Measuring customer satisfaction not only from current customers, but also from past customers
Typically, when your company administers a customer satisfaction survey, they send the survey to current customers. However, one oversight that many companies make in the customer satisfaction survey process is they tend to overlook how important it is to collect data from past customers too.
When current customers receive and respond to your customer satisfaction survey, they are providing your business with feedback that indicates their current level of satisfaction with various aspects of your business, which proves to be very useful to your company. Perhaps you determine that customers are not as happy as you thought with your products, or perhaps you find that your customers are all extremely satisfied with your services. This is all very useful information that you can use to formulate strategic business and marketing plans.
It should be no surprise that customers who are currently doing business with your company are generally satisfied. But, what about your past, unsatisfied customers? Customers that have stopped using your business are often excluded from customer satisfaction surveys, altering the results and ultimately reducing the value of your survey data.
When administering customer satisfaction surveys, it is important to find a balanced and unbiased way of surveying your current and past customers, taking into account the opinions of both groups. Here are some examples of how you can capture data from all samples:
- Survey past customers: Create a similar questionnaire to your current customer satisfaction survey. Include this survey data in your analysis and compare that data against current customer feedback data. Response rates have a tendency to be rather low, but there are ways to improve response rates (e.g. offer incentives for completion), as well as ways to adjust the numbers in the analysis process to give past customers a more accurate representation.
- Analyze past responses: Revisit data from past customer satisfaction surveys. Apply filters to this data and look for data trends you may have overlooked. You may uncover data that should have been indicators that customers were growing increasingly dissatisfied. Your company can use that past feedback as a benchmark to spot possible issues that may occur with current customers.
- Don’t overestimate satisfaction – You may not have past customer data. If this is the case, as you go through your survey data, take into account the fact that several customers have discontinued their relationship with your business over the past year. When reviewing current customer feedback data, you may come across a score to a question that is only slightly above where you expect it to be. If you have lost customers, it is a good idea to assume that score is overestimating satisfaction when it comes time to make important business decisions.
Analyzing your overall customer satisfaction scores – from both current and past customers – can lend valuable insight into how your company is doing and assist you in developing short- and long-term business and marketing strategies.