Analytics & Business Intelligence

Customer Satisfaction: Preparing,
Surveying, Analysis, Action

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Catherine Lilly
Senior Advisor to the U-M Executive Vice President and
Chief Financial Officer
Office of the Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Presentation Handout

Catherine Lilly shared her experiences in developing customer satisfaction surveys for the Business and Finance (B&F) Division at U-M. A majority of the event participants had used customer satisfaction surveys in their own unit, but most acknowledged they neither had the expertise or consistency to apply the survey over time.  There was strong support for a repository of customer satisfaction resources that could be leveraged on campus. U-M has many experts in the area of survey design, analysis and training; however, these resources are scattered and decentralized. Participants agreed it would be useful to bring these resources together on a website, wiki, etc.

    1. Moderators on campus
    2. Reviewers to give guidance
    3. Focus Group Training
    4. How to explain to leadership that surveys are important

Audience feedback suggests numerous units are assessing employee and student satisfaction. It was discussed that a common instrument could be used to collect student and employee satisfaction data for longitudinal analysis. This data could then be “warehoused,” removing many of the obstacles units face – turnover, inconsistent survey design, inadequate data retention and lack of benchmarking data.  

If you only intend to do a satisfaction survey once, don’t do it.  The initial survey will only provide a baseline for understanding how changes may impact customer satisfaction in the future.  The first survey will help to identify components that need adjustment or inclusion to improve survey effectiveness.

Customer Satisfaction Measurement Benefits:

  • Help predict future concerns and identify staff development
  • Help engage in new discussions
  • Provide evidence to make significant changes

Key Issues to Consider when Developing a Customer Survey:

  • Who are your customers?
  • What will you do with data?
  • How will you set benchmarks?
  • Who will lead the survey?
  • Do you have buy-in from management?
  • What is in it for the respondent?
  • How might external factors impact your respondents?
  • What if you didn’t trust feedback?
  • How will you report the results?

Lessons Learned:

  • Do a pre-survey to help develop main survey
  • Use a focus group to help understand data
  • Organize an advisory board to encourage buy-in
  • Influence leadership to participate  in survey
  • Customize survey letter to participants
  • Communicate survey results and feedback to all levels
  • Report mean scores as the % satisfied, not as % unsatisfied
  • Analyze comments by theme