Surveys – The Good and Ugly

In a recent blog post, I commented that you should talk to your clients – do a survey of them to determine if they think you are meeting their expectations.

On a recent trip to Castle Inn, in Newport, Rhode Island, I was very impressed with their facilities. I was there for a conference. The weather was cool and clear and scenery exquisite. Castle Hill is on the point of a bay. Let your imagination flow. It was that pretty.

But, I digress. The day after departing, I received an email with a request to take a survey. Most often, I ignore these. But, this time, I did respond. I wanted to let them know that their food was superb; the chef had been accommodating to my request to prepare a vegan menu for me in addition to the exquisite quality of the food in general. But, I had been mildly upset by their absence of a workout facility on the premises.

No more than a day later, I received a follow up letter from their manager, thanking me for my response. This was not a form letter. This letter i) thanked me for my response; ii) said my compliments about their food would be conveyed to the chef, with their appreciation; and iii) explaining their rationale for not have a fitness room on premises.  My survey response had been read and a personal note in reply was crafted. That has never happened to me before.

In asking for survey responses, be sure you act. In some fashion, respond to the survey responders. Let them know what  you will do with their voluntary critiques, given at your request. There are 3 responses possible:  1) Thank you, we will consider and review your comments, and let you know what we intend to do;  2) Thank you, we disagree with your suggestion or we are unable to make the modification you suggest because of …..;  3)  Thank for pointing this out to us, we will make the change you suggest in the very near future.

People want to know what you will do with the response that you asked for. Theirs was not an unsolicited piece of advice. You have an obligation to continue the dialogue. Failure to do so will cause more enmity than if you had never asked questions.


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