The basic idea of business-to-business CRM is usually described as allowing the bigger business to be as responsive to the needs of its customer as a small business. In the early days of CRM this became translated from “responsive” to “reactive”. Effective larger businesses recognise that they need to be pro-active in finding [hearing] the views, concerns, needs and levels of satisfaction from their customers. Paper-based surveys, including those left in hotel bedrooms, generally have a low response rate and are usually completed by customers who 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 large, international hotel chain wished to have more business travellers. They made a decision to conduct a consumer satisfaction survey to discover the things they needed to improve their services for this kind of guest. A written survey was positioned in each room and guests were required to fill it up out. However, when the survey period was complete, the hotel found that the only people who had filled in the surveys were children along with their grandparents!
A large manufacturing company conducted the very first year of what was made to be Experience survey. The very first year, the satisfaction score was 94%. The 2nd year, with the same basic survey topics, but using another survey vendor, the satisfaction score dropped to 64%. Ironically, simultaneously, their overall revenues doubled!
The questions were simpler and phrased differently. The transaction in the questions was different. The format in the survey was different. The targeted respondents were at a different management level. The General Satisfaction question was placed at the end of the survey.
Although all customer satisfaction surveys are used for gathering peoples’ opinions, survey designs vary dramatically in size, content and format. Analysis techniques may utilize a wide variety of charts, graphs and narrative interpretations. Companies often make use of a survey to check their business strategies, and lots of base their entire business plan upon their survey’s results. BUT…troubling questions often emerge.
Are the results always accurate? …Sometimes accurate? …At all accurate? Are there “hidden pockets of customer discontent” that the survey overlooks? Can the survey information be trusted enough to consider major action with full confidence?
As the examples above show, different survey designs, methodologies and population characteristics will dramatically modify the results of a survey. Therefore, it behoves a business to make absolutely confident that their survey process is accurate enough to create a genuine representation of the customers’ opinions. Failing to do this, there is absolutely no way the company may use the outcomes for precise action planning.
The characteristics of a survey’s design, and also 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 must be followed in case a survey is to turn into a company’s most valued strategic business tool.
Survey questions needs to be categorized into three types: Overall Satisfaction question – “How satisfied have you been 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 and every attribute, and upon which action could be come to directly remedy that Key Attribute’s issues.
The Entire Satisfaction real question is placed at the conclusion of the survey so that its answer is going to be afflicted with a far more thorough thinking, allowing respondents to possess first considered techniques to other questions. A survey, if constructed properly, will yield a wealth of information. These design elements should be considered: First, the survey should be kept to some reasonable length. Over 60 questions in a written survey can 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 just one topic at any given time. As an example, the question, “how satisfied have you been with our services and products?” should not be effectively answered because a respondent might have conflicting opinions on products versus services.
Fourth, superlatives such as “excellent” or “very” must not be found in questions. Such words often lead a respondent toward an opinion.
Fifth, “feel good” questions yield subjective answers on which little specific action may be taken. As an example, the question “how can you feel about XYZ company’s industry position?” produces responses which can be of no practical value with regards to improving a surgical procedure.
Though the fill-in-the-dots format is probably the most frequent types of survey, there are significant flaws, which may discredit the final results. For instance, all prior answers are visible, which results in comparisons with current questions, undermining candour. Second, some respondents subconsciously tend to look for symmetry inside their responses and turn into guided by the pattern with their responses, not their true feelings. Third, because paper surveys are typically categorized into topic sections, a respondent is much more apt 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 result in the same tendencies, particularly if inconvenient sideways scrolling is necessary to respond to a question.
In a survey conducted by Xerox Corporation, over 1 / 3rd of responses were discarded as the participants had clearly run on the columns in each category rather than carefully considering each question.
TELEPHONE SURVEYS Though a telephone survey yields a far more accurate response compared to a paper survey, they may likewise have inherent flaws that impede quality results, including:
First, when a respondent’s identity is clearly known, concern over the possibility of being challenged or confronted with negative responses at a later time creates a strong positive bias inside their replies (the so-called “Cassandra Phenomenon”.)
