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Hidden meanings in the wording of a customer satisfaction survey

 

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Writing questions for a customer satisfaction survey is not as easy as it may sound. You can not simply just sit down at a computer and type out whatever you want to ask your customer. Not only do you need to compose questions that are easy for the respondent to answer, you also need to consider that the questions may be interpreted differently by your customers.  

 
For example, I see the word ‘expectation’ in many customer satisfaction surveys.  The word ‘expectation’ seems pretty self explanatory doesn’t it?  While the definition of expectation is, “what is considered the most likely to happen” typically our expectations are set by what has happened in the past. Unknowingly, your survey may be skewed by customers explaining their expectations of the past, when you are actually asking for what they are expecting in your future service.
 
What if I go to a restaurant regularly with friends because it’s convenient for all of us.  We go to this restaurant for the convenience knowing full well that their service is always terrible but their food is good.  Let’s say that after we finish our meal I agree to fill out their customer satisfaction survey for the dinner we just finished. When I’m asked the question, “Did our service meet your expectations”, my answer will most likely be yes because I knew what I was getting myself into and had already prepared myself for terrible service.
 
Now fast forward to when the manager is looking at their survey results.  They’ll see my response and categorize me into a “happy customer” category.  The problem with this is they’ve asked the wrong question and worded it poorly leading to a skewed response which defeats the purpose of measuring customer satisfaction.
 
Beware of the words you use in customer surveys and think about how your customer may interpret the question’s meaning. Take your time when putting together a customer satisfaction survey and be sure to analyze how certain words may be interpreted differently. Customer feedback is very important to collect, just be sure you're collecting the right information.

 

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