Surveys – Know Your Clients!

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As you know, my company provides third party IT support services to clients. We have a team of staff (technicians), who carry out the day to day operations of the business. They take trouble calls, they setup new workstations, servers, UTMs (Universal Threat Management appliances), deploy printers, perform scheduled maintenance, etc. For those of you in similar situations, that’s great, it means you have generated enough business that you yourself can’t handle it all on your own. However, while you now have staff and employees doing the work for you, you’ve opened up a completely different box of things you need to be concerned with, and that’s making sure that your staff are doing what they’re supposed to be doing, and doing it correctly.

When one of your staff goes out to a client’s site and does work, how do you know what the interaction was like between that staff member and the client ? Was your employee friendly ? Did your employee say inappropriate things ? Was your client expecting something different in terms of work performed, or time spent there ? Think about this: hypothetically, if your employee and your client got into an argument, would your employee tell you ? In some cases the answer is yes, and you would certainly hope that your staff would be honest and forthcoming about a situation like that, but would you bet your company’s money on it ?

You need to ensure that your clients are happy with your service and happy with your staff. One method of collecting this information is through a service like SurveyMonkey. I commissioned a survey a few weeks ago, and among the questions I asked were:

  • Please rate our response time to reported troubles
  • Please rate the friendliness / attitude of staff when interacting with you
  • Please rate your impression of the overall competence of our technicians
  • Do you feel that we offer good value for our billable hourly rate ?

The reason I chose SurveyMonkey as opposed to simply e-mailing all our clients and asking what they thought, is that SurveyMonkey is anonymous. There’s a quote from Oscar Wilde that resounded in pop culture when Julian Assange, co-founder of WikLeaks, repeated it: “Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth”. In other words, providing anonymity allows clients to tell you what they really think of your service, good or bad, without the fear of repercussions.

Using a service like SurveyMonkey is just one method of collecting feedback on your business and your staff. Whichever method you choose to use, make sure you accept the feedback at face value and address any potential concerns before they seriously impact your business. Remember, you as a business owner, manager, director, etc., need to know what’s going on in the real world past your desk.

Author

Martin Lehner

Martin Lehner is an technology professional working for an IT services firm in Whitehorse, Yukon (Canada). He has been working in the technology field for over a decade. With a degree in Business Admin and numerous industry certifications, Martin leads a team of IT professionals that provide third party support for clients. Originally starting a company to offer web development services, Martin quickly realized that clients wanted the entire spectrum of technology services. When Martin is not at work (which is not often, since his company