In part 1, we have briefly covered the definition and purpose of a customer satisfaction survey. We also discovered that a customer satisfaction survey is a process and should be approached in a systematic way.

Bypassing certain steps in the process could jeopardize the overall success of the survey. Knowing your customer is satisfied could be very comforting, but that does not necessarily result in actionable insight which in turn can be used to drive change – an opportunity lost to innovate and grow.

Goals and objective – what are you really trying to achieve?

A well-executed and successful survey begins with an understanding of the survey’s goals and objectives. To write effective goals, it is useful to start with the word to followed by an action verb, such as describe, explain, explore, identify, investigate, gauge, measure, assess or test – for example: “To understand what makes our product unique” or “To explore our customer needs and requirements”. A goal is more generic, and not strictly measurable and tangible.

The objectives of a survey determine who you will survey and what you will ask them. If your objectives are unclear, your results will probably be unclear. The set of objectives is generated from the goal statement. Objectives should follow the specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound (SMART) rule. Commit to these objectives in writing to help keep the survey focused – these objectives serve as a guideline when writing the questionnaire. There can be more than one objective for 1 goal statement. Examples of objectives include:

  1. Goal: To determine how flexible customers are towards new packaging
  1. Associated objective:To assess customer’s opinions about the new kaleidoscopic packaging over the next 4 weeks
  2. Associated objective:To assess how the new office move may affect employee transport arrangements
  3. Associated objective:To explore employee attitudes towards a proposed open office policy
  4. Associated objective:To determine the percentage of the current customer base that are likely to purchase our product again over the next 6 months
  5. Associated objective:To describe what unique need our product are filling that leads to increased customer loyalty
  1. Goal: To determine employees attitudes about the proposed office move
  1. Goal: To understand what drives customer loyalty

Timelines need not to be complicated. It can be as simple as listing what you plan to accomplish each week. If there is an external project deadline (for example, the product manager needs the results to conclude a new product design), you will need to start from the deadline and work backward to the present. If the time provided is not enough, you can simplify the objectives by reducing it to answer only the critical objectives or you can decrease the sample size (…more on sample size later this series).

In the next part in the series, we will explore the important role that key stakeholders will play in the success of your survey.

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