Yesterday I posted the key takeaways from our quarterly client satisfaction survey. Some questions we hear about it is: where does the data go? Who sees it? How do you use it?
It’s an interesting set of questions, because the answers have evolved a lot in the past few years.
It used to be that we’d collect the data and then just a couple of us would pick some action items to be done and distribute them through the organization. This had the advantage of letting us hide anything we didn’t want everyone to know about, or we didn’t want to deal with yet. But now it’s a bit different. We’ve matured a lot as a company, and we’ve been eschewing top-down management methods and empowering teams to solve problems. Sharing the data widely forces us to face candid feedback even if it’s uncomfortable. Therefore, we share the data very widely within the company, and only in a few cases make it anonymous when we feel it must be.
Who Sees it and Takes Action Based on it?
The data from the client satisfaction survey is:
- Viewed in its entirety, verbatim, by the entire Geonetric leadership team – 12 people – and discussed and debated for a couple of hours. We want to make sure that the team charged with guiding Geonetric forward is 100% clear on whether we’re accomplishing our mission to “Wow!” clients. We identify trends and propose possible ways to address shortcomings or pass along kudos to teams doing things right.
- Client-by-client scores and most client comments are shared with the Account Managers and Project Managers to give them feedback on areas they’re excelling or failing to meet expectations. AMs and PMs tend to have the closest relationships with clients and often can best address issues. In almost every case, the surveys are confirming what the AMs and PMs already know, but the survey helps us stay focused on resolving any outstanding issues, or illuminating exceptional work that might otherwise have gone unnoticed.
- Teams, like our software development team or design team, are given the scores for their respective areas of influence through the company meetings, where we present the aggregate scores in each of 12 categories in front of everyone. Depending on the feedback, they might choose to take action within their realm of control.
- The monthly company meeting after the survey closes includes a discussion and rank of every client from best-scoring to lowest scoring: everyone knows where every client stands at that point.
Why Do We Do the Survey at All?
The goal of the survey is to ensure Geonetric is responsive to our clients’ needs. Too many businesses get complacent, simply assuming all is well, or ignoring indicators of problems. We refuse to get to that point: we push for client feedback every quarter so we can honestly hear our clients’ perception of our work.
Usually, the survey consists of clients validating that we’re doing things right: most of the feedback we get is glowing! The comments in the prior post illustrate what truly is typical among our clients. We try really hard to make that happen! In fact, we take it so seriously that client satisfaction is the largest component of the bonus program for the Geonetric team – more important than achieving profitability targets or growth rates or anything else! It’s that a big deal! Our belief is that, when it comes down to it, having happy clients makes us profitable.
But mixed in with the kudos from clients, we also get to hear constructive feedback. Sometimes this is really hard to hear: some of the feedback, despite the excellent scores we receive, is pointed and dredges up tough topics. Sometimes we think we’ve licked a problem and it turns out we haven’t. Other times, a client wasn’t happy with something we tried really, really hard to do well.
No organization is perfect; every company makes mistakes. By sharing the client satisfaction survey data widely every quarter, we empower the Geonetric team to make the appropriate changes to accomplish our mission: to ‘Wow’ our clients. It is impossible for us to ‘Wow’ them if we don’t know how they feel. Our client satisfaction survey is one way we make sure we’re tightly in tune with our clients.
When was the last time you were asked for your feedback? And if you were, do you really think your comments were acted upon? If you’d like to work with a company that takes feedback seriously – and takes real action based on your input – contact us. We’d love to hear from you and help you become a part of the Geonetric family.