Second, studies show that individuals become friendlier as being a conversation grows longer, thus influencing question responses.
Third, human nature states that people enjoy being liked. Therefore, gender biases, accents, perceived intelligence, or compassion all influence responses. Similarly, senior management egos often emerge when attemping to convey their wisdom.
Fourth, telephone surveys are intrusive on a senior manager’s time. An unannounced call may create an initial negative impression from the survey. Many respondents may be partially focused on the clock rather than 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 option of a phone or some other methods, ALL chose the other methods.
Taking precautionary steps, including keeping the survey brief and using only highly-trained callers who minimize idle conversation, may help minimize the previously mentioned issues, but will not eliminate them.
The goal of a survey would be to capture a representative cross-part of opinions throughout a group of people. Unfortunately, unless most the folks participate, two factors will influence the results:
First, negative people often answer a survey more often than positive because human nature encourages “venting” negative emotions. A minimal response rate will normally produce more negative results (see drawing).
Second, a smaller percentage of a population is less representative of the complete. For instance, if 12 individuals are motivated to take a survey and 25% respond, then this opinions from the other nine individuals are unknown and might be entirely different. However, if 75% respond, then only three opinions are unknown. Another nine could be more very likely to represent the opinions in the whole group. You can assume that the larger the response rate, the more accurate the snap-shot of opinions.
Totally Satisfied vs. Very Satisfied ……Debates have raged over the scales employed to depict levels of customer satisfaction. Recently, however, research has definitively proven that the “totally satisfied” customer is between 3 and 10 times more prone to initiate a repurchase, which measuring this “top-box” category is significantly more precise than every other means. Moreover, surveys which measure percentages of “totally satisfied” customers rather than the traditional sum 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 may be used to ensure more valuable results:
Many surveys provide a “neutral” choice on the five-point scale for people who might not want to answer an issue, or for people who are unable to create a decision. This “bail-out” option decreases the quantity of opinions, thus diminishing the survey’s validity. Surveys that use “insufficient information,” being a more definitive middle-box choice persuade a respondent to make a decision, unless they simply have not enough knowledge to reply to the question.
Scales of 1-10 (or 1-100%) are perceived differently between age ranges. Those who were schooled using a percentage grading system often look at a 59% to become “flunking.” These deep-rooted tendencies often skew different peoples’ perceptions of survey results.
There are some additional details that will enhance the overall polish of any survey. While market research ought to be an exercise in communications excellence, the experience of getting a survey ought to be positive for the respondent, as well as valuable for the survey sponsor.
First, People – Those responsible for acting upon issues revealed in the survey should be fully engaged in the survey development process. A “team leader” should be accountable for making sure all pertinent business categories are included (as much as 10 is good), which designated individuals assume responsibilty for answering the results for every Key Attribute.
Second, Respondent Validation – Once the names of potential survey respondents have been selected, they may be individually called and “invited” to participate. This method ensures the person is willing to accept survey, and elicits a binding agreement to do so, thus enhancing the response rate. Additionally, it ensures the person’s name, title, and address are correct, an area where inaccuracies are commonplace.
Third, Questions – Open-ended questions are generally best avoided in favour of simple, concise, one subject questions. The questions should also be randomised, mixing the topics, forcing the respondent to be continually thinking about an alternative subject, and not building upon a solution from the previous question. Finally, questions needs to be presented in positive tones, which not just helps maintain an unbiased and uniform attitude while answering the survey questions, but enables uniform interpretation in the results.
Fourth, Results – Each respondent receives a synopsis from the survey results, either in writing or – preferably – personally. By providing at the outset to share 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 having a standing invitation to come back for the customer later and close the communication loop. Not only does that offer a means of dealing and exploring identified issues on a personal level, however it often increases an individual’s willingness to sign up in later surveys.
A highly structured customer care survey provides a wealth of invaluable market intelligence that human nature is not going to otherwise allow access to. Properly done, it may be a means of establishing performance benchmarks, measuring improvement over time, building individual customer relationships, identifying customers at risk of loss, and improving overall client satisfaction, loyalty and revenues. If a clients are not careful, however, it can become a way to obtain misguided direction, wrong decisions and wasted money.