Business to Business Customer Satisfaction Surveys

The basic concept of business-to-business CRM is frequently called allowing the larger business to be as responsive to the requirements of its customer as a tiny business. In early days of CRM this became translated from “responsive” to “reactive “.Successful larger businesses recognise which they have to be pro-active to find listening to the views, concerns, needs and quantities of satisfaction from their customers. Paper-based surveys, such as those left in hotel bedrooms, tend to have a low response rate and are often completed by customers who have a grievance. Telephone-based interviews are often influenced by the Cassandra phenomenon. Face-to-face interviews are costly and may be led by the interviewer
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INTRODUCTION

CRM is based on the premise that, having a better knowledge of the customers’needs and desires we could keep them longer and sell more to them.

InfoQuest performed a statistical analysis of Customer Satisfaction data encompassing the findings of over 20,000 customer surveys conducted in 40 countries by InfoQuest.

The conclusions of the analysis were: –

A Totally Satisfied Customer contributes 2.6 times just as much revenue to a company as a Somewhat Satisfied Customer.

A Totally Satisfied Customer contributes 14 times the maximum amount of revenue as a Somewhat Dissatisfied Customer.

A Totally Dissatisfied Customer decreases revenue at an interest rate equal to 1.8 times exactly what a Totally Satisfied Customer plays a role in a business.

Consider the following situations…

A big, international hotel chain wanted to attract more business travellers. They decided to conduct a client satisfaction survey to find out what they had a need to enhance their services for this kind of guest. A published survey was put into each room and guests were asked to fill it out. However, once the survey period was complete, the hotel unearthed that the only people who had filled in the surveys were children and their grandparents!

WHY?

Business travellers don’t have the time or the interest in participating in this kind of survey!

A big manufacturing company conducted the first year of what was designed to be an annual customer care survey. The very first year, the satisfaction score was 94%. The next year, with the same basic survey topics, but using another survey vendor, the satisfaction score dropped to 64%. Ironically, at the same time frame, their overall revenues doubled!

WHY?

The questions were simpler and phrased differently. The order of the questions was different. The format of the survey was different. The targeted respondents were at a different management level. The Overall Satisfaction question was placed at the end of the survey.

Although all customer satisfaction surveys are employed for gathering peoples’opinions, survey designs vary dramatically in total, content and format. Analysis techniques may start using a wide variety of charts, graphs and narrative interpretations. Companies often work with a survey to check their business strategies, and many base their entire business plan upon their survey’s results. BUT…troubling questions often emerge.

Are the outcomes always accurate? …Sometimes accurate? …At all accurate? Exist “hidden pockets of customer discontent” that the survey overlooks? Can the survey information be trusted enough to take major action confidently?

While the examples above show, different survey designs, methodologies and population characteristics will dramatically alter the results of a survey. Therefore, it behoves an organization to make absolutely certain that their survey process is accurate enough to generate a true representation of these customers’opinions. Failing to do so, there is no way the organization can use the results for precise action planning.

The characteristics of a survey’s design, and the data collection methodologies employed to conduct the survey, require careful forethought to make sure comprehensive, accurate, and correct results. The discussion on the following page summarizes several key “rules of thumb” that really must be honored if your survey is to become a company’s most valued strategic business tool.

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