• 07:08:32 am on February 10, 2009 | 3
    Tags: , , , , , ,

    Surveys Done Right – Part 4 – EFM Best Practices

    Ok, final part of this series.

    We so far have covered point-of-service surveys, customer-satisfaction surveys, and best-practices for surveys.  On to the best way to implement enterprise feedback management in your organization.  This is a set of best practices I use with all my clients to get them to understand what is the best way to adopt an Enterprise Feedback Management initiative.  Since I was told the previous posts were too long – on to the rest of this!

    Most organizations embark on feedback management programs with no clear objective or purpose, except to simply collect information from the client. This results in long, rambling surveys, improperly worded questions and poor response rates. More importantly, it results in an annoyed customer who must put up with an ill-prepared organization as well as valuable feedback being discarded because the organization doesn’t know what to do with it.

    Best Practice 1 – Determine the W’s

    Who: Most important in a feedback management program is determining the specific customers involved by segmenting . All other questions – what, when and why – are derived from knowing your feedback collection target. Some customers and segments will be more comfortable answering short surveys, while others won’t take the time. A survey for customers whose historical response rate is less than 10% would be a waste of time. However, direct feedback collection (via a conversation or call-out campaign) may yield a higher rate, as well as more feedback. Throwing a survey “over the wall” to see who answers is inefficient. Different users should be targeted using different methods. This most critical “W” must take precedence.

    Why: The most complicated question to ask in determining whether to collect customer feedback is why. Specific reasons for collecting the data (such as improving profile, maintaining customer satisfaction and ensuring compliance) tend to be overlooked once the project starts. Lack of a reason for collecting feedback leads to similar problems as a lack of purpose or an objective: messy, complex feedback events that achieve little success. World-class organizations focus on the specific reason to conduct the project as a way to determine the best questions to ask. This piece of data relies on knowing who is being asked for feedback and, along with the response, makes up the basis for answering the last two questions.

    What: Asking for feedback with no specific purpose often leads to violating the simple rules for surveys. The best surveys have one specific purpose, and all questions or actions support that purpose. Knowing what is being sought, as in a piece of information or insight, goes a long way toward reaching this goal. “Fishing” surveys, which usually have no purpose, tend to irritate users and accomplish nothing. Response rates are higher for single-purpose feedback events, and insights are easier to come by than for complex, multipurpose or no-purpose events.

    When: The best time to capture and channel feedback varies depending on the situation and process. Organizations deploying a feedback project must understand that for each situation it is imperative to capture feedback at the appropriate time. Asking for customer feedback or capturing feedback four weeks after an event leads to faulty memory of the event, thus inaccurate feedback. Conversely, requesting feedback before an interaction is complete, even if it takes several days, yields inconsistent feedback. For each project, consider when and how to capture feedback from customers as part of the planning and decision-making stage.

    Best Practice 2 – Create an Objective and a Goal

    Once your organization answers these four questions, it has the necessary information to set the survey objective. Goals, such as collecting information, measuring customer satisfaction and understanding what customers want, do not make for acceptable objectives or well-measured goals. Specific objectives must be aligned with an existing, ongoing or impending corporate strategy. For the success of the feedback collection event, the goal must be related to a well-understood metric already in use.

    In determining the objective and goal for your project, it is not sufficient to ask, “What am I trying to find out?” Qualify the objective based on the purpose in obtaining the information. Determining overall customer satisfaction, for example, will yield only the number of people who are satisfied but not the strategic value of the data. Why is this data important? Do you want to up-sell or cross-sell based on satisfaction, improve target markets, or increase response rates by knowing whom to target? Knowing the answers to these questions is more important than simply knowing the overall satisfaction level of your client base.

    Best Practice 3 – Define the Insight You Seek

    Outlining the results sought does not mean knowing the number or metric that will result from the feedback event but the statement that needs data. Most organizations blindly implement a feedback event, then spend a lot of time analyzing the results in the hope of getting useful insight. World-class organizations, however, already know the results but are unsure of the data that supports the outcome. For example, an organization that conducts a survey in the hope of
    determining how many satisfied customers are repeat customers knows which data elements to collect, their lifetime, how often to collect data and repeat data collection, and the meaning of the results. The enterprise may not be sure if the number is 15% or 20%, for example, but knows the intent of gathering the data.

    Organizations that undertake feedback management based on specific insights sought spend less time analyzing the data in the hope of finding the insights and understanding the correlation between data points, insights and strategies. In contrast, organizations that don’t implement these processes tend to expend too many resources pouring over collected data trying to make sense of it and relate it in a manner that translates into insights.

    Your turn – what do you think? Have you done this? What results have you achieved? Please leave a comment with your impressions…



  • Haim Toeg 5:29 pm on February 11, 2009 | # | Reply


    I found this series very interesting and insightful, many thanks for sharing your vast expertise on this matter.

    I am sure you were involved with EFM projects involving multi-national vendors and I was wondering if you were planning to share your insights on the specifics of running EFM initiatives in global environments.

    • Esteban Kolsky 8:09 pm on February 11, 2009 | # | Reply


      Now, there is a good idea for a new post! be glad to address that on my next entry. Definitely have something to say about that (but then again, don’t I always :))


  • Esteban Kolsky 10:12 am on January 29, 2019 | # | Reply

    Reblogged this on thinkJar, the blog! and commented:
    and, the final part of the four-part series on surveys lessons learned and best practices.

    ping me for updates, these are 10 years old and likely need some touch up and personalization… but still read true for the most part.

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