Every company longs to create more loyal customer and increase word of mouth referrals. If you want to increase your performance in these areas, you need to first find a way to measure your performance and then act on it. To get the measurement you need feedback from clients. Enter Voice-of-the-Customer surveys or VoC surveys.
It’s healthy and natural to have a bias towards doing these in house. You think it will be cheaper, it will give you a direct line to the customer, and you don’t have to deal with another 3rd party contractor. So you assign the task of surveying clients to an internal team or individual and everything seems to be going great until nothing actually happens.
We’ve found that there are 4 common mistakes often associated with this type of “in-house” approach:
1. "Pining for a nine": I am sure many of you have experienced that one salesman or tech at a car dealership who goes “hey, if you could give me all 10’s it would really help me out?” I call this “pining for a nine.” Doing this does have an influence on results and in our mind it isn’t a good one. For pure results you have to try and keep as much bias as possible out of the survey, in order to get to the root of potential issues. Keeping the survey free of bias ensures that the answers you receive will give you the best information to make decisions and changes down the road.
2. Taking it personally: Doing surveys in house means that you will run across someone unhappy with your service. One common mistake is to “get your feelings hurt,” so to speak, and lash out in defense of your company. This is a big no-no for obvious reasons. You want to lose a customer quickly, get defensive. Your sole goal should be getting the customers opinion, good or bad, and thanking them for their time.
3. Lack of randomization and administration: If you have tried doing them you know, it seems like it will be easy, but oh boy, it can be quite the headache. You have to randomize in order to remove bias on the outset, and when the survey is completed you have to put all the data in an easy to peruse spreadsheet. Do you really have the time to do all this? Do you have the spare people power? Most likely not and that brings us to our last point.
4. Lack of dedicated staff: This one shouldn’t be surprise but it always is for clients. When you ask someone who already has other job tasks, to take on surveying, they will almost always do their other tasks first and neglect to do the surveying. I remember asking one guy how it was going and he responded with “I haven’t done that for 3 months, too much other stuff to do.” If you want the surveys completed you have to have dedicated staff to ensure they are done.
The issues above are common because many companies make the decision to perform client surveys in house prior to fully understanding what the effort entails. Once you have started doing surveys in house, it can be difficult to step back and realize that the effort is not effective and hence has become a time and money drain. Recognizing that you have an issue can save your survey program. Hopefully this list will help. If you need to evaluate your program in more detail, or are considering using a dedicated firm to perform your surveys, please let us know and we’d be happy to help.
For all our parents celebrating back-to-school time, here is your anthem.