Customer Satisfaction Surveys: Taking the Next Steps

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You have conducted a well-designed customer satisfaction survey, and you’ve collected mountains of data. Now what? You’re not just going to let the results sit on a shelf in your office, but do you have a comprehensive plan to get the most value out of your investment? Here are a few suggestions about the next steps to take with the results of your survey.

Respond Quickly to Urgent Customer Problems
Often a customer satisfaction survey will include a few questions meant to identify issues that need to be addressed immediately. For example, a hotel chain might ask how long it took a customer to reach a representative on its toll free reservations line. If this is a crucial issue for the company (and it should be), then this question will be flagged for immediate analysis and action.

Other factors that might call for a quick response are very low overall ratings or the use of key words (such as “dirty” or “rude”) in written answers on the survey. If the survey was not anonymous, it may be worthwhile to contact people who responded very negatively to gain a better understanding of what went wrong. This will also show dissatisfied customers that you take their concerns seriously and you want to do something about them.

Make Someone Responsible
One way to sort responses to a customer service questionnaire is by area of responsibility in your organization. For example, certain questions may point out problems with accounting or sales or billing. By making individuals responsible for dealing with specific issues that come up in a survey, you are much more likely to get the issues resolved. If everyone is responsible for solving a problem, then no one is.

Assigning responsibility for specific issues also addresses a common problem with customer satisfaction surveys: the results don’t filter down to people who can do something about them. Too often managers circulate summaries of survey results or key findings without giving front-line staff the information they need to improve customer service.

Implement Customer-Focused Changes
Any response to customer feedback should be developed with the customer in mind. This includes setting goals for improving customer satisfaction. For example, if a customer purchase survey identifies shipping delays as a problem for your online store, you need to do more than just revamp your shipping procedures. You need to set specific goals for shipping a certain percent of orders within a day or two.

When you make customer-focused changes, let customers know about them — especially those customers who took the time and trouble to respond to your survey. To keep your message positive, present the changes as an improvement in service rather than a response to a problem.
Keep Track and Keep Asking
It’s easy to think of customer satisfaction as something you check on with a survey once a quarter or twice a year. But to get the most of out of surveys, you need to constantly keep track of how well your organization is responding to the issues customers raise. You also need to keep thinking about how to refine your survey process so that you can continue to get the information you need to keep your customers satisfied.

Cover Image from Wired
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Tough Times Call for More Focused Market Research

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In a severe recession like the one we are now experiencing, consumers change their behavior. They look for cheaper alternatives to the products they usually buy. They weigh major purchases more carefully and spend more time comparison shopping. They may even decide that things they valued in the past, such as keeping up with the latest fashions, aren’t really that important any more.

These changes in consumer behavior make market research more necessary than ever. With customers cutting back on their spending and being more selective, companies can’t afford to make mistakes in their marketing efforts. Yet the recession has led most major marketers to cut their research budgets by 10 to 20 percent. To deal with these reductions, marketing managers need to do what consumers are doing: take a good hard look at how they are spending their money and focus on things that provide the greatest return on their investment.

Going Online
Many marketing consultants are suggesting a practical way to deal with tighter research budgets: shift more resources to online surveys. Telephone surveys and in-person surveys can be expensive and slow. For cost reasons, they are usually limited to fairly small samples. Each additional respondent adds to the cost of the survey.

On the other hand, online surveys can reach a large number of customers for a reasonable amount of money. Each additional respondent adds almost nothing to the cost of the survey. And online surveys are fast and efficient. Customer feedback can be analyzed easily to gain a better understanding of how the recession is affecting buying decisions. For example, conjoint analysis can reveal the tradeoff customers are making between price and desirable features. Online survey providers such as Mineful can help marketers make the most of this type of analysis.

Focusing on Core Customers
Tighter research budgets mean that marketers need to focus more on their core customers, the ones who are most loyal and most profitable. Maintaining strong relationships with these customers is the key to minimizing the pain of the economic slowdown.

