Surveying Employees Versus Surveying Customers: Why You Should Know the Differences

Surveys are an important part of any business owner’s toolkit. Whether you are planning a menu overhaul, creating a targeted marketing campaign, or determining your Net Promoter Scores, surveys can get you the valuable information to make an informed decision. While business owners and managers understand the inherent value in survey campaigns, there can be an understandable desire to streamline the process to increase efficiency. This is where the “recycled survey” comes in. These are generalized surveys used to cover multiple topics of a similar nature. This is a mistake that ends up masking crucial information. The results of these single surveys tend to be ambiguous and even counterproductive. One of the common areas where we see this occurring is in the distinction between customer satisfaction and employee engagement. While both topics deal with the same general theme, the demographics, criteria, and end goal are much different. Using the same survey questions for both purposes will end up obscuring this valuable data.

Surveying Customer Satisfaction—Customer satisfaction surveys are a platform for customers to express their views about the buying experience. This is a vital opportunity to capture the customers’ views before they go online and share their opinions more publicly. These surveys gather information about positive and negative experiences throughout the visit. It is important to get as specific as possible to accurately map cause and effect among your survey responses. If your survey is overly generalized, you may never discover that visitors tend to have a negative overall experience on Tuesday nights when Grill Cook B is on the line. Or that customers were generally more satisfied when Server A waited on them on Fridays. These correlations can identify issues in staffing, menu planning, pricing, and much more. But there is an additional purpose to these surveys as well. Namely, customer recovery. Satisfaction is a metric, but an unhappy customer is an opportunity. Utilizing targeted surveys that can alert your management staff to negative responses gives your company the chance to correct and recover the experience before a lasting negative impression sours the customer.

Measuring Customer Satisfaction – Measuring customer satisfaction should be a mix of different question types to gather both qualitative and quantitative data. Customer surveys should be very conscious of the time and effort required. Lengthy surveys, challenging questions, or too much time between the experience and the survey will lead to survey drop out. Make these surveys as fast and easy to use as possible. Put easy questions at the beginning and leave hard or thought-provoking ones to the end so they aren’t scared off before they begin. Start with demographic questions and yes/no responses, then ease into a Likert scale. These are your 5-point scale questions going from ‘extremely likely’ to ‘not at all likely’. The Likert scale captures the nuanced nature of answers and can help you pinpoint where you may need to make alterations to improve you customer satisfaction. Follow these up with a few open-ended questions to allow additional factors to be captured. And always include No Option, Not Applicable, or Other. Customers are likely to abandon surveys if their desired response isn’t offered.

Employee Engagement as a Metric for Success— Employee engagement, on the other hand, is an internal review of the health of your company. This is an incredible valuable metric to measure. Some CEOs think that employee engagement is the best measure of a company’s health, even more so than customer satisfaction. Engaged employees are more reliable, efficient, and productive and create a better environment for other employees and for customers. The result is a more pleasant experience all around.

But what is engagement? – Engagement is much more than a paycheck or a team-building exercise. It is a personal commitment to the company and its goals. Engaged employees feel respected and valued by their employers. They feel that their work has purpose and makes important contributions to the organization. Disengaged employees, on the other hand, detract from the company’s well-being. They tend to create negative experiences for clients and other team members.  Statistics show that the percentage of disengaged employees is anywhere from 50% to 80% and can cost companies nationally $350 billion a year. Lack of productivity and morale are part of the reasons there’s such a huge economic impact on industry. 

Measuring Employee Engagement – What makes measuring engagement inherently different from customer satisfaction? We’re talking about a whole different demographic with different desires and expectations. To improve engagement levels, we need to gather specifics about what is working and what isn’t. A generalized satisfaction survey just won’t get that level of detail. Don’t worry as much about survey drop out, and focus on information gathering. Consider asking questions about whether employees have job satisfaction, feel as if their work is challenging, get support from their supervisor, and understand opportunities for future growth with their employer. Also, consider mixing in some open-ended questions to gauge whether employees feel empowered to make decisions that benefit the customer and improve the customer’s experience. The more targeted questions and responses can help take the guesswork out of your next steps to improve engagement. Surveys show that if the employee is engaged, then there’s a strong possibility that the customer will feel fulfilled as well.

Surveys are an important litmus tests to determine the health of your company. Each survey should be tailored to the requirements of the specific demographic you intend to measure, not a general one-size- fits-all approach. Constructing the right survey will get you the refined answers you need to better the shopping experience for your customers and to improve the work life of your employees.     

AfterWords is an intelligent customer satisfaction software that delivers the most relevant questions for the most relevant responses. We provide actionable data where you need it the most. To find out more, please contact us.