Are You Beating Up Your Customers With Your Satisfaction Surveys?

I came across “Is Your Company a Customer Survey Score Whore?” at today. Although it speaks to offline customer satisfaction surveys, I still think there are great lessons to keep in mind as you build online surveys through SurveyGizmo.

MarketingProfs has reserved the actual benchmark results for premium members — but everyone can (and should) read the article.

Corporations, in their quest to drive customer focus, have attempted to improve customer experiences by attaching things people want to the attainment of a good score. Pavlov himself couldn’t have set up a better behavior-modification system.
Jeanne Bliss

She talks about one of my pet peeves; the incessant hounding by my dealership after taking a car in. They did do a pretty good job with the car, but if they’d survey me about their survey practices they wouldn’t be happy. They ask too many questions, too many times and every one is worded to get me to agree they are great. Wouldn’t this have been more interesting for all of us –

Q: Have I reached the Scott McDaniel whose Subaru was in for the timing belt?
A: Yes, you have.

Q: Is there anything we could have done better yesterday?
A: Well, no it was really pretty good.

Q: We’re glad you’re happy, but we always want to get better. So if there is anything, anything at all, that we could do better we’d love to know it?
A: Well… ok there is one thing……

Back to the article. The best had to be (keep reading it’s at the bottom) the five steps to “Become a Customer Action Hero.” Solid common sense tips that all of of us can keep in mind as we try get at customer opinion and act on it. Tips like Top 10 things bugging customers, customer loss reviews, and public accountability are worth while enough to jot down on your whiteboard and keep in mind as you build your next satisfaction survey.

I think when you’re building a customer service satisfaction survey you should pinch yourself hard, really hard (ok, not that hard) for each question you ask. If you’re getting sore, you are asking too many questions. It is so much easier to ask the same thing twelve ways, then to sit and take the time to ask just the right question for what you are trying get at.

Do you really need a scale of 1 – 10 to find out if the customer was happy with your product selection? I’ll bet you’d learn more by forcing a Yes/No answer with a short (I emphasize short) text box for why. Keep in mind though the survey maybe your most important thing going on today, it’s probably not your customers’. The easier you make your survey to take, the more likely you are to get good, insightful, actionable data out of it.

Join the Conversation
  • Happy to answer any questions or chat about the concepts in the article. There are way too many companies out there where it’s the score that is heralded and people are therefore ‘gaming’ the score — rather than doing something to improve the bad experiences being delivered to customers!

  • scott

    Sometimes it’s a very conscious decision to ‘game’ for the good score (the dealerships), but we see even more often a subtle variation that creeps into the wording of survey questions by begging for a desired answer.

    Something like:

    “When looking at our product lineup which product is the greatest with no room for improvement?”

    I am thinking…. ahhhhhh…. where is E. “None of the above.”

    Thanks for coming by Jeanne. Your article is definitely something our readers should check out.