Customer Satisfaction Surveys – Defining ‘Survey’ and ‘Census’ for Your Successful Survey

A customer satisfaction survey is designed to gather information from a “sample” of your customer population, as opposed to a “census” which gathers information from all of your customer population. A census is a costly and labor intensive undertaking, giving complete information, while a survey (a sampling of the population) gives you approximate information. A survey is an easier and more cost effective way to gather information.

As a business owner you may think you need a full census of all clients, but, a definitive and successful customer satisfaction survey can be obtained with proper planning and preparation. While many governments undertake a full census every 7 to 10 years for accurate population count and demographic studies, most businesses do not need this level of information to gather good market information.

Example of a “sample” of target population below:

“Target Population” is all of the people that can be surveyed (all of your clients) and a “Sample” is a portion of that population.

A well planned customer satisfaction survey will always include the following:

1) A good research brief that clearly defines the purpose and the parameters of your survey.
2) A clear understanding of sampling and response errors and how they can affect your results.
3) Definition of your unit of study and target population.

Following these first few critical steps, will help you to run a successful customer satisfaction survey.

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