Surprises --- In Customer Survey Results

December 13, 2017

By Sid Chadwick

“We’re all proud of making little mistakes. It gives us the feeling we don’t make any big ones.”…………….……..Andy Rooney


Survey Results

What should the objectives of a worthwhile Customer Survey be --- for your company? A few modest suggestions…….

  • To uncover immediate additional business opportunities --- at current customers.
  • To uncover opportunities --- to improve performance, as requested by current customers.
  • To learn what customers love --- that we should not change.
  • To uncover important issues --- we previously did not recognize as important.
  • And finally, ideally --- to create opportunities for new business --- at current --- and --- new customers.

We tend to not survey “prospects” --- for clients. And, we don’t like surveying customers who bought from our client --- two or three (or more) years ago. Those organizations tend to not have recent or accurate experiences of what our client is doing right, and what needs to improve. 

If you do survey prospects ---or folks who used to buy from you --- separate their responses from current customers. Otherwise, you’ll “taint” your tabulation results, and draw improper conclusions.

What do we see changing, that borders on --- “The Profound”:

  • There’s a clear trend toward “consolidating” suppliers. Buyers don’t want mediocre performance --- in exchange for lower prices. They want acceptable quality, reliably delivered on-time, at prices that save them money. They also prefer suppliers who learn from producing their work --- for steadily improving their costs and resulting pricing.
  • They want buying to be made easy. That includes (1) education and training, (2) websites for them to buy --- from their computer screens, (3) matrix pricing, (4) long-term agreements, and (5) reliable, prompt information.
  • They want proactive suppliers, and they want answers --- quickly. We’re in the midst of wrapping-up a Customer Survey for a publication printer --- who has no outside Sales Reps.  They have, however, taken their Customer Service performance --- to extraordinary levels --- to the point that their Inside Sales Team --- has become a “buzz” in their publication market. (Over 25 new publication customers in 2017 --- totally by referral….with well over 30 more promises of Referrals --- from their current Customer Survey! What’s the value --- the ROI --- of their Customer Survey results…?)
  • Strong Creative Departments --- are a “major benefit” --- for suppliers who have them. Those Creative Departments represent multiple reasons to move future business toward --- that supplier organization.
  • Archiving customers’ graphics and text messages, for 24/7 secure access --- is increasingly understood to save money, and move what was previously a “cost” --- over in the balance sheet --- to becoming an “asset”. Access for customers to that type of information tends to significantly elevate the productivity of the customer’s organization --- who has multiple locations, dealerships, franchises, field Sales Reps, Sales Offices, Agencies (you get the picture).
  • Customer Survey tabulation results should be organized by Sales Rep/CSR Team, not just an overview of the company at large. In effect, you want to know who needs support for elevated productivity, and who needs remedial attention (at least, you want confirmation --- to what you already suspect.)


Obviously, several “something’s” are changing in the market.

For example, for the first time in memory, we have “five Customer Surveys in process” --- at one time.  Why is that?

Could be --- at least partly --- because we tend to produce Customer Survey Response Rates --- that exceed 30 - 35%.

“Four things come not back: the spoken word, the spent arrow, the past, the neglected opportunity.”…………………Omar Ibn Al-Halif


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