Ask them what they hate

Today I was doing some research on customer satisfaction surveys. After looking through a number of examples it was clear that for the most part all the surveys I looked at were pretty much the same. They went something like this:

 Please rate the following on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being best.

1. Overall, how satisfied are you with the service(s) you received?

2. Considering all of the expectations you may have had about the service(s), to what extent have the service(s) met your expectations.

3. Considering the ideal service(s) for employers in your circumstances, how well do you think the services(s) you received compare with ideal services?

And I could go on but I think you get the idea. So my question is, what does a survey like this tell you? Say you get a 2 from one of your customers on the first question, what does that tell you? Not a whole lot from my perspective. All you know is that particular customer, assuming the didn’t fill out the survey anonymously, wasn’t very satisfied with the service they got. Same could be said for question 2 and question 3.

Let me propose a different approach. Why not ask “What one thing about the service you received did you dislike the most?” or for question 2 “What one expectation did you have that we didn’t come close to meeting?”

Questions like this can give you incredibly powerful information. The best services out there remove discomfort from the customers life. Think about the services you use and how much discomfort you would endure should you stop using them…dry cleaners, house cleaner, massage therapist, taxi driver, auto mechanic, etc. If you can find a discomfort that your service did not remove, or maybe even caused, you have an action item that can provide immediate results among your clients.

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2 Responses

  1. […] Ask Them What They Hate:  A great counterpoint to Sleepers from Jeff Monaghan.  We’ve all taken the little user surveys after visiting a site.  Most of them are begging for praise: please rate our service!  Jeff wants to beg you to tell him what you hated.  He wants to identify problems he can solve.  Jeff rightly assumes we must always be vigilant for chances to improve the user experience. […]

  2. I think the answer to the question:”how likely are you to recommend ABC Co’s services to others…” says a lot as well.

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