Pretty Good Practice: Dynamic Surveys


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I see a lot of customer surveys which haven’t changed in years. Not a single question, not even any punctuation.

This seems odd, given how dynamic most businesses are today. Many in the survey industry have elevated the idea of “consistency” to the highest possible value for a customer survey. A survey isn’t any good, they claim, if it isn’t consistent over time and with other benchmark surveys.

It is true that consistency makes the statistician’s job easier, but consistency is not more important than relevance, actionability, responsiveness, and many other important qualities an effective customer feedback program should have.

The problem is that a survey which never changes can’t respond to changing business needs. There needs to be room for addressing new issues, while maintaining a certain level of coherence so that you can track key metrics.

To do this, I recommend allocating space in a customer survey for questions which can change as needed. Core metrics–the questions which rarely change–should be at the beginning so they won’t be affected by the questions which change. But then allow for a couple slots for dynamic questions which can be revised as needed.

Sometimes there might be a short-term event you want to get feedback about, such as a severe weather disruption. Sometimes you may want to test out alternatives to your core metrics. And sometimes those slots may not be used, making the survey a little shorter. There’s nothing wrong with that.

Having this flexibility will allow the customer feedback process to become much more responsive to the needs of the rest of the business. So when the Senior Executive Vice President of Something Important comes with an issue she wants feedback about, you don’t need to turn her away or ask for budget to hire a market research company for a special project. Just drop it into the survey for a few weeks and get what you need.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Peter Leppik
Peter U. Leppik is president and CEO of Vocalabs. He founded Vocal Laboratories Inc. in 2001 to apply scientific principles of data collection and analysis to the problem of improving customer service. Leppik has led efforts to measure, compare and publish customer service quality through third party, independent research. At Vocalabs, Leppik has assembled a team of professionals with deep expertise in survey methodology, data communications and data visualization to provide clients with best-in-class tools for improving customer service through real-time customer feedback.


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