The Customer Service Survey

Quick Survey Assessment

by Peter Leppik on Tue, 2007-03-13 01:00

Want a quick assessment of how good a survey is?

It turns out that the same problems tend to crop up over and over again. Here's a quick checklist of the most common problems with customer service surveys:

Survey Design

  • Are the survey questions biased?
  • Are the survey questions ambiguous? In an interview, do participants ask for clarification?
  • Is the survey too long or redundant?
  • Are the management goals of the survey ambiguous or poorly understood?


  • Can the survey be manipulated, especially if employees are given bonuses based on survey results?
  • Are certain customers systematically excluded from the survey? For example, are there conditions under which the customer cannot take the survey?
  • Is there too much delay between the customer interaction and when the survey is administered?
  • Is is difficult or impossible to analyze survey data based on other data about the customer (i.e. customer type, what the customer called about, who the customer spoke to, recording of the phone call, etc.)?


  • Is there a lack of context for the survey data such as historical survey data, industry data, etc.?
  • Is the error analysis missing, incomplete, presented out of context, or otherwise inadequate? Error analysis should include not just a calculation of the margin of error, but also look at sources of bias and potential problems with the survey questions and method.
  • Is the analyst interpreting the language of the survey the same way that participants do? For example, "satisfied" can mean many different things to different people.


  • Is there a failure to regularly generate action-items for improving service based on survey results?
  • Are there key decision makers who don't believe in the survey process?
  • Are there employees (or managers) who don't take the survey seriously?
  • Is upper-level management failing to support the survey?
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