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Insights - August 2017

By Chloe Byrne |
Insights - August 2017

We want our services to be as valuable to our clients as possible, so we constantly review our processes to see if anything can be done to make them better.

Earlier this year, a team of us investigated how we could make our customer satisfaction process better. We were already getting regular feedback and insightful data that helped with our internal decision making, but how could we take it to the next level?

In thinking about our own approach, we thought a lot about what makes a great customer satisfaction programme. Even as experts, we found things that could be changed. What are those changes, and could they be things that you might need to consider too?


Time to complete the survey

The previous survey length was pretty standard for a normal questionnaire, but we know our clients are busy, so wanted to find a way to make it shorter without giving them the opportunity to give us meaningful and comprehensive feedback.

I’m heavily involved in the respondent experience here at Vanson Bourne. Time is precious and attention spans can only be held for so long, so it is crucial that we create a set of questions that improve the overall experience of taking part.
Rachel Madden, Operations Manager

A lot of careful thinking went into which questions we absolutely needed to ask, which ones were just nice to have, and if we could get the same level of insight by asking fewer questions in a different way. As a result of this, the questionnaire length has been reduced significantly so those taking part only have to answer a handful of questions.

The new survey is so straightforward and intelligent that it will take minutes to complete but will still capture a lot of useful information.
Rachel Madden



We thought a lot about when we should be asking our customers for feedback. The old survey was sent to customers at the end of a project, which sometimes meant that clients wouldn’t get asked about their experience until months after the project first started. And we ask questions about the proposal process, we felt asking about this at the end of the process wasn’t fair to all respondents.

Asking someone to reflect on something that happened some time ago can make a question more difficult to answer. It’s much more convenient to be asked something when the experience is more recent, so we’ve built this into our new process to limit any head-scratching moments!                         Rachel Madden

To remedy this, we’ve split the questionnaire into two parts that customers will be invited to at different stages of a project. The first part includes questions around working with our Accounts and Project Management teams during the early stages of a project, and the second part includes questions about deliverables and overall experience. This means that customers give feedback about something when they’ve just experienced it, making it easier for them and more meaningful for us.



From now on, our customers will be personally invited to take part in our customer satisfaction surveys by our Research Director, Sarah Thorp. She now has oversight of all of the feedback we receive and can action any follow-up conversations that might need to happen. Sarah is involved in every project and has a strong relationship with clients.

I will be working with Sarah to analyse the results on a more regular basis so that we can continue to assess where we’re doing well and look at how to improve.


Sharing of knowledge

We’re launching the new survey in the next couple of weeks. We think the changes make the experience of completing one of our surveys simpler, more effective, and friendly. We hope you agree. We take all feedback seriously, so next time we run some research for you have a look and let us know what you think!

While we were reviewing and refining this process, we wrote a guide to help others to make the most of their customer satisfaction projects too. We know how to run research projects well, but there’s always room for improvement. This guide explains some key things to think about and tips on how to approach them, even if you already have a customer satisfaction project in place.

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