No matter how large or small your business or in which sector you operate, your customer base is your most valuable commodity. It’s also a finite one. The supply of potential new customers isn’t never-ending and any you turn away by not meeting their expectations will inevitably end up as the customers of your competitors. Customer satisfaction research is a means of gauging how your customers view your service and finding out the reasons that they could be enticed away by your rivals. This allows you to make informed decisions about your business priorities to maximise customer retention and, consequently, revenue.
The Benefits of Customer Satisfaction Research
Also known as CSR, research into customer satisfaction levels is promoted by many continuous improvement programmes like Six Sigma. These programmes maintain that improving your services to better meet customer expectations not only improves customer retention but also provides cost savings through improved efficiency. In order to improve your processes you need reliable data on which to base your decision making and set your priorities. Customer satisfaction research provides this data.
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How it Works
Typically CSR is carried out by independent market research companies who survey your customers via telephone, mail, email or web based questionnaires. They will then collate the data and present it to you in your desired format, highlighting key findings and conclusions. In order to run a successful customer satisfaction survey you need to keep the following in mind:
- Dynamism – Running a one-off survey is all very well if you just want some stats and quotes for your website. To really see the benefit of CSR though, you have to run regular surveys and monitor your performance year on year. You also have to mix it up – customers will get bored of the same old questions year after year – use their answers to last year’s survey to inform this year’s. It shows your customers that you’re listening.
- Clarity – Construction of questions and the manner in which questions are answered can heavily bias the results you obtain. Most surveys ask respondents to grade aspects of service on a sliding scale but such answers can be misinterpreted e.g. a customer might grade delivery times as 2 out of 5, prompting you to make deliveries faster, but what the customer really wanted was to be informed when deliveries would be late. Construct your questionnaires so that the data you obtain is as unambiguous as possible.
- Action – It’s no good gathering swathes of data if you’re not prepared to put the effort into interpreting it and acting upon it. A market research company can help you interpret the data but they can’t solve your customer satisfaction gap for you. Use the data and the findings to implement changes that will get you better results next year. It’s not only your customers that will thank you, your bottom line will too.
Quotes for Customer Satisfaction Research
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