And the survey says…

July 3, 2012 By    

Whenever I am asked for feedback from a hotel or restaurant, I fill it out right away and eagerly relay my experience to them. It is important for people in business to understand and appreciate the significance of customer feedback. At first, I was hesitant to consider asking our customers for feedback. After all, why would I deliberately ask someone to take their best shot at me? (I bruise easily.)

There are two common mistakes companies make when asking customers for feedback. Surveys are often ignored because they are either too lengthy or worded in such a way that doesn’t allow you to honestly express your opinions. For example, I received a survey from an organization that I belong to. I had been frustrated about some things and was ready to spell it out to them in a forceful, yet polite way. To my disappointment, the survey was limited to multiple-choice questions, which failed to address any of the “elephant-in-the-living-room” problems that were plaguing the organization. Ugh!

We have discovered a better way. Once a year, we send a survey to our customers via email and ask only one question: “On a scale from 1-10, how likely are you to recommend our company to someone else?” And then we ask them to explain their answer. It’s that simple! The first time we did this, it was like asking your mother-in-law if she sees anything in you that she would like to change. (Note: My mother-in-law did not receive a copy of the survey.) The customers who gave us a rating of 8 or above were the customers who were most likely to refer us to others whenever possible. The ones who gave us a score of 1-5 were most likely to switch to another company in the near future.

We called the customers who gave us a low score and asked them to explain their reasons for doing so. After allowing them to tell us the whole story, we authorized the person making the calls to do whatever they felt was necessary to correct the situation right away. We then called the customers who gave us a high score. After thanking them, we asked for permission to use their comments on our website and other advertising

I haven’t completely overcome my fear of customer feedback yet, but I now realize the vital role it plays in the health of any organization that wants to serve its customers in meaningful ways. – Ken Albrecht

The writer, Ken Albrecht, is president of Reliable Propane in Clarence Center, N.Y. His blog appears at

This article is tagged with , , and posted in Blue Flame Blog

Comments are currently closed.