how satisfied are you with our products and services?” can not be effectively answered just because a respondent could have conflicting opinions on products versus services.
Fourth, superlatives including “excellent” or “very” really should not be found in questions. Such words often lead a respondent toward an opinion.
Fifth, “feel happy” questions yield subjective answers on which little specific action could be taken. For example, the question “how can 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, you will find significant flaws, which could discredit the outcomes. For instance, all prior answers are visible, which leads to 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 much more apt to fill down a column of dots inside a category while giving little consideration to every question. Some INTERNET surveys, constructed in the same “dots” format, often lead to the same tendencies, particularly if inconvenient sideways scrolling is essential to reply to an issue.
In a survey conducted by Xerox Corporation, over 1 / 3rd of all responses were discarded because the participants had clearly run on the columns in each category as opposed to carefully considering each question.
TELEPHONE SURVEYS Though a telephone survey yields a far more accurate response when compared to a paper survey, they might also have inherent flaws that impede quality results, such as:
First, each time a respondent’s identity is clearly known, concern over the chance 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 show that individuals 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 attempting to convey their wisdom.
Fourth, telephone surveys are intrusive on the senior manager’s time. An unannounced phone call may create an initial negative impression of the survey. Many respondents may be partially focused on the clock instead of the questions. Optimum responses are dependent upon a respondents’ clear mind and leisure time, two 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, like keeping the survey brief and using only highly-trained callers who minimize idle conversation, will help minimize the previously mentioned issues, and can not eliminate them.
The goal of the survey is always to capture a representative cross-part of opinions throughout a small group of people. Unfortunately, unless a majority of the folks 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 reduced amount of a population is less representative of the entire. For example, if 12 people are motivated to require a survey and 25% respond, then your opinions of the other nine individuals are unknown and may be entirely different. However, if 75% respond, then only three opinions are unknown. The other nine could be more likely to represent the opinions in the whole group. You can assume that the higher the response rate, the greater accurate the snap-shot of opinions.
Totally Satisfied vs. Very Satisfied ……Debates have raged on the scales used to depict degrees of customer care. Recently, however, studies have definitively proven which a “totally satisfied” customer is between 3 and ten times more prone to initiate a repurchase, and this measuring this “top-box” category is quite a bit more precise than some other means. Moreover, surveys which measure percentages of “totally satisfied” customers rather than 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 may be used to ensure more valuable results:
Many surveys provide a “neutral” choice over a five-point scale for individuals who might not exactly want to answer an issue, or for those who are unable to make a decision. This “bail-out” option decreases the quantity of opinions, thus diminishing the survey’s validity. Surveys designed to use “insufficient information,” being a more definitive middle-box choice persuade a respondent to create a decision, unless they just have too little knowledge to reply to the question.
Scales of 1-10 (or 1-100%) are perceived differently between age brackets. Those who were schooled using 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 several additional details that may improve the overall polish of any survey. While market research should be an exercise in communications excellence, the experience of getting a survey also need to be positive for your respondent, in addition to valuable for the survey sponsor.
First, People – Those in charge of acting upon issues revealed in the survey ought to be fully involved in the survey development process. A “team leader” should be accountable for making sure all pertinent business categories are included (approximately 10 is perfect), and that designated individuals assume responsibilty for answering the outcomes for each Key Attribute.
Second, Respondent Validation – After the names of potential survey respondents have been selected, they may be individually called and “invited” to participate in. This step ensures the individual is willing to accept survey, and elicits a binding agreement to do this, thus enhancing the response rate. It also ensures the person’s name, title, and address are correct, a place where 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 the topics, forcing the respondent to become continually thinking about an alternative subject, and never building upon a solution from the previous question. Finally, questions should be presented in positive tones, which not only helps maintain an objective and uniform attitude while answering the survey questions, but provides for uniform interpretation from the results.
Fourth, Results – Each respondent gets a synopsis from the survey results, in both writing or – preferably – face-to-face. By offering at the outset to discuss the results of the survey with every respondent, interest is generated during this process, the response rate increases, and also the company is left with a standing invitation to return for the customer later and close the communication loop. Furthermore which provide a way of dealing and exploring identified issues on a personal level, however it often increases an individual’s willingness to participate in in later surveys.
A highly structured customer satisfaction survey can offer 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 in danger of loss, and improving overall client satisfaction, loyalty and revenues. If a clients are not careful, however, it could become a way to obtain misguided direction, wrong decisions and wasted money.