In the early stages of education, we learned that the production process is only complete when the finished product gets to the consumer. What we didn’t learn at the time is that a consumer/customer’s satisfaction keeps the producer in the business. Today, customer satisfaction surveys is a vital part of any business.
In recent times, customer satisfaction is studied in business schools and faculties. Many corporate organizations have a customer satisfaction department and dedicate a lot of time and money to finding the best way to keep their consumers interested in their products. One of such ways is by creating a customer satisfaction survey.
While there is no standard definition for it, a customer satisfaction survey can be described as a tool that helps to determine the level of satisfaction a product gives its consumer. It helps to put into perspective how much the customer likes, enjoys, prefers, or dislikes a particular product. This product could be a good or service. It is the feedback or review received regarding a product.
The survey could include questions, illustrated diagrams, or physical interaction between producer and consumer. The beauty of this tool is that it is fluid and doesn’t have to take a particular form. The kind of survey to create for customers depends on several factors; much later, we will consider these factors in detail.
Let’s go down memory lane.
History of Customer Satisfaction Survey
For as long as trade between two people has existed, there has been some evidence of customer satisfaction in businesses. Business owners have engaged in a customer satisfaction survey by simply asking customers about their purchases. However, over time, there rose a need for the standardization of the survey. Especially when the scale of production increased, and with the industrial revolution that many parts of the world experienced, business owners needed to take it more seriously.
One of the significant problems consumers experienced during the 18th and 19th centuries was the unequal availability of essential commodities to all and sundry. Only the affluent had unhindered access to their needs at the time. This was one of the first solved by a customer satisfaction survey. By increasing the production scale, production costs were reduced significantly, and goods were available. Still, there needed to be a proper channel for customers to express their desires.
Much later in the 20th century, in the mid-1990s, companies have begun using a very effective tool for determining customer satisfaction. Questionnaires became practical measures of customer satisfaction. Customers can identify specific challenges and talk about what stands out in a particular product. They can recommend areas for improvement, among other things.
However, more clarity was provided for both producers and consumers by a move made by the National Quality Research Center (NQRC) at the University of Michigan. The agency came together to create a standard measure of customer satisfaction called the American Customer Satisfaction Index. This Index helped measure the quality of products consumed by the American populace.
A lot of logistical processes into creating the Index. Thousands of consumers were consulted to give their honest reviews. Several products were placed under this study, and reasonable time was given for evaluation and analysis before releasing a conclusion in the form of the Index.
Many companies and government bodies saw the efficiency of the ACSI and thus welcomed it into their planning processes. Since its inception, the Index has become a standard measure of customer satisfaction to date.
However, companies have also created their surveys, something that can be customized to their realities. Since products differ in all ramifications, product reviews would also take different forms. Also, customers are not alike and their needs are addressed in different ways.
How do Customer Satisfaction Surveys Work?
As mentioned earlier, these surveys take different forms, especially these days when companies are concerned with tailoring their customer satisfaction surveys to the realities and conditions of their consumers. Therefore, there are several forms of surveys and they work differently. However, despite these disparities, all customer surveys have one thing in common – their function. The goal of every kind of these surveys is to determine and ultimately improve customer satisfaction. In the end, no matter what forms they take, this is their objective.
Types of Customer Satisfaction Survey?
To properly understand how a customer satisfaction survey works, it is best to know the different types of these surveys. After describing each, we will see how they work and where they are typically used. For the sake of this write-up, we will consider five kinds of these surveys;
1. Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) Survey
The CSAT survey is quite popular and widely accepted for determining the level of contentment of consumers. CSAT surveys are quite popular among producers who are considered about customer satisfaction and improving their products. It is applicable for both goods and services.
- How does it work?
Most CSAT surveys come as questionnaires. Typically, the CSAT survey is composed of several questions tailored to the nature of the products. The answers are in multiple choices which allow consumers to express their level of satisfaction. For example, if a question such as “How would you rate your satisfaction with our product X?” The answers to this question would be as follows;
- Very Unsatisfied
- Very Satisfied
By presenting the answers in this manner, the survey makes it possible for its participants to express their thoughts in an unambiguous manner. When such surveys are filled only consumers who ticked Satisfied and Very Satisfied can be said to enjoy the product. When other options are selected, it could be said that there is a problem with the product or its delivery. A comprehensive analysis is employed to determine the conclusion of the CSAT survey. (Insert a sample of a CSAT survey)
The CSAT survey is one of the most fundamentally important surveys for every customer-oriented organization. Periodical consumer satisfaction surveys not only improve the product’s value in the eyes of the consumer, but it also shows the customer that you value them.
2. Product Development Survey
These surveys are quite unique and unlike other kinds of surveys. The reason for this difference is the timeline for releasing these surveys. As the name implies, the Product Development Survey helps to determine the public perception of a particular product. Enquires are made while the product is still in its stage of development or nearing completion. A product development survey helps to evaluate the feasibility and viability of a product or service.
- How does it work?
Before rolling out a product for mass production, companies usually release samples of that product to the public. In most cases, the samples go to pre-existing customers, retailers, and other relevant individuals. The same concept goes for service providers. If a business is offering a new service, a selected number of customers test-run them and give feedback.
This survey helps to determine several details about a new product. The surveys reveal what people think of the design, color, and usability, among other things. Also, a properly crafted product or service can help determine an appropriate price for the product or service. Therefore, businesses can include such findings in the financial plan of their product. (Insert a picture of a product development survey)
Product development surveys could be in the form of questionnaires, physical interviews, volunteer sampling, open-house food tasting, etc. Typically, the questions presented in this survey are specific, addressing features and specific details. Customers who participate in this survey are given multiple choice answers to select from and in some cases supply reasons behind their answers. This feature allows customers to be as expressive as possible.
3. Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey
This is another popular form of a customer satisfaction survey. However, it is unique because it helps to determine the trust and confidence customers have in the product and or the brand. It is also a good measure for determining customer loyalty. The NPS survey is especially useful for growing businesses with a promising product seeking public approval. Essentially the questions found in this survey inquire if a consumer is willing to recommend the product or service to other people. It could also indicate customer satisfaction since people are willing to recommend only products that they are satisfied with.
- How does it work?
Like many surveys, NPS surveys may come in the form of conventional questionnaires. However, other subtle means could be used to test the customer’s loyalty and confidence in the product. Some questions usually found in NPS surveys include; “How likely are you to recommend this product to others?”, “Are you willing to talk about this product to other people?” The answer is also presented in the form of a multiple-choice option just like most questionnaires. However, answers may be presented on a scale of numbers. Usually, the scale would be from 1-10; 1 being highly unlikely and 10 being highly likely. The choice is presented in this format;
- Highly unlikely
- Highly likely
A rare but nut peculiar benefit of carrying out an NPS survey is that it helps understand consumers/audience, how so? The purpose of the survey is to determine the loyalty of customers to your brand. It also helps to check the willingness of customers to tell others what they think about your brand. So, from the survey, you can see those who are critics, neutrals, and those passionate about both your product and the brand.
Critics in this sense do not refer to have people who have a strong but unbiased view of the product. These people filled “Highly Unlikely”, Unlikely, on the questionnaire or ticked between 1 and 6 on number scales. These individuals have a negative or reserved impression of the product. They may even sway others from your brand and encourage them to patronize competitors.
Neutrals who take part in your survey are indifferent about the product. They neither see the need to tell others about the product nor badmouth it to people. It could be that the quality of such a product or service is not impressive enough to move them to action. Neutrals are individuals who selected 7 and 8 on the number’s scale or “Neutral” in questionnaires, their impression of the product is quite undefined. Therefore, some little persuasion through improved quality or better customer experience could make all the difference and make them true believers.
Passionate individuals as regards this survey are not just impressed with the product or service, and they are ready to go the extra mile for it. They are quite contented with the quality of the product and can convince others to go for such products. Passionate individuals selected 9-10 on the number scale or “Likely”, and “Highly Likely” on questionnaires. An organization with a higher percentage of passionate customers is usually more profitable and has a big sales margin. They are well-liked and thus will sell more. (Insert a picture of a sample NPS survey)
NPS surveys can help point out inadequacies in the product or service, in it’s their or delivery. It is wise to execute Net Promoter surveys from time to time. It can help determine the brand’s worth in the sight of customers.
4. Customer Effort Score (CES) Survey
This survey like the NPS survey helps to determine what customers think about the brand. However, in this case, the focus is placed and how much effort is supplied into delivering the product or service. CES surveys are more effective when used to evaluate services. The nature of the survey makes it suitable for determining what people think about how they were treated.
- How does it work?
This survey is also presented in the form of questionnaires, inquiring for honest feedback from customers. An aspect of most businesses where the CES survey is quite useful is in Brand to Customer (B2C) relations, for instance during a customer care call. At the end of such services, questions such as these may be asked; “Was the call helpful?” or “Are you satisfied with the services offered?” among others.
Answers are also presented in the conventional multiple-choice option or in the form of rating using a number scale. A typical presentation of responses in CES surveys is;
- Very helpful
- Very Unhelpful
In some cases, the responses are accompanied by enough space to explain what the service really felt like. That way, customers can express in greater detail what they think about the effort exerted into delivering the service. If there is a need to improve or make necessary corrections, it would be expressly stated or inferred.
It is advisable to carry out CES surveys periodically for their benefit. Due to its nature, it allows customers to make their thoughts about a product or service known. People are more likely to patronize a brand if they are aware that their opinions will be valued and utilized. The CES survey doesn’t just help solve problems with a product, it also fosters good customer relationship
5. Usability (UX) Survey
The Usability or User Experience (UX) survey is a post-modern tool for determining the level of difficulty experienced by customers who use web applications or other forms of digital technology. These surveys are especially important since many organizations that deal in this business have a department that works on user experience. They create, design, and manage the interface we see on web applications, web pages, etc.
- How does it work?
Just like many surveys, a UX survey works by asking questions to determine how hard or easy it is to use a website, an application, or software. The answers are also presented in a number scale for a rating or multiple-choice responses for selection. A typical example is, “How would you rate using (product X)?” or “What’s your experience using (application)?” etc. The answers could be presented as;
- Very Easy
- Very Difficult
These days, simplicity is the hallmark of technological innovations. Although they perform very complex tasks in an even complex manner, digital technologies should be easy to operate. Therefore, if on the survey customers respond that they are having a hard time using these tools, their needs should be properly addressed.
Benefits of carrying out Customer Satisfaction Surveys
The importance of the various kinds of customer satisfaction surveys stated above can’t be overemphasized. Producers and business organizations who care about customer experience and product sustainability execute these surveys frequently and when the need arises. Let’s see some general benefits of these surveys;
- Better Customer Relation: The whole point of these surveys is to increase customer satisfaction. Therefore, it follows that only when a customer is reasonably satisfied will there be a good relationship.
- Product Optimization: The feedback gotten from these surveys is capable of providing insights that could prove helpful in creating a product that can gain public approval.
- Fostering Brand’s Image: When a brand shows commitment to its community of customers, its image is projected better to society. Such brands can gain referrals and new customers from their loyal ones.
Customer Satisfaction Surveys are necessary for every business, product, or service. Although we have considered some common surveys which are quite popular today, there are several others worthy of mention. They include; the Post-Purchase Survey and Product-Market Fit Score among others. They are also very vital to business and are to be taken very seriously.
Several calculations and analyses go into every survey. They must be treated carefully and by professionals so that the right interpretation and deductions could be made and implemented into the business. By creating effective feedback and utilizing their detail, both the brand and its product will fair well. As an added advantage, customers will attain a reasonable level of satisfaction.