Some companies may be tempted to take these customers for granted and focus their market research almost exclusively on attracting new business. But that would be a mistake. Even the most loyal customers are feeling the pinch of the recession, and marketers need to understand how to keep these people satisfied.

Looking for New Opportunities
The recession has presented serious challenges for most businesses, but it has also created some interesting opportunities. Marketers have always looked for ways to convince customers to rethink their purchasing habits and decisions, and the recession is forcing customers to do just that.

Customers seem to be more willing than ever to try new brands and new products. They are studying ads more closely and taking a harder look at what they are getting for their money. Companies that make an effort to understand what customers are looking for in this tough economy will do a better job of attracting new business. These new customer relationships will be even more valuable when the economy turns around.
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Use Mineful en Español

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Mineful has added a feature that will benefit all of our Spanish speaking users. Mineful 3.7 allows users to interact with Mineful in Spanish. To start using Mineful in Spanish, log on to Mineful and go to Start -> Settings -> Language and select Español from the dropdown menu. Log out and log back in to experience Mineful in Spanish.

Note: Your surveys and forms can be made in many languages including Portuguese, French, German, Dutch, and more... This new feature allows you to change the language of the application to either Spanish or English.

Take advantage of Mineful's sophisticatedly simple feedback and analysis solution to listen to your customers and improve products and services. Upgrade to a Personal account today for only $20/month and take your research to the next level. Compare account features here: http://www.mineful.com/features.html
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Mineful Helps You Manage Customer Satisfaction

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As a leader in online survey software, Mineful helps you use marketing technology to make better decisions for your business. We have the software, the services, and the people to help you keep your current customers and attract new ones.

Mineful Software — Market Research Results in Real Time
Our online survey software lets you see how well your business processes are working and how they can be changed to do a better job of meeting your customers’ needs. Once you decide on a change, our software helps you monitor your initiative to see if it is achieving the intended results.

This process works smoothly with a minimum of effort and expense. It’s easy to customize your data gathering and analysis to gain the specific business intelligence you need to make more informed decisions. You don’t need to hire expensive market research consultants and wait for their reports. You can conduct your own analysis in real time and put your findings to work right away.

In simple terms, Mineful lets you do more with less. Since it is a web-based tool, you can skip the expense of installing, maintaining, and updating someone else’s software. Mineful’s well-designed interface is intuitive and easy to use. You can try it out for free before you subscribe.
Mineful makes the power of marketing technology available throughout your business. You can set different permissions for different users. It’s easy for users to collaborate and share the results of their analyses. Users can choose from a variety of powerful analytics, such as frequency distributions, cross tabs, and correlations. Reports are available in real time, so it’s easy to keep in touch with what customers are thinking.

Keeping in touch with people — maintaining relationships — is what surveys are all about. Improving customer relationships is the key to improving business performance.

Mineful Services — A Tech Savvy Team Working for You
Market research consultants can be prohibitively expensive, especially for small and mid-sized businesses. And too often they take a one-size-fits-all approach that doesn’t respond to your particular needs. Large companies can afford to hire tech-savvy employees to gather and analyze survey results, but for most businesses this is just not feasible.

Mineful offers a powerful and affordable alternative to hiring outside consultants or additional staff. For the cost of less than one employee, we can provide you with the technology and analytics you need to keep in touch with what your customers want and need. Our Strategic and Analytical Services team can help you define, develop, or redesign a successful program quickly and economically. We take a simple but effective approach to this task: set clear objectives up front, design a program to meet these objectives, and then test and learn.

Mineful People — Smart, Dedicated, and Experienced Professionals
Our staff have many years of experience in statistics, survey methods, and market research, enabling us to tackle even the most complex projects in marketing technology. We not only perform advanced analytics, but we communicate the results in an understandable, visually effective way. Our worldwide customer base includes Allstate, the American Society of Clinical Pathologists, KWT, MediaBank, and the Chicago public schools.

We have the resources — the software, the services, and the people — to help you keep in touch with your customers and gain a greater understanding of their wants needs.
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