Why You Should Never Do a Client Survey

Why You Should Never Do a Client Survey

In last week’s blog, I talked about listening to your clients and taking their advice selectively. This week, I wanted to touch on a similar topic: the Client Survey.

Client Surveys aren’t entirely bad, but if they aren’t worded exactly in the right way, or with very specific results in mind, then they are completely useless and counterintuitive.

Have you ever taken a Statistics class? I always hated statistics because you can literally make a statistic out of anything if you skew the questions in the right way.

For example:

“10 out of 10 people agree that MY COMPANY is better!”
“100% of interviewed people agreed that MY COMPANY was superior to others!”

This is great news…but what if the survey question asked was:

“Which is better: MY COMPANY or a company that hurts puppies?”

Obviously, this is an extreme and improbable example, but it illustrates the point that strategically-phrased questions can make all the difference in the answers received.

If you are trying to get your clients to agree with you, then it’s all in how you word the questions. (I know this sounds manipulative, and in a way, it is! I am not advocating for manipulation tactics in your business practices!)

But the true point of a Client Survey is to get their opinions, not the opinions you are trying to get them to have by answering tricky questions. And although your clients have important things to say and you want to honor their opinions, a Client Survey is only going to dilute what is important to your business and brand.

If you are doing one, then you have to be prepared to get hundreds (or maybe thousands) of useless, confusing, complaining, or contradicting answers that will in no way truly help you make decisions. Not to mention that you have to sift through all that data (or pay someone else to) to get any real information at all.

And once you send that survey, the clients who take the time to fill it out are either going to complain mercilessly, or are going to want to see the results they requested (and if they don’t, complain even more)…or, even worse, you might implement a policy or procedure because a client requested it, only to find out that they don’t care enough to follow through.

A common example of this can be found in any fitness studio survey:

  • You send out 500 surveys to your clients on what days and times they want a class.
  • You get back 200 responses and 100 of them suggested a 7 am class on Tuesdays.
  • So, you start a 7 am class on Tuesdays and ONE person shows up.
  • And the next week NO ONE shows up.
  • And the week after that…
  • Pretty soon you are scratching your head wondering where those 100 people are who said they wanted that day and time…all while paying an instructor more than you are making. LAME!

The point is, SURVEYS RARELY WORK! You are the boss and you are the expert. You make the decisions about what is best for your business and your clients. I’m not trying to tell your clients (or you) what to do, but if you are really struggling to make some decisions on how to create a better or bigger business, then there are better ways to go about it.

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