Design a Customer Survey Based on the Likely Causes of Customer Dissatisfaction

This is actually a very effective method to design a customer survey, especially concerning the businesses that have a high turnover of new customers e.g. retail or hotel businesses.

Instead of thinking customer satisfaction through general indicators such as – “How satisfied were you with the products and services provided?” The alternative approach would be to try to identify the likely or general causes of customer dissatisfaction within the context of the industry sector in question.

For example, in a retail business the likely causes of dissatisfaction could entail the following factors:

  • Pricing – value for the price paid is seen unsatisfactory
  • Queuing times – due to under-staffing
  • Availability of products – false information e.g. on the website
  • Quality of products – not up to the customer expectations
  • Misleading product information – advertisements that over-promise or contain incorrect details
  • Customer service – lacking the essential product knowledge etc.

By using this method – one could find out effectively the relative importance of each problem / cause of dissatisfaction, thus gathering information on the areas that require the most attention.

Obviously, if everything turns out A-OK, then one should be highly satisfied with how operations are run and managed on a daily basis, and thereby there is no urgency to seek for changes. But in terms of maximising the daily outcome on the operational level, the problem centric approach is highly useful to be used in the questionnaire design.

In terms of structuring the survey, the recommended structure would ideally follow customer journey(s) – starting from advertising, and then mapping each step through thinking of the moments when customer dissatisfaction is most likely to occur.

This type of logical continuum will also make the analysis of the results more straightforward and down to the point – saving time and effort.  

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