Discovery Surveys, Inc.
Specializing in Employee Opinion and Customer Satisfaction Surveys
Improving the Workplace

By Bruce L. Katcher, Ph.D. President, Discovery Surveys, Inc.

4 out of 10 employees say customers have trouble doing business with their organization.


Senior management in most organizations have no idea what their customers are really thinking. They are insulated from the problems customers experience at the front lines of their company. Making matters worse is that in the interest of cost efficiency, organizations are establishing systems which mechanize rather humanize the customer experience.

Management consistently assumes a level of satisfaction that does not exist. Most would be surprised to learn that more than 40 percent of employees believe it is difficult to do business with their organization. Understanding how customers really feel plays a critical role in retaining an organization's most important asset, its customers.


  1. Provide Opportunities for More Employee-Customer "Face Time"

    In many organizations, front line customer service employees never actually meet their customers. All their contacts are by email and telephone. These have their place, of course, but they are imperfect methods of communication. Face-to-face meetings can greatly improve relationships, rapport and understanding.

  2. Get Senior Management More Involved With Customers

    Successful senior managers recognize that their customers are their most valuable asset. They go out of their way to spend time with customers to build long-term relationships.

  3. Survey Customers Regularly

    Conducting periodic surveys of customers is an excellent way to gain a better understanding of how they really feel about your products, services, procedures and employees.

  4. Implement a "Keep in Touch" Program

    When is the last time you spoke with each of your top 10 customers? Savvy senior managers develop contact systems for making certain that these customers are not forgotten. "Keep in touch" calls to "just see how things are going" are greatly appreciated by customers. The key is to make these "keep in touch" contacts a regular part of how you conduct your business.

  5. Speak With Customers Who Leave

    Once customers take their business to your competitors, it is usually too late to win their business back. However, learning why they left can help ensure that other customers don't jump ship as well. Telephone calls, personal visits and surveys can all help surface this valuable information.

  6. Survey New Customers

    When new customers come on board, ask them why they chose to do business with your firm. This knowledge can help you land future customers.

  7. Conduct a "Shopping Study"

    Have you ever called the customer service line of your own organization? Were you treated with respect? Conduct your own shopping study by doing business with your firm or hiring someone else to do it. This is a very powerful way to learn about the experience of your customers.

  8. Conduct an Internal Customer Satisfaction Study

    If departments within your organization are not providing professional, timely and courteous service to each other, how can you expect that they are providing quality service to your customers? Conduct a survey of employees in your organization to learn how they feel about the service they are receiving from other departments in the organization. Also, ask them to self assess how well they are servicing other departments in the organization. Don't be surprised if employees throughout the organization feel that they are providing better service than they are receiving.

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