The Benefit, Or Danger, Of Doing Client Surveys – Small Business Trends

The Benefit, Or Danger, Of Doing Client Surveys – Small Business Trends

So you want some feedback from your customers. That’s great! Are you prepared for what you might hear? And are you setting up the survey so that you can actually gain valuable information?

Preparation Needed When Doing Client Surveys

How you structure your survey can work for you, or against you. Here’s an example.

I received an email from my Internet/landline/TV vendor asking me to take a survey. They, of course, said they were interested in learning about my experience with their company. Well, I’ve had some difficulty with them so I considered this a positive event. I thought, ‘Wow, they are actually asking for information. Maybe that means they are interested in making some changes.’ So I clicked the link in the email and set time aside to take their survey.

In addition to asking for some demographic information, the survey consisted of two questions. The first was how I would define my satisfaction with their company. I gave them a 3 on a scale of 1 -10 where 10 was extremely satisfied. The second question was how likely I would be to recommend them to my friends and family. Here I gave them a 2 on the same scale.

And that was the end of the client survey.

What did they learn? They learned I was unhappy and wouldn’t recommend them. But they didn’t learn why I was unhappy. So, again, what did they learn? Nothing. They cannot make any significant changes to their service or programs to get those numbers to change. They don’t know where to focus energy. They have no idea where they’ve gone off the rails.

There’s one more problem with this, and it’s a biggie. I gained very valuable information. I confirmed that they don’t care at all about how their customers feel. They were going through the motions. Someone, somewhere, in the executive suite decided it would be a good idea to survey their customers. So they did. If surveyed again, I would give lower ratings.

The next time I have to deal with them, and negotiate my package, I will be hardened. I will not give. They have created a worse relationship with me, their customer.

Good Survey Questions Get Thoughtful Answers

As small business owners, we can learn from this client survey experience. We can ensure that we craft questions that will truly garner valuable information from our clients. First off, we want to know their level of satisfaction. The key is this — once we have that number we need to discover, what is behind it. Even if it is a 10, we should want to know what makes it a 10.

When the number is low and we find out why it’s low, we now have information to work with. We know where we need to make changes. We know where we are falling down. And when we ask for that depth of information, we are letting our clients know we care enough to ask.

When the number is high and we ask why we are discovering what is working. We can then bounce off of those attributes to market and sell to more prospects. When we know what works, we can use those things to make ourselves attractive to future clients. We now have stories to tell.

If you are going to conduct client surveys, do it so you get the information you need and can use to improve your company. This process will help you improve your relationships with your clients as well.

Survey Photo via Shutterstock

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