pollThis is a post about surveys, so I’m thinking we should start off with a quick poll. Service organizations are typically among the biggest proponents for measuring customer satisfaction and loyalty, so I anticipate that many of you are already collecting field service feedback. But let’s check my assumption:

If your business does field service…

We’re having fun with surveys already!

Tip #1: Always Close the Loop

My top piece of advice regardless of when or how you’re thinking about customer surveys is to close the loop with the customer. If they’ve taken the time to give you feedback, then follow up and use the information to address their concerns and improve your business. One way to get started with this is to follow the Red/Yellow/Green discipline of the Net Promoter methodology, and map the data back into your CRM. This also works if you only ask about satisfaction. You can also set up an email trigger with the survey response for the account owner, so he or she knows to follow up. If that’s too complicated at first, start with a spreadsheet and manually assign follow up activities.

Tip #2: Evaluate When to Survey

It’s pretty logical that most field service organizations will find value in a transactional survey (feedback collected after a specific event), however I think there is something to be said for reviewing your company’s overall relationship surveys too.

Transactional Surveys

Field service happens at a very meaningful point in the customer journey—when a critical piece of equipment is first being installed, breaks or goes down—all experiences that your customer is likely to remember. Why run a transactional survey? You can take action on issues as they occur, give constructive feedback to specific technicians, and evaluate the overall impact and health of field service vs. other touchpoints in the customer journey. Ultimately, this information can help you elevate the value of field service to the overall business. And if you follow tip #1, customers will be delighted that you are reaching out to address their feedback.

Relationship Surveys

If your business is already doing an annual or twice annual survey to customers about their overall satisfaction, likelihood to renew, etc. then you may want field service represented in some way. Often these surveys ask a series of questions related to overall satisfaction with key aspects of the business. Some ideas include asking about satisfaction related to field response time, first time fix, and knowledge of technicians. You may also want to include a field service related business attribute like “equipment uptime” if the survey includes driver analysis. If you’re not already doing a relationship survey, it’s a great way to measure customer loyalty and ask related business questions such as likelihood to renew. Don’t get carried away though—ask questions that are relevant, actionable and try not to ask questions you should already know the answer to.

Tip #3: Use a Good Survey Tool

As someone who has worked at survey software companies and run customer satisfaction programs in the past, I can tell you that not all survey tools are equal. While there are many things to consider when choosing the right one for your business, reporting is always at the top of my list. Check to see if the data will export into the programs you prefer to use, has easy filtering and a nice verbatim word cloud tool. If you’re using ServiceMax, a logical place to start is our Marketplace. GoFormz has a nice survey tool that easily extends the ServiceMax application. You can also find other tools on Appexchange that have strong Salesforce integrations like Clicktools, SurveyMonkey and Qualtrics.

If you’re looking to run an enterprise scale customer loyalty or NPS program, then you’ll want to avoid the inexpensive survey tools and look for companies and market research firms that specialize in helping you run a complete program.

Hearing directly from your customers—especially in their own words—is critical to every business, no matter how large or small. Collect field service feedback and use it to follow up, communicate, and  improve.