Collecting & Analyzing Customer Survey Responses

Once you’ve distributed your customer survey and have begun receiving responses, you can begin the process of categorizing, analyzing, and assessing the customer survey responses you’ve collected.

In this section, we’ll discuss:

  • How to determine what constitutes a statistically significant sample size
  • How to address negative feedback
  • What to do with the data you collect
  • How soon you should send your next survey

We’ll begin by discussing the factors that determine statistical significance.

Factors Determining Statistical Significance

Understanding statistical significance is incredibly important in order to collect data that’s actually meaningful and actionable.

Think about it – if you send a survey to 1,000 customers, and only 10 replies, there’s no way you’d be able to extrapolate and apply those ten responses to your entire customer base.

On the other hand, if 900 out of 1,000 customers replied, you could be confident that these responses would be a pretty decent representative of the whole population.

Statistical significance is determined by the following factors:

  • Population Size: The total amount of individuals you plan on sending your survey to
  • Margin of Error: A percentage that describes how much the data collected from your sample size might deviate from the opinions of the entire population. The closer your sample size in number to your actual population size, the higher the probability that the data collected accurately represents the whole – resulting in a lower margin of error.
  • Confidence Level: Represents your confidence (in percent out of 100) that, if you were to repeat the survey with different individuals within the same population, the results would be at least similar – if not exactly the same. Generally, confidence levels are set at 90%, 95%, or 99%, depending on the importance of the survey.
  • Sample Size: The total amount of surveys you need to get back in order for your survey to be statistically significant

Addressing Negative Feedback

We talked a bit about this before, but to reiterate:

While it’s important to respond to all of your respondents through automation, it’s essential that you reach out to those who responded negatively to your survey personally and immediately.

After determining the problem (by analyzing the customer’s survey responses), reach out to them in order to:

  • Apologize for the inconvenience or lack of service provided
  • Empathize with their specific situation
  • Provide options for them for how you’ll fix the problem
  • Deliver the “fix”
  • Provide added value, such as a full refund or voucher for discounted services in the future

By responding to unsatisfied customers as quickly as possible – and remedying their issues in an efficient manner – you increase the chances that they’ll give your company another chance. Otherwise, you run the risk of losing them for good.

Using The Data To Improve Your Products & Services

We talked about this in the earlier section on defining goals for your survey.

But it’s much easier to know exactly what you need to do to improve your company’s operations once you actually have concrete data from your customers in front of you.

The moment you reach statistical significance, you should begin thinking about what the data is telling you, and where you need to go moving forward.

Quick side note: While you may want to start making moves from the moment you begin collecting data, it’s important to wait until you’ve reached statistical significance – otherwise you may end up making moves in the wrong direction.

Now, this doesn’t mean you need to have a solidified plan of attack immediately. But, at this point, you should at least have a general idea of:

  • What areas of your service you need to focus on
  • Who will be involved within your company when making these improvements
  • What other resources will be needed to make these improvements
  • How long it will take to begin seeing results

As you collect more and more data, you’ll be better able to create a concrete plan. For now, stay flexible.

Thinking Ahead To The Next Customer Survey

Once you’ve collected all the data you expect to collect, have begun implementing changes to your operations, and have started to see results, you can start thinking about sending out a subsequent survey to the same population segment.

The general rule of thumb is you should wait about six months before sending out the next survey. This will not only give you time to implement the improvements you’ve determined need to be made, but it will also give your customers time to experience these improvements, as well.

Now, this six-month period isn’t a hard-and-fast rule, as some industries are more volatile and subject to fluctuation than others. For example, the needs of consumers within the electronics industry change with every new product update. On the other hand, the needs of hotel guests remain relatively steady until major industry overhauls occur.

That being said, no matter how volatile your specific industry is, you should never send a single population segment more than one survey every two months. The more surveys you send, the less you can expect to get back – and the lower the validity of each survey received becomes.


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