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KEEP ON ASKING

You can’t manage what you don’t measure, and customer satisfaction is no exception. It’s one thing to proactively reach out to clients once and ask them what they think about you. That alone puts you ahead of most companies that don’t even do this. But ask your clients regularly what they think and you’ll stay ahead of negative trends. This virtuous feedback loop becomes a sustainable competitive advantage.

Business guru Verne Harnish frequently points out that regular communication keeps an organization aligned and accountable. By regularly surveying your clients you prove that you not only want client feedback but that you’re ready, willing, and able to tackle the tough comments to keep your clients happy.

So, how often should you survey your clients? That depends on your business, how complex your product or service is to use, and how competitive your industry is. Just balance the desire for feedback with the need to not ask too often. You don’t want to annoy your clients.

Timing Options

We recommend two options for sending out client surveys:

  • 1Quarterly: Choose this option if you’re new to surveying or if you’ve made some updates to your business. It’ll give you more frequent reads so you’ll get sentiment benchmarks faster.
  • 2Semiannually: This timing is best if you’ve already sent out a few surveys and you aren’t releasing any major business updates. This cadence gives you general reads to make sure everything is running smoothly.

Now we know it’s easy to want to hide from trends. If you got a bunch of great scores the first time around, it’s hard to keep up that excellence. Don’t let the “ Ostrich Problem ”–the avoidance of measuring progress for fear of negative drift–consume you. Accept that client sentiment will ebb and flow. Just be ready to put that action plan we talked about in Chapter 12 together to tackle dips in satisfaction.

Quick Tip:

SURVEY “SMART”

No matter how much you do to get your clients to respond, it’s likely that several will not. Reminders discussed back in Chapter 11 remedy some of this non-response problem. “Smart pulsing” bridges the gap even more.

Here’s how it works: If a client responds, they skip a period, and get surveyed during the subsequent period. If a client does not respond, they get surveyed in the next period. So...

  • If you’re on a quarterly basis…clients that responded will skip a quarter.
  • If you’re on a semi-annual basis...clients that responded will skip a half.

Why use smart pulsing? It’s the best of both worlds—it increases the chances of getting valuable feedback without annoying clients with excessive surveying. But if they didn’t respond, you’re reaching out in the subsequent time period to get a pulse on how they’re doing.

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