I just spent the last 20 minutes completing a client satisfaction survey. As a marketer, I am sensitive to the request, but I seldom take the time to complete the surveys that I receive.  From my perspective, the requests often seem vacuous and insincere.  Who knows? That may say more about my skepticism than about the company. Having said that, as I answered the questions on this survey, I became keenly aware of why I chose to respond this time.  There were three reasons.

Client satisfaction in professional services firmsFirst, the survey came from REI, one of my favorite outdoor stores and one that happens to have a 100% satisfaction guarantee that actually means something.  Second, I had had a less than ideal client experience on my most recent trip (which was the subject of this survey), so I didn’t feel “satisfied.”  Third, my relationship with REI is important to me.  I am a member, so I receive a “dividend” each year, and I love spending time in the store.

I didn’t want my last interaction to be a negative one.  The survey gave me the opportunity to vent and was an invitation for me to sincerely help REI improve the service it provides. How do I know it was sincere?  The survey was from an objective third party.  The survey offered an opportunity for an in-depth conversation, if I chose to have one.  The questions were relevant to understanding me, my passions and my needs.

Take away

Are you asking your clients how you are doing?  Does your survey ask tough questions about your service? Do you try to understand your clients’ passions? Irritations?  Are you sincerely asking, “How can we get better in your eyes?”

Sometimes the answers are hard to hear, but remember this: if your client answers, then the relationship is important to them.  That is worth its weight in gold.

Be prudent.

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