Given that the cost of acquiring new customers exceeds cost of keeping an existing customer several fold, businesses learned fairly quickly that the on-going satisfaction of their customers is critical to their success.
The following points should be considered when designing and deploying a customer satisfaction study:
- Determine the goal of the survey. It is OK to conduct overall satisfaction studies once or twice a year, or tied to where a customer is in their lifecycle as a customer.
- Short surveys result in higher response rates.
- Consider pre-populating known data such as demographic information if you plan on segmenting during analysis. This reduces the length of surveys as well as guarantees information is accurate.
- Consider rewarding customers who respond by excluding them from another survey for some definite period.
- Consider all applicable modes of surveys. Will you be able to reach your customers electronically? Will making the survey online introduce its own biases?
- Time your survey to reach participants at a time they are likely to be least occupied.
- Open-ended questions can result in ideas that were not even on your radar. Consider including such questions although you might want to limit the length of responses.
- For online surveys, if the survey is long, consider using a feature that allows customers to save partially completed survey and return to it later.
- Experts disagree on the significance of any one question. However, Fredrick Reichheld, in his book Loyalty Rules, made a strong case for a concept called Net Promoter Score. This score measures the percentage of your customers who would recommend you (your product or services) to a friend. Reichheld argues that this is the single most reliable indicator of your company’s ability to grow.