One of the most common uses of market research and surveys is for customer satisfaction or customer loyalty research. It’s often the type of project that new clients to Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS) will “dip their toes” into to test the value and ROI of market research. Using market research to find out if your customers are satisfied is pretty simple. We’ve tackled the question of “Are my customers satisfied?” through five market research related steps below:
1. Collecting contact information – Before you can begin to follow-up to see if your customers are satisfied, you must first collect their contact information to build a database. This can be collected by asking customers to sign-up for a newsletter, sign-up for coupons or something similar where they have opted-in to communications from your business. The quickest and easiest information to collect, which will save your business money down the road, is their email address. The industry is headed to mobile surveys, looking for quick and short feedback from customers.
2. Notify them of your efforts – Before we work with our clients to manage the invitation to participate in the customer satisfaction survey, we like to first have a notice go out to customers to make them aware of our efforts. This short letter or email thanks them for signing up, mentions that they will be receiving an invite to participate in a survey in the next week or so, explains to them the objectives of the study and finally pre-thanks them for their participation. This works better for large-scale yearly customer satisfaction projects where advance time can be taken advantage of. If you are routinely sending customer satisfaction surveys out each week, there may not be enough of a lapse to get pre-notification out.
3. Send a survey – Once you work with your market research consultant to finalize the instrument and the topics you’d like to inquire about, we can send out a survey to your customers. You may choose to filter this invite to only customers who purchased a specific service or those who recently purchased in the past three months. You may also choose to send to your entire customer database. Many of our clients regularly send these to new customers immediately after they’ve made a purchase or had an experience. The key here is trying to collect as much data as possible from your customers, which gives you the flexibility to slice and dice the invites (if needed).
4. Analyze the results – This is where hiring an expert to analyze the data comes into play. The consultant will analyze the results and report back to your business with key findings. The vendor will identify areas your business performs strong with regards to customer satisfaction and which areas need more work. The vendor should also be able to tell you which service factors correlate to overall satisfaction and identify the key drivers to overall satisfaction. It will answer the question of “Are my customers satisfied?” One of the advantages of an outside consultant is that we will be able to make objective recommendations based on the findings, whereas people within the organization may be too close to the situation or emotionally invested in the results to see the big picture.
5. Continually track – It is important to note that customer satisfaction is not a “one-and-done” effort. It needs to be regularly tracked and monitored to understand ebbs and flows in satisfaction levels. Customer satisfaction can change quickly based on a number of factors including customer service, price and problem resolution to name a few. It’s important to stay ahead of the curve so you can counteract and address dips in customer satisfaction before they snowball.
Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS) is a market research firm located in Syracuse, NY, which handles a variety of customer satisfaction studies across all industries in all regions of the country. If you are interested in learning more about customer satisfaction research, contact our Business Development Director Sandy Baker at SandyB@RMSresults.com or by calling 315-635-9802.