The key to your company’s success lies in the satisfaction of your customers.
10 Practical Tips for (International) Customer Satisfaction Surveys
For many years, customer surveys have been one of our research focal points – be it B2B and B2C, national and international, or large and small studies. If you consider the following practical tips, nothing can really go wrong. Of course, we will support you with our expertise on all points, whether in an advisory capacity or as a full service.
The success of an (international) customer survey depends on a large number of people. Integrating all stakeholders at an early stage ensures a high level of acceptance within the company and a more accurate study. Conduct professionally moderated questionnaire workshops. Individual questions depending on the country or business unit can be easily integrated into the questionnaire and make the survey more attractive to the individual stakeholders.
Contact lists often have to be compiled first by the country representatives involved and then combined into a uniform data set. This should be started early – especially if results are to be available at a certain point in time. Create a uniform template for data delivery that is binding for all internal suppliers. As you will see: A customer satisfaction survey is a wonderful opportunity to update your own address database.
Create a uniform framework that is binding for all countries or subareas – this is the only way to compare results validly. At the same time, the study setup must be flexible enough to accommodate country-specific differences. Different process chains and performance should be considered individually.
The less time customers need, the more willing they are to participate in the survey – in the B2B segment as well as with consumers. Questionnaires can be shortened considerably through intelligent processes, e.g., by calculating the importance statistically and not asking for it explicitly. And: deliver what you promise. If the questionnaire is announced as lasting ten minutes, it should only last ten minutes.
If you want to make reliable statements about individual subgroups, sufficient interviews must be conducted in all of these groups. In addition to country comparisons, other relevant factors may include regions, customer types and industries. A corresponding quota plan is helpful. But beware: If individual groups are not included in the sample according to their actual occurrence due to a quota plan, the results must be weighted for the overall consideration.
Despite back translations, translation agencies do make mistakes when it comes to technical terms from your company. However, these are precisely the ones that are crucial for the questionnaire. Provide us (or the translation agency directly) with material about your company, products and processes. Have a separate employee check each language version.
The interviewer always represents your company as well. Only work with eloquent and professional native speakers. When we select the interviewers, this is for sure granted. Attend the interview training sessions, get to know the interviewers, introduce your company and your research interest. This increases the motivation of the interviewers and the data quality considerably.
Different countries have different customs: In different cultures, you need to invite customers to the survey in different ways. In Germany, contact is made via the secretariat for certain target groups; in Asian countries, you should first ask for permission at a higher level.
Differing cultural groups respond differently: Many Asians, for example, will very rarely express criticism and therefore usually appear much more satisfied at first glance. If you focus on the difference to the best competitor in the country, you will get more valid comparisons. The country-specific customer structure also makes a difference: If a customer group tends to be dissatisfied and has a large share in a particular country, poor results do not automatically mean poor overall performance.
There is potential for improvement at different levels: global, regional, national. Think carefully about where process optimization is needed. If an aspect needs to be optimized on a global or overall level, this does not mean that changes are necessary or sensible in every country or subarea.