Our Thoughts

What's a Customer Survey For?

13th April 2018

Why are you surveying customers?

I'm not after some vague answer like "you can't manage what you don't measure"; I want to know specifically what it is that you're trying to achieve with your survey.

If it helps, I think there are basically two answers:

1) To learn things. Which are the most important moments of truth? What are the relationships between big strategic things like loyalty, image, satisfaction, profit? What are the key drivers of satisfaction or NPS? Which parts of the customer journey make the most difference to customers?

2) To monitor and manage performance. Getting regular, granular, scores so that you can use customer feedback to manage front line staff and the performance of different teams or business units.

Both of those answers are good, and most organisations of any size would want to do plenty of each, but they rarely play well together in the same survey. The crucial thing is to be clear about which one you're doing with any particular piece of research.

Being clear on why you're doing the research will help you make better decisions about the best tools to use, which customers you need to speak to, and what to ask them. Get it wrong and you can find yourself caught in the trap of learning the same thing month after month (do you really need to do another key driver analysis?), or trying to engage front line staff with scores that seem impossibly distant from their day to day jobs.

Start by thinking about how your research fits into a 2x2 matrix plotting level (strategic vs tactical) against purpose (exploring vs measuring). We've given an example of each to make it a bit easier.  


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