If you want to find out how your clientèle feel about doing business with your company, administering a customer satisfaction questionnaire can be a useful tool.
Measuring Customer Satisfaction
Measuring customer satisfaction can be tricky. The only way you can truly know how satisfied your customers are is to ask them. Customer satisfaction questionnaires are simply survey instruments designed specifically to help companies measure how satisfied (or dissatisfied) customers are with their service.
Getting customers to take the time to share their opinions with you isn't as easy as it sounds. Today's consumers are very busy, and they aren't necessarily going to be willing to take time out of their busy schedules to provide your company with information. After all, if you aren't providing quality service, it's easy for customers simply to choose to take their business elsewhere.
Asking customers to share their opinions about your business is one of the most powerful ways to improve your company's products and services. It's important to keep in mind that you are in the business of providing customer service, no matter what kind of product or service your organization provides. If customers feel good about working with your company, they're likely to continue doing business with you. If they're dissatisfied, it's certainly in your best interest to find out why. Customer complaints can be beneficial if they help you make needed improvements.
Types of Customer Satisfaction Surveys
Even though getting customer satisfaction data can be somewhat difficult, it's certainly important to find out what your customers think about your organization. There are several different ways to approach gathering satisfaction data from customers.
- Call-In Questionnaires: Restaurants and retail establishments often utilize call-in customer satisfaction hotlines. They ask customers to call toll free hotlines to share information about their experiences with the business. In exchange, customers typically receive discount coupons that can be used during their next trip to the establishment.
- Comment Cards: Many companies make comment cards available for customers to complete. Some organizations encourage customers to leave their cards in suggestion boxes, and others provide business reply mail cards that can be returned to the company via mail.
- Intercept Questionnaires: Some companies hire survey takers to interview customers as they enter or leave their places of business. In many major cities, there are marketing research firms inside shopping malls that specialize in retail intercept surveys. Some fast food chain restaurants even utilize the services of marketing research professionals to ask customer satisfaction questions of customers who are waiting in line at the drive through.
- Mystery Shopping: A number of companies feel that the best way to find out what the customer experience is really like involves using the services of mystery shoppers. Mystery shoppers visit companies as customers, and then report about their experience using a specially designed survey form. Their purchases are reimbursed and they are paid a fee for completing the survey per the guidelines. Since the employees don't realize that the mystery shoppers aren't ordinary customers, the company is able to get realistic data about how customers are treated and how they perceive doing business with the organization.
- Online Surveys: Many businesses have customer satisfaction questionnaires on their websites. Customers can leave feedback for the companies with which they do business by completing online questionnaires quickly and easily. Some companies provide coupons or other special offers to clients who participate in their online survey opportunities.
Professional Customer Satisfaction Research Companies
Conducting effective customer satisfaction research involves asking the right questions and using reliable, valid survey instruments. Unless you have a highly skilled marketing research professional on your staff, it's a good idea to use the services of a firm that specializes in gathering data and developing these types of questionnaires.Companies that provide customer satisfaction research include: