Many organizations use satisfaction surveys to keep a pulse on their customers. The objective is to be able to create a numerical measurement with some statistical validation. Surveys have their place but there is another form of customer satisfaction data that is purely qualitative, that is, opened ended, dynamic and flexible. It provides for a greater depth of understanding of your customers, and provides the language the customers use when discussing your products or services. One technique to gather this data is called a focus group.

Buying or selling a home is a major financial transaction for all concerned. Picking an agent to list with or an agent to help find a home is a decision that often involves word of mouth recommendations. As a result, it is very important for a broker to monitor it’s customer satisfaction ratings for its agents and for the brokerage as a whole.Real Satisfied is a service provides a realtor with a system to measure customer satisfaction both at the broker level and for multiple real estate agents working for them.

I recently returned from a 2 week tour in China and was quite pleasantly surprised that customer satisfaction processes seem to be built into Chinese culture. Here are 3 examples of what I observed.

Fonolo has an interesting application that allows consumers to navigate a company’s voice response menus on a PC or an iPhone, enter a number for a call back and get called back by the next available agent. This front end can be implemented without changing an organization’s entire system. Customers may like the alternative to waiting on hold, increasing customer satisfaction and agents may be more productive handling problems they are trained for , without having to transfer customers.

Most customer satisfaction surveys are made up of more than one question. Using data analysis, it is possible to determine what areas an organization should focus on; what to fix and what to continue doing well. Find the key drivers for customer satisfaction and make them part of your management focus.

7 Techniques to Understand Your Customers

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

A prior blog post called Customer Satisfaction Tip: Understand Your Customer reviewed why it was important to understand your customer and what it really meant to understand. Three company examples were included, IBM, Cisco and Apple. This post covers seven techniques and best practices to understand your customers, theirs needs, wants, wishes, complaints, concerns, and the terminology they use.

One of the biggest problems with satisfaction surveys is that many customers won’t fill them in. Many surveys are boring, asking too many detailed questions and consumers get bothered too often. Internet and mobile technology allow for new methods of engaging customers. Here are some of the old techniques I have seen recently in surveys I have completed, followed by some new techniques you might not have considered. My thanks to Qualtrics for demonstrating these new survey and market research techniques and allowing me to use excerpts from their demo materials in this post.

Regardless of whether an organization surveys all its customers (ie a census) or only a sampling of them, if it is possible for a customer to receive multiple surveys in a short period of time, then survey fatigue can become a factor. Customers will rebel and refuse to answer requests for feedback or provide lower than usual scores. Some organizations have a policy that they never respond to surveys. Some individuals with organizations that accept surveys, may not want to be surveyed. A Survey fatigue process must capture these possibilities and remove them from the list of customers to be surveyed.

There was a time when obtaining survey data was a difficult process, often manual or requiring the use of agencies. Today there is a large variety of survey options to choose from. This article covers some of the features to look for and 36 tools currently available for surveys and polls that can be conducted on the web, social media and mobile devices.

Clickfox, a leader in a new breed of experience analytics, has published their 2nd Annual Tipping Point Survey describing what irks customers the most and compares it to their findings in 2010. This post provides some of the highlights. One conclusion from this study is that “Organizations relying only on traditional methods of measuring customer experience like satisfaction surveys, call center metrics and performance management will be left behind.”

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