Top 10 Customer Satisfaction Survey Best Practices
1. Use Scientific Questionnaire Design. You probably already have a very good idea of what drives customer satisfaction. Customer service professionals can generally create surveys that, on the surface, might closely resemble those created by survey methodologists. However, the words generally, might, and closely are crucial. Familiarity with the day-to-day needs of customers can well inform the content of a survey, but even the best intentions can have unintended consequences on question design. The nation’s only uniform, cross-industry measure of customer satisfaction is the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). CFI Group, the developer of the ACSI, has determined the precise questions, phrasing, and scales to accurately measure customer satisfaction. Rigorous scientific testing and decades of empirical evidence enable this methodology to link satisfaction to financial performance—you won’t need to reinvent the wheel. Without training in the science (and art!) of survey design and writing, survey data will be unreliable and possibly invalid. For example, a common survey mistake is to ask: “Did you find the agent knowledgeable and experienced?” While knowledge and experience may be important, by attempting to address both issues at once, this question fails to capture meaningful information for either. This error is called a ‘double-barreled’ question; it should really be two questions. Another complicated area of questionnaire design are response categories. If a survey asks how often you shop, what is wrong with the following response options: never, occasionally, sometimes, often, and regularly? The problem is that although these are natural answers, they have different meanings to different people. In the aggregate, ‘sometimes’ is devoid of meaning. These response categories are too vague to be useful for analysis. A better, but perhaps counterintuitive, way to phrase response categories is on a mutually-exclusive, numerical scale, with the endpoints of a continuum anchored with text.