The basic notion of business-to-business CRM is often referred to as allowing the larger business to be as responsive to the needs of its customer as a small business. In the past of CRM this became translated from “responsive” to “reactive”. Successful larger businesses acknowledge that they need to be pro-active in locating [hearing] the views, concerns, needs and levels of satisfaction from their customers. Paper-based surveys, including those left in hotel bedrooms, usually have a low response rate and are usually completed by customers that have a grievance. Telephone-based interviews are frequently affected by the Cassandra phenomenon. Face-to-face interviews are costly and can be led by the interviewer.
A sizable, international hotel chain desired to get more business travellers. They chose to conduct a client satisfaction survey to find out the things they needed to enhance their services for this type of guest. A written survey was placed in each room and guests were motivated to fill it up out. However, if the survey period was complete, the hotel found that the sole individuals who had completed the surveys were children along with their grandparents!
A large manufacturing company conducted the first year of the items was created to get Customer survey. The very first year, the satisfaction score was 94%. The second year, with the same basic survey topics, but using another survey vendor, the satisfaction score dropped to 64%. Ironically, at the same time, their overall revenues doubled!
The questions were simpler and phrased differently. The transaction from the questions was different. The format of the survey was different. The targeted respondents were with a different management level. The Overall Satisfaction question was placed after the survey.
Although all client satisfaction surveys can be used for gathering peoples’ opinions, survey designs vary dramatically long, content and format. Analysis techniques may utilize numerous charts, graphs and narrative interpretations. Companies often utilize a survey to check their business strategies, and lots of base their whole business plan upon their survey’s results. BUT…troubling questions often emerge.
Would be the results always accurate? …Sometimes accurate? …Whatsoever accurate? Are there “hidden pockets of customer discontent” that a survey overlooks? Can the survey information be trusted enough to adopt major action with assurance?
As the examples above show, different survey designs, methodologies and population characteristics will dramatically alter the outcomes of market research. Therefore, it behoves an organization to help make absolutely certain that their survey process is accurate enough to produce a real representation of their customers’ opinions. Failing to accomplish this, there is absolutely no way the business are able to use the outcomes for precise action planning.
The characteristics of the survey’s design, and the data collection methodologies employed to conduct the survey, require careful forethought to make certain comprehensive, accurate, and correct results. The discussion on the next page summarizes several key “rules of thumb” that really must be followed when a survey is to turn into a company’s most valued strategic business tool.
Survey questions ought to be categorized into three types: Overall Satisfaction question – “How satisfied are you currently overall with XYZ Company?” Key Attributes – satisfaction with key regions of business, e.g. Sales, Marketing, Operations, etc. Drill Down – satisfaction with concerns that are unique to each attribute, and upon which action could be taken to directly remedy that Key Attribute’s issues.
The Overall Satisfaction real question is placed at the end of the survey so that its answer is going to be afflicted with a much more comprehensive thinking, allowing respondents to possess first considered techniques to other questions. A survey, if constructed properly, will yield a wealth of information. These elements of design needs to be taken into account: First, the survey should be kept to a reasonable length. Over 60 questions in a written survey will become tiring. Anything over 8-12 questions begins taxing mdycyz patience of participants in a phone survey.
Second, the questions should utilize simple sentences with short words. Third, questions should request an opinion on only one topic at a time. For example, the question, “how satisfied are you currently with this goods and services?” can not be effectively answered since a respondent could have conflicting opinions on products versus services.
Fourth, superlatives including “excellent” or “very” must not be found in questions. Such words tend to lead a respondent toward an opinion.
Fifth, “feel happy” questions yield subjective answers where little specific action may be taken. For instance, the question “how can you feel about XYZ company’s industry position?” produces responses that are of no practical value when it comes to improving an operation.
Although the fill-in-the-dots format is probably the most frequent kinds of survey, you will find significant flaws, which may discredit the final results. For instance, all prior answers are visible, which leads to comparisons with current questions, undermining candour. Second, some respondents subconsciously tend to search for symmetry within their responses and become guided from the pattern with their responses, not their true feelings. Third, because paper surveys are generally categorized into topic sections, a respondent is much more likely to fill down a column of dots within a category while giving little consideration to each question. Some INTERNET surveys, constructed within the same “dots” format, often cause the same tendencies, specifically if inconvenient sideways scrolling is important to respond to a matter.
In a survey conducted by Xerox Corporation, over 1 / 3rd of all responses were discarded because the participants had clearly run down the columns in each category instead of carefully considering each question.
TELEPHONE SURVEYS Though a telephone survey yields a far more accurate response compared to a paper survey, they may also have inherent flaws that impede quality results, such as:
First, each time a respondent’s identity is clearly known, concern over the possibility of being challenged or confronted with negative responses at a later date produces a strong positive bias within their replies (the so-called “Cassandra Phenomenon”.)
