Customer Satisfaction Surveys: Taking the Next Steps

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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