Survey Questions that Suck


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You’ve heard that “communication is a lost art form” and can test that theory easily by asking your child what they did at school today. You will likely hear a mumbled ‘nothing’. Surely, the child did something at school but the question almost always requires additional probing and follow-up questions to get an actual answer. Or ask her “how was school today?” and hear that it was fine. I like to ask my daughter to tell me about something that made her smile today. The same type of communication art form is critical between your contact center agents and your customers. Asking pointed, diagnostic questions to produce essay-type answers, as opposed to automatic answers, yields a more positive and productive service experience.

Of course you are nodding your head, agreeing that this art form is important. Do you apply this same logic to measure the customer experience? Does your survey present a group of questions to all callers that are pretty inflexible? “Was your issue resolved on the call today, yes or no?” is rather limiting in what can be done with the answer. Applying the art of communication means that you want to know if the issue was a problem or a question; how many contacts have been made about it; and what is the problem or questions? With the answers you will then wonder how the resolution metrics are different by product or some other kind of segmentation. Your contact center agents cannot service your customers without using diagnostic questions, so why do you not design your surveys to ask diagnostic questions?

For your survey to produce valuable insight about your customer experience, the most effective research principles and the data collection system must be used. Otherwise the results will be difficult to interpret (if not flat-out wrong) and you will miss the moment to ask your customer the proverbial question about what made them smile or frown. Don’t put your center at risk with an ineffective communication strategy.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jodie Monger
Jodie Monger, Ph.D. is the president of Customer Relationship Metrics (CRM) and a pioneer in business intelligence for the contact center industry. Dr. Jodie's work at CRM focuses on converting unstructured data into structured data for business action. Her research areas include customer experience, speech and operational analytics. Before founding CRM, she was the founding associate director of Purdue University's Center for Customer-Driven Quality.


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