To issue a questionnaire or not ?

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Mr Distinctive, Sep 1, 2002.

  1. Mr Distinctive

    Mr Distinctive LawnSite Member
    from FL
    Messages: 16

    Just bought an existing business and was wondering about issuing a questionnaire in the next months invoices in order to get an idea of the customer satisfaction level, prior to me approaching for upselling etc.

    I was just wondering if anyone else has done this, and what positive or negative reactions you had with it ?

    Any pointers on the questions that I should ask would also be appreciated.
  2. Sounds like a good idea, find out ahead of time what issues you need to address so when you get face to face you will be well prepared.

    As far as negatives, gives you a chance to turn them around. If you can't then you will loose them sooner or later, most cases sooner is better for you.
  3. 65hoss

    65hoss LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,360

    I wouldn't! How many people never deal with questionaires? I know I don't.

    On the other hand, I would call each of them. Communication is the key to this business. Talk with them personnally. Make them feel good about you. Make it a relaxed conversation and they will tell you what you want to know. After that, your retention of the new customers will be higher, and maybe 100%. I've done it, it works best.
  4. DLS1

    DLS1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,619

    I agree with 65HOSS,

    Through the years, I have filled out so many office 'how can we improve the work environment,etc.' and the suggestions just get shelved. Surveys are a joke in the Corporate business world and I am sure you will have plenty of customers who believe the same thing about surveys. Nothing like one one or one on the phone contact to make the customer feel important. But you better follow up on their complaints (within reason) or you may loose the customer.
  5. Sean Adams

    Sean Adams LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,597

    Great way to show you are concerned with what they think. Communication is key as 65hoss said.

    I would definitely send it. Just don't set yourself up for unrealistic expectations before you have a chance to get accustomed to servicing them....

    Under-Promise, that saying...
  6. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,028

    It depends on the relationship that you have with your customers. I have used a questionaire in the past with great results when just getting started in the applications end of the biz. I included a short to the point questionaire with my monthly bills and had a 90% return rate.

    Some people don't like talking on the phone or in person about services and some do. You have to get a feel for your customers. I personally know that I don't like talking about things on the phone and if I am confronted in person, it isn't always comfortable.
    I would say to give it a try but don't make it too long or people will just file it.
  7. Guido

    Guido LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,087

    If you make a questionaire that is short and sweet, you could do this a number of ways.

    The way I would go about it is this: Go down your list and every night call a couple of the customers. Write down a little spiel about how youy just aquired the business and would like to get to know the customers you serve (and their needs) better , etc. Then tell them you've come up with a 5 minute survey you would like them to take. Give them the option of e-mailing, snail mailing, telephone, or in person. Keep track of all this, and follow up if they don't complete it. Just make it as easy as you can for them. Here are some questions I would ask:

    Hello Mr./Mrs. Nastylawn,

    My Name is David Famiglietti and I just took over operations for Titanic Turf Management Company. I am trying to get to know all of my new customers better with the intent of providing the best possible Service. I've put together this short questionaire to help me accomplish this goal. Please take a few minutes to jot down your ideas and then you have several options. You can call and go over the survey on the phone, scheduele an appointment to meet at the property, e-mail it to my office ( or mail it to Titanic Co. P.O. Box 765, blah blah, Blah 09887.

    We at Titanic now how much your time is worth, and would like to thank you with this coupon for $5 off your next invoice.

    1. On a scale of 1 to 5 (5 being the best) how would you rate your past service with our company? 1 2 3 4 5

    2. Please list 3 positive things that you notice about your service:

    3. Please list 3 negative things that you notice about your service.

    4. Any other comments, suggestions, or changes you would like to see________________________

    Something along those lines should work great. Once people understand that the only way you can make something better is by knowing what you need to improve on, they shouldn't have a problem helping out.

    The only thing I can say, is if you ever want to use your survey method again with this same customer base, I would definetly act on what they say or address the issues with them, etc. Write a follow up letter a month after they complete the survey and tell them how you've tried to correct some of the problems.

    The survey I wrote will give you 6 things that are important to this customer. Its a lot easier then going in there blind and trying to figure them out.

    Good Luck, and I hope this helps!
  8. yrdandgardenhandyman

    yrdandgardenhandyman LawnSite Senior Member
    from midwest
    Messages: 953

    Would it be a good idea to send one to customers that have cancelled service?

    I want to thank Sean and all the sponsors, also.
  9. Team Gopher

    Team Gopher LawnSite Platinum Member
    from -
    Messages: 4,040

    Please note this post was started 09-01-2002

    Hi yrdandgardenhandyman,

    It would be nice to know why they cancelled. I don't know how many would respond at that point. I think one of the goals of the questionaire is to catch the customer before this happens.
    crawdad likes this.
  10. crawdad

    crawdad LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,938

    Hmmmm. In theory, yes.
    But, you just asked them to think of 3 negative things...I just can't see it helping in the long run.
    If, on the other hand, you were sending it to people who had cancelled service, as yrdandgardenhandyman suggested, then you are possibly finding out why they cancelled, so you can hopefully prevent further cancellations. Ya follow me? Why ask a good customer to look for faults in your service? If you look hard enough, we all have faults. There was only one man who was perfect, and they crucified Him.
    Crawdad, dang good, but far from perfect

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