First the Proof 

From 1997 to 2010 I worked for a home remodeling company. In that time, the company grew to be one of top 50 largest home remodeling companies in America, but more important, we were locally and nationally recognized for outstanding customer service. The home remodeling industry isn’t known for customer service—just the opposite, yet this organization was the only company, of any type, to win the Central Indiana BBB Torch award four consecutive years. Want to know how it was done?

How it was done

It starts with product – To begin with, we offered outstanding products, installed by trained company employees, with a dedicated service department. It begins by offering a superior product; nothing customer service can do will make up for inferior products.

Follow up – Every new installation and service call was followed up. Installation managers would inspect jobs before during and after the installation was completed. Service people surveyed the customer at the completion of every service. Administration followed up with a phone call within three days, and a survey was mailed (now it’s emailed.) It didn’t end there. Any and every less than positive response to a survey was followed up with a visit from management, including C-level staff. Sounds like a lot of work doesn’t it? Yes, it is, but this company is now one of the top twenty home remodeling companies in the United States.

Creating a Survey

A customer service survey will vary by product, industry, and target audience. A survey that may work for a B2C service provider, such as the remodeling company, will not fit the needs of a B2B vendor or a not for profit reaching out to donors. Each survey should be custom made to fit the organization. With that in mind here are two keys to creating a customer survey that works.

Keep it short and simple –The survey can and should be accomplished in five questions or less. The questions should center on product and service, professionalism, communication, and responsiveness. Not only should the number of questions be limited, but also each question should be concise. How much time does any consumer have for a survey? Keep it KISS.

Don’t use leading questions – A closed in question limits responses to yes or no. For example, “Did you like our service?” Regardless the answer you don’t know what’s most important, which is why. A closed in leading question is worse, “You liked our work, didn’t you?” Use open-ended questions such as, “How would you rate our service?” or “What would you suggest to improve our product?” If you’re going to share ranges such as, one being great and five being unacceptable, offer a three to five choice range, and leave room for comments on every question.

Get to the Goal

The reason for a customer service survey isn’t to justify activities or pat yourself on the back; it’s to grow your business by identifying areas of improvement as well as strengths to solidify and repeat. And that leads to the ultimate goal of customer service, which is to reduce costs by decreasing mistakes and increase business by developing product advocates. How do you survey your customers?