You want to satisfy your customer. This means you should not only listen to, but really hear the Voice of the Customer (VOC). The truth is we do not always know what the customer wants. Often even the customer has only a vague clue about what she wants.

Customer satisfaction surveys are one of the good methods to get feedback and find out more about the customer and see where you could improve your product and services. Running continuous improvement projects with Lean Six Sigma, I use customer surveys as a measurement system for projects like:

  • Improve sales
  • Increase lead generation
  • Reduce internal mistakes (e.g. design vs manufacturing vs engineering)

The problem is that you can easily make mistakes in your customer surveys, damaging the quality of your data and making the whole effort wasteful.

Here are some common mistakes to avoid:

  1. Questions are biased
  2. Questions are not relevant
  3. Survey is not flexible
  4. Not combining qualitative and quantitative data
  5. Measurement is not continuous
  6. Analysis of data is manual
  7. Data does not reveal the pain-points
  8. Leakage of PDCA loop

To solve these problems, together with our customers, we have developed an online tool, HerkuTrack® to help businesses and organisations like yours to serve their customers better. Watch our demo here:

Let’s look at those 8 common mistakes one by one:

  1. Questions are biased

Garbage in, garbage out. It is true. What you ask and how you ask it will determine the feedback you get. If your questions are difficult, too long, easily misunderstood, interpretation will influence the response.

Keep questions short and to the point. Test the questions with colleagues or friends to see if they need to be refined.

In the Lean Six Sigma Measure phase, you can use the Measurement System Analysis method to investigate if the questions of your survey are clear enough. The variation in the response data should be low caused by repeatability.

  1. Questions are not relevant

Be clear on what you want to measure. Focus on what is important from the customer point of view. Think about the CTS – critical to satisfaction – tree as a supporting guideline when constructing your survey questions. You should ask your customers questions concerning:

  • quality aspects (reliability, mistakes, consistency)
  • time related aspects (waiting time, frequency, lead times)
  • costs/usability aspects (price, efforts required, costs of ownership)

Keeping these 3 aspects in mind will always guide you to ask relevant questions that matters the most to your customer.

  1. Survey is not flexible

This goes back to asking the right questions. I see many companies sticking to an industry standard questionnaire while they know many of the questions are not relevant anymore. The business is changing, the environment is changing and customer requirements are changing rapidly. That is why you should have the flexibility to change your survey to keep it relevant and to get the best quality data for you to improve your business and products.

  1. Not combining qualitative and quantitative data

I use customer surveys for 2 main reasons: to gather information and to measure the level of satisfaction. Don’t make the mistake to do one or the other but combine both because it helps you quantify the current level of customer satisfaction AND at the same time you gather feedback on how and where to improve your product, service or process.

  1. Measurement is not continuous

If you have experience with customer surveys you know they can cost a lot of money and effort to conduct, whether you do it yourself or you hire a specialized company to do it for you.

The whole set-up is focused on a one time measurement – even if you are going to repeat it next year. That is why your management is concerned about “n”, the number of respondents. If it is low, you think your survey is not representative and you have basically wasted money.

I advise you to do otherwise. Approach it as a continuous monitoring tool. Like that you can see variations in time, trends or shifts and detect outliers (special causes) that need immediate attention.

Using HerkuTrack, you have an important KPI (key-performance-indicator) continuously showing how your company is satisfying your customers.

  1. Analysis of data is manual

Because most of the surveys are one-time-measurements, it requires significant manual work to analyse the data in an efficient, action-oriented way. Often you have to export data to MS Excel and spend hours on graphical analysis and report generation.

Instead, you should have a customer survey tool set up in way that graphical analysis could be done any time (continuous data collection) and by anyone (no Excel guru needed) by a few clicks of the mouse.

  1. Data does not reveal the pain-points

The whole point of getting customer feedback is to get information on where you should improve your product and service in order to increase customer satisfaction and ultimately increase sales.

If your customer survey data does not easily shows where (at which part of your process or organisation) changes are required and what aspect should get the most attention, the value of your customer survey diminishes.

You would need a survey tool showing continuously to your departments who is behind on customer satisfaction AND how to improve it. And that leads to my last point…

  1. Broken feedback loop

You measure (customer satisfaction), you analyse data, you try to improve based on your analysis, and… you don’t know if your actions are helping or hurting because you do not have a continuous measurement system for customer satisfaction. Of course, if your sales increase you may think it is due to your improvement efforts, but you are not sure.

So the chain is broken…

Prepare the chain:

  1. Measure customer satisfaction
  2. Analyse data with a few mouse clicks
  3. Find the area that needs improvement
  4. Make the change
  5. Monitor customer satisfaction to see if it improves or not
  6. Go back to #1


Visit HerkuTrack® at and request a demo.

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