Second, research indicates that folks become friendlier as being a conversation grows longer, thus influencing question responses.
Third, human nature says that people want to be liked. Therefore, gender biases, accents, perceived intelligence, or compassion all influence responses. Similarly, senior management egos often emerge when attempting to convey their wisdom.
Fourth, telephone surveys are intrusive on the senior manager’s time. An unannounced call may create a primary negative impression from the survey. Many respondents might be partially focused on the clock as opposed to the questions. Optimum responses are based mostly on a respondents’ clear mind and free time, two things that senior management often lacks. In a recent multi-national survey where targeted respondents were offered the choice of a phone or any other methods, ALL chose the other methods.
Taking precautionary steps, like keeping the survey brief and making use of only highly-trained callers who minimize idle conversation, may help minimize the aforementioned issues, but will not eliminate them.
The objective of any survey would be to capture an agent cross-section of opinions throughout a small group of people. Unfortunately, unless most the individuals participate, two factors will influence the final results:
First, negative people tend to answer market research more often than positive because human nature encourages “venting” negative emotions. A small response rate will usually produce more negative results (see drawing).
Second, a smaller amount of a population is less associated with the whole. For example, if 12 people are asked to have a survey and 25% respond, then the opinions from the other nine individuals are unknown and could be entirely different. However, if 75% respond, then only three opinions are unknown. Another nine could be more prone to represent the opinions in the whole group. You can assume that the greater the response rate, the better accurate the snap-shot of opinions.
Totally Satisfied vs. Very Satisfied ……Debates have raged within the scales employed to depict amounts of customer care. Lately, however, research has definitively proven which a “totally satisfied” customer is between 3 and 10 times very likely to initiate a repurchase, and that measuring this “top-box” category is quite a bit more precise than any other means. Moreover, surveys which measure percentages of “totally satisfied” customers instead of the traditional amount of “very satisfied” and “somewhat satisfied,” provide a much more accurate indicator of business growth.
Other Scale issues…..There are many rules of thumb that could be used to ensure more valuable results:
Many surveys give you a “neutral” choice on a five-point scale for those who might not desire to answer a matter, or if you are unable to create a decision. This “bail-out” option decreases the quantity of opinions, thus diminishing the survey’s validity. Surveys which use “insufficient information,” as being a more definitive middle-box choice persuade a respondent to make a decision, unless they simply have inadequate knowledge to reply to the question.
Scales of 1-10 (or 1-100%) are perceived differently between age groups. Individuals who were schooled utilizing a percentage grading system often look at a 59% to get “flunking.” These deep-rooted tendencies often skew different peoples’ perceptions of survey results.
There are a few additional details that may boost the overall polish of any survey. While a survey should be a workout in communications excellence, the event of having a survey should also be positive for that respondent, as well as valuable for the survey sponsor.
First, People – Those responsible for acting upon issues revealed within the survey needs to be fully involved in the survey development process. A “team leader” should be responsible for making certain all pertinent business categories are included (up to 10 is perfect), and that designated individuals assume responsibilty for answering the final results for each Key Attribute.
Second, Respondent Validation – Once the names of potential survey respondents happen to be selected, these are individually called and “invited” to participate in. This method ensures anyone is willing to accept survey, and elicits a binding agreement to accomplish this, thus improving the response rate. In addition, it ensures the person’s name, title, and address are correct, a place by which inaccuracies are commonplace.
Third, Questions – Open-ended questions are generally best avoided in favour of simple, concise, one subject questions. The questions also need to be randomised, mixing the topics, forcing the respondent to be continually thinking of an alternative subject, rather than building upon a response through the previous question. Finally, questions ought to be presented in positive tones, which not just helps maintain an objective and uniform attitude while answering the survey questions, but allows for uniform interpretation in the results.
Fourth, Results – Each respondent receives a synopsis in the survey results, in a choice of writing or – preferably – face-to-face. By giving in the outset to talk about the final results of the survey with every respondent, interest is generated in the process, the response rate increases, and also the clients are left using a standing invitation to return for the customer later and close the communication loop. Besides which provide a method of dealing and exploring identified issues over a personal level, nevertheless it often increases an individual’s willingness to sign up in later surveys.
A properly structured client satisfaction survey can offer an abundance of invaluable market intelligence that human nature will not otherwise allow usage of. Properly done, it could be a means of establishing performance benchmarks, measuring improvement with time, building individual customer relationships, identifying customers in danger of loss, and improving overall customer satisfaction, loyalty and revenues. If a clients are not careful, however, it can turn into a supply of misguided direction, wrong decisions and wasted money.