Why customer surveys aren't driving change

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on October 5, 2006

A worrying 71% of company employees in the US say that there is very little follow-up to customer surveys to drive changes in behaviour in their organisations, according to research from customer experience consultancy Strativity Group.

The Discovering the Real Answers: Customer Surveys - The New Realities study was designed to address the ways in which companies generally view customer surveys, and ultimately what they do with the information obtained. The survey's respondents were executives from around the world from industries including banking, retail, entertainment, and manufacturing.

Listening, but not hearing
While many companies conduct customer surveys to demonstrate how well they are listening to their customers, they are not using that information properly once they have it.

Overall, the results showed a clear lack of two-way dialogue between customer and company. Customer surveys are seen in theory as companies' commitment to their customers, but the failure of companies to properly turn survey answers into organisational change shows that, despite a claimed commitment to customers, the classic customer survey has become a fallacy.

Lacking future focus
According to Strativity, customer surveys today have become a validation tool for what companies are currently doing rather than what they could be doing better.

This recent shift in the way in which customer surveys are used and viewed, and the consequences of a lack of communication with customers, could lead to ongoing customer dissatisfaction and even diminishing sales, the company warned.

Key findings
Among the key insights that Strativity Group noted:

  • 77% of respondents said they find it difficult to get buy-in for change within their organisation.
  • 71% said that there was very little survey follow-up internally to change behaviour in the organisation.
  • 54.6% indicated difficulty turning survey results into action.
  • 52.3% said their company designs customer surveys to validate current performance.

"Today's companies are betraying their customers by asking them questions with little readiness to act upon their responses," concluded Lior Arussy, CEO for Strativity Group. "This study reveals a drastic disconnect between customer expectations and the actions of companies. The failure to turn customer insights into actionable solutions will ultimately be detrimental to a company's bottom line."

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