The One Question You Should Never Leave Out Of Your Customer Surveys

We all know that customer surveys are an important and useful tool. They help assure that we are offering a good product or service. They reveal areas for improvement in our business. But like many things in small business, conducting surveys is easier said than done. It does take time and resources to put together and conduct a survey, but I believe that surveys are crucial to the success of your small business.

Start by establishing who is going to create your customer satisfaction surveys, how often you are going to survey and who will receive them. Once you’ve done that, the next big decision is what questions to ask your customers in the survey. This can be tricky since you can’t ask about every detail of your product or service. If you do, you will end up with an extremely long survey that most customers will not take the time to fill out. Also, the longer the survey the less accurate the information you receive, especially at the end of the survey when the person is tired and he or she may be rushing to finish the survey.

I recommend a survey with no more than 20 questions, keeping in mind that for many people even this may be too much. I myself have created customer satisfaction surveys of 25-30 questions with success, but it depends on the kind of product or service you provide. For a more complex or sophisticated service/product, it may be necessary to have more questions in order to fully understand which part of your process is performing well and where you can use improvement. On the other hand, if you are talking about a restaurant, it will be difficult to get people to fill out a survey attached to the check if it has more than 5 questions on it.

Regardless of the length of the survey, there is one question that cannot be left out of any survey. This is based on research that lead to the development of the “Net Promoter Score” (NPS). This score is based on a large study of the best questions to ask customers in a survey in order to get the most accurate information about how they feel about a service/product. The results of this study were somewhat surprising. The number one surprise was that the question : “How do you like our service or product?” does not accurately reveal the level of satisfaction that your customers have with your service or product!

On the other hand, here is the question that does reveal how satisfied your customer truly is, the one you should always include in your surveys:

On a scale of 1 to 10, (10 being the most likely), how likely are you to recommend our product/service to a family member, colleague or friend?

So if you’re someone who takes customer surveys, now you know why this question appears so often!

Here’s how you calculate your company’s Net Promoter Score:

1. Take all of your surveys, and count the number who gave you a score of 9 or 10 on this question. Divide this number by the total number of surveys, to get your percentage of promoters.

2. Those who gave you a 6 or lower on this question are considered detractors. Count the number of detractors, and divide by the total number of surveys. This is your percentage of detractors.

3. Subtract your detractor percentage from your promoter percentage. This is your Net Promoter Score.

You may be wondering what this score means. Studies have found a huge correlation between a company’s NPS and its growth through the years. Companies across all industries who show a positive NPS have much higher growth than those who have a negative or low NPS. So the higher the NPS the better, but in general a score above 50% is considered very good. These insights are so powerful that many large companies now link NPS results to their employee bonuses.

So now you know, make sure you always include this crucial question in your customer satisfaction surveys, and you too can start measuring your Net Promoter Score.

Written by:

Rodrigo Laddaga

6 replies
  1. Donna
    Donna says:

    This is so eye opening, Rodrigo! I will make sure to always ask the “magic” question from now on! Are there any other questions that you always ask? Thanks!

  2. Rodrigo Laddaga
    Rodrigo Laddaga says:

    Hi Gregg! thanks for your comment. The reality is that you will never can assure that somebody is being honest with their answers to any survey, but this is why this NPS study and founds are so valuable, at least now we know which is the most or one of the most accurate questions to ask in order to measure more accurate your customers satisfaction.

    The other component that you can use to see how your customers like you or not, is using this concept that Mike Michalowicz have talk recently, and it is that “customers speak trough their wallets”, this is, if they like you they will continue to buy from you. This is why is so important that you make what we call on the Pumpkin Plan Program, the ideal client analysis, where you put in a Excel sheet your customers by revenue (higher to lower of the last year) and then you evaluate them in other aspects, such as, how well they pay (on time or no), how frequently they buy from you and very important, how happy are you doing business with them. These are some of the factors that you valuate from customers with this technique.

    Then you make a continues process of making surveys, and analyzing your ideal customer, all the time so you will end serving your ideal customers better and better trough time and then you will have what we call on Provendus a colossal pumpkin, a colossal business instead of living like unfortunately most of small business do, check by check, struggling, month by month, year after year.

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