Research and the Reputation: A Tale of Helping

Once upon a time, there was a company that thought they were doing pretty well. Their customers seemed pretty content, and they were seeing good profits.

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Can surveys help your company’s reputation?

Then, one day, someone who dealt with the company had a bad experience. They were so upset that they posted about the experience on their Facebook, Twitter, and even Instragram accounts, telling all of their friends about how upset they were with their experience. As the story kept being told and re-told, it seemed that the one unhappy customer found others who also had issues with the company. Suddenly, the company was facing many complaints and a drop in business as people stopped visiting.

Is this just the stuff of fairy tales, or does this actually happen? Andy Beal, in an April address at ClickZ Live New York, shared 15 examples of reputation disasters. The disasters he shared ranged from tweets written in poor taste to bad responses to complaints filed online. In each case, reputation suffered.

Here’s the good news. Even though it might seem like experiencing a hit to your company’s reputation is inevitable, there is something you can start doing today to create a safety net. It’s called reputation management, and surveys play a key role in today’s reputation management toolkit.

Including regular customer satisfaction surveys in your reputation management toolkit can do a few things for you and for your customers. First, it sends a signal to your customers that you care about their opinions. Second, it gives your customers an opportunity and an outlet to share their opinions directly with you, giving you the opportunity to learn about issues that you may not have been entirely aware of that need to be addressed (and potentially stemming the flow to social media). Third, it gives you the insight you need to make adjustments without needing to guess at what your customers want to see.

What should you ask? QuestionPro has a number of templates to help you get started. Each template has 3-4 simple questions that you can use for quick customer feedback. If you want something more in-depth, check out this post about 20 other questions you could add to your survey. (Note: longer surveys are best conducted on a quarterly or semi-annual basis.)

To close the loop, be sure you’re acting on the feedback. As you put it all together, you will be looking at your own happily every after.