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Client Surveys: The Benefits

To get a read on how well or how poorly your business is performing, it is logical to ask your clients. Client surveys offer a means to gain a better understanding of your clients’ requirements and concerns to enable you to improve your offering and service standards in line with their needs. Embracing the concept of monitoring client satisfaction and responding, if required, to issues or constructive feedback, can improve client loyalty and protect revenue and profitability.

The information generated from a client survey provides you and your business with valuable feedback on the issues that are important to your clients. Surveys should be designed and tailored to get insights into the issues that you want to better understand. For example, to find out how well your services meet your clients' needs or how satisfied they are with different aspects of the service you offer. The feedback can highlight problems that you were not aware of, giving you the opportunity to respond and take remedial action. Alternatively, it can confirm what you are doing well, giving you the confidence that you are delivering on your promise to your clients.

A client survey provides a channel for customers to express their views, and in my experience in professional services, not enough businesses do this. This is important in an environment where increasing numbers of clients share their views and opinions on social media that are outside your control. Asking your clients for their feedback on their experience with your business indicates that you are prepared to listen and to into take account of their views – this demonstrates to them a high level of care and interest. In my opinion, that is appreciated – especially if the feedback is shared and acted on.

The information gained from a client survey provides perspective and I always call it the "source of truth". From here you have the opportunity to act on the knowledge gained from such an exercise, such as focusing on areas of your business that achieve low satisfaction scores and prioritise improvement programs so that you can remedy any problems in those areas. The improvement programs, for example, can take the form of changes to business processes or employee training.

Client attitudes can fall into three distinct zones: zone of defection, zone of indifference and zone of loyalty. The zones correspond to different levels of customer satisfaction. The higher the level of satisfaction you can achieve, the more likely you are to retain loyal customers, something all businesses aim for.

Is one client survey enough? Well, it is better than nothing. It will provide you with a snapshot of your clients' opinions at a given point of time.

However, more is better! By conducting a number of surveys over a period of time, you can measure the results of any improvement programs you have undertaken or changes to service offerings. You can ask customers the same set of questions in each survey and analyse the results to assess progress.

There are different ways to obtain feedback including online using a series of pre-defined questions that your client base can respond to in their own time. Alternatively, you can choose to use a more deeper and personalised approach via in-depths interviews or focus groups. Whatever way you choose, the findings, if you choose to embrace them, can really help you keep your business on track.

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