Consumers say they fill out customer satisfaction surveys not for their own good -- or even to complain about a particularly bad experience -- but because they truly believe their voices are being heard and that it's an important part of their side of the brand relationship.
According to a survey of more than 1,400 consumers by Chadwick Martin Bailey, more than one quarter of consumers have completed a survey in the past year, and more than half of them (57%) said they did it to share a good experience. Half said they did it to improve the company.
"Everyone is focusing on customer satisfaction and linking it to financial outcomes to the company," says Jeff McKenna, senior consultant and director of customer satisfaction solutions at the market research company. "Everyone understands if you have satisfied customers you're going to have better financial benefits. What they're not understanding is what this means for the customer. And what we're finding is this is an important communication for the customer."
The research, McKenna says, dispels the notion that the majority of people who respond to customer satisfaction surveys do so because they had an overwhelmingly bad experience and are "chronic complainers." In fact, the survey revealed 81% of people responded equally for positive and negative experiences. Thirteen percent said they typically fill them out only because they have very positive experiences. Only 4% said they fill them out only when they have only negative experiences.
"For companies that are afraid to open up to customer feedback for fear of getting a lot of negative comments, this should be a revelation," McKenna tells Marketing Daily. "People are saying something to be heard, and this confirms that."
Response rates (and reasons) differ along gender lines. Three-fifths of women said they participate in customer satisfaction surveys to share good experiences, while 53% of men said they filled them out to improve the company. Women are also more likely to participate in a survey to receive a discount or promotion (50% women vs. 40% men). However, McKenna notes, those promotions -- or even a sincere "thank you" -- are an important part of the customer service equation.
"As companies are doing this, it's important for them to communicate back to let people know that they're being heard," he says. "I think it's very important for companies to be responsible and responsive to these things."