Molding the customer satisfaction survey to perfection

Customer satisfaction surveys won't allow companies to gain insight on what they could do to improve if they aren't structured correctly.

Customer satisfaction surveys won't allow companies to gain insight on what they could do to improve if they aren't structured correctly.

According to Target Marketing, one tenet of a quality survey is that it does away with the standard "1 to 10" scale, and instead provides a section of reference points. Typically, these can range from "poor" to "exceptional," with middling options for "okay" and "great" also included. Doing this will create better insight on a customer's loyalty to a brand. Contextual questions such as "How long have you been using Company X for its services?" can offer similar results.

Furthermore, keep the questions subjective. Recipients should be under the impression that they were written by a third party instead of a biased company representative. Questions should be clear and offer an opening for both positive and negative answers. Clarity should also be considered when including industry jargon or technical terms that only company employees would know. Realize that survey subjects are probably not aware of verbiage that the company uses on a regular basis.

The news source notes that it's also advisable to avoid "double-barrelled" questions. An example of this would be "Do you think Restaurant X's facilities are clean and visually appealing?" By including two separate entities of a facility, it may confuse the survey-taker, and makes it unclear what's actually being measured.

Open-ended questions can be effective in small doses, but since they're hard to quantify, it may be better to simply leave an area for feedback at the end of the survey so the recipient can freely add his or her thoughts.

Once questions have been honed, test them on a third party before sending them to customers to see if any misunderstandings still exist.

Next comes the distribution phase. DIY Marketers explains that an online survey tool can be used if a company is sending out the survey electronically. Also, it's recommended that the company's CEO send out the email, as this shows "a high level of commitment."

Lastly, don't let this be the last survey that's distributed. The first one is simply to provide baseline results that all subsequent surveys will be measured against. It's suggested that surveys are done twice a year to avoid recipient fatigue, but larger firms may be able to get away with quarterly offerings.