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Merrick, NY—Regular surveys of your customers that measure satisfaction—and dissatisfaction—are an important part of making sure you are able to meet their needs, retain their loyalty, and build lasting relationships with them.

But before you send out your next survey, make sure it’s doing the best job it can at delivering the information you need. A poorly designed survey can return skewed results, which isn’t going to help you improve your business.

According to this article in the Huffington Post, the five things you need to know about creating a good survey are:

1. Focus on the narrative, not the numbers. Make sure to include some open-ended questions to gather specific feedback.  A rating from 1 to 5 with 5 being excellent is meaningless—unless you know why a customer gave you a 1 so you can fix it or why you got a 5, so you know which behaviors to repeat.

2. Don’t stack the deck. Be sure your survey is designed to get an objective balance of respondents and offer a balanced set of reply options. If you have a five-point rating scale where three of the ratings are positive, it’s going to give you biased results and perhaps obscure the need to fix some issues. But a false-positive result on your own survey doesn’t mean that customers won’t still give you their “real” ratings on social media—so it’s best to get objective information first.

3. Try to get real-time information from real customers. It’s the best way to gauge strengths and weaknesses and hopefully avoid making poor decisions down the road that doing adequate research sooner could have averted.

4. Reach out and touch someone. To paraphrase the old AT&T phone commercial, there’s nothing better than human conversation to tell you what you need to know. Customers will tell you things in person they wouldn’t say on a survey—or that the survey gives them no place to say. This is especially important for dissatisfied customers and gives you the best opportunity to make it right.

5. Use the findings. Don’t put them in a binder and forget about them or save them to deal with later—and especially if the findings are negative or not what you want, take the opportunity to do something about it. Don’t be in denial and sweep a less-than-positive result under the rug.


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