Five Client Survey Formats You Can Implement Now
By Terrie S. Wheeler, MBC As the new year begins, this is a good time to touch base with your clients to ensure they are satisfied with your client service. The single best way to solicit feedback from clients is to ask them for it! There are a number of ways in which you can solicit input from your clients. The following are the most popular client survey methods as well as the pros and cons of each.
Format Options for Your Client Survey
Congratulations! You have decided to conduct a client satisfaction survey initiative! Now you simply need to select the format of your survey. Below is a review of the pros and cons of each:
- Paper/Mail-based surveys – Relatively inexpensive, easy and efficient, paper-based surveys may be a good option when you want to collect a large amount of general client satisfaction information from a broad sampling of your client base. Response rate may be lower than with other options, and follow-up questioning is not possible.
- Web-based surveys – Like mail-based surveys, online questionnaires are easy to develop, customize, distribute, and administer. Response rate with online surveys is likely to be better than with mail-based methods. Again, this option is good for sampling a large group of clients. Web-based surveys lack the personal touch and follow-up benefits of telephone and in-person interviews. Another benefit is the real-time data synthesis feature of incorporating a database tool into the survey, thereby eliminating the manual data entry process.
- Telephone interviews – Great for sampling a few select clients regarding specific, in-depth matters, this method requires greater personal investment of time and polished communication skills. With this option, there is room for follow-up and clarification in addition to personal attention to specific client concerns. It may not be practical for large-scale information gathering. In telephone surveys, the interviewer must ensure the integrity of the interview process by maintaining the agreed upon timeline, yet asking each question on the survey.
- In-person interviews – The most time-intensive and high-touch of all client survey methods, this option is great for obtaining detailed information from select important clients and to provide key clients with the opportunity to share thoughts and concerns with you. Interviewers must possess impeccable social communication skills as well as a thorough understanding of survey content and purpose. Costly but potentially the highest return.
- Focus groups – Conducting a focus group with select current and prospective clients is a great way to test a new product or service before launching a full-blown marketing campaign. The focus group environment allows participants to react and respond real-time to predetermined questions. Focus groups generally benefit from having an outside moderator/facilitator lead the discussion.
Terrie Wheeler and Kristy Gusick are business partners and the owners of Professional Services Marketing, LLC, a strategic marketing agency for lawyers and financial advisors. Professional Services Marketing is a big-picture, clear-thinking, practical marketing agency that partners with you to create and implement a comprehensive marketing strategy sourced from your strengths, aligned with your time, ability, and resources, and aimed directly at helping you build a prosperous, sustainable future.