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March 30, 2011

The Customer Experience Survey Part 1

Part of Ann’s customer experience design series, this post sheds a light on what your customers are thinking when you hand them that customer survey clipboard …

Ann Padley You know what I love even more than taking a customer satisfaction survey at the end of my doctor visit?

(Bueller? Bueller?)

I love when the nurse hands me the survey and then tells me how I should answer it. Wait, wait. Even better is when the doctor gives you the survey before you leave the exam room and explains how the results directly affect their pay – no pressure though, the kids can survive on the one can of tuna left in the cupboard.

Okay, so no one loves that. So why do people present surveys like that? Doctors aren’t the only culprits either. When I bought my car, the salesman tried to bribe me with some trendy floor mats in exchange for excellent marks on the customer satisfaction survey.

Listen up, people. There is one main goal of customer satisfaction surveys: to find out if customers are truly, thoroughly and utterly satisfied with their experience. Marketers like you and I, we implement these surveys to identify trends and patterns, pinpoint areas for improvement and celebrate areas of success. In order to garner dependable, truthful results, the survey respondent needs to feel safe.

The little voice inside the customer’s head needs to be saying, ‘They really want to hear my opinion. They truly value my opinion. My opinion can make a positive difference.’

Surveys deployed with unreasonable expectations don’t make respondents feel safe or valued.

For example, when you say …

‘We strive for excellence, so if you mark anything below excellent, please write a note on the back, and tell us why.’

… your customer hears:

“This is all on me. If I mark anything below excellent, that is so not cool. When I hand this clipboard back, they are going to know I only checked ‘satisfactory.’ I bet they will be conveniently ‘booked’ next time I call.’

If you want your surveys to truly reflect the customer experience, be prepared to hear what they have to say. Stay tuned for part two of this blog post, wherein I’ll share some tips and tricks you can use to get the survey results you actually need.