Posted: 23rd April 2010

Why customer satisfaction surveys fail

I read with interest the recent study in Research magazine on what motivates consumers to take part in market research. Significantly, 82% do it because they want to influence the products and services they receive. So it’s a no-brainer that organisations should listen to their customers and adapt their offerings accordingly. But this is where, in my opinion, so many customer satisfaction surveys fail. While they may provide organisations with useful data they don’t generate an action forcing them to improve or change the way things are done.

A lot of businesses invest significant time and money on surveys every year in a bid to measure customer satisfaction. They review the results, have a discussion about the areas in which they have done well and not so well and reach a general conclusion. But more often than not the report then sits on a shelf and nothing is done with it, until the following year when it might be used to compare with the latest survey report. And so it goes on…

What’s the solution? It all comes down to getting the right data to the right people within the organisation and ‘closing the loop’. Organisations need a robust Voice of the Customer system for managing the survey data. This will enable them to analyse the feedback thoroughly, if necessary creating projects to investigate the issues raised and integrating best practice operations to make the changes that the customers have asked for. It’s also important that organisations go back to the customer and tell them what has been done. Acting upon the feedback is what really matters. Only then can a customer feel truly valued, and the satisfaction survey deemed a success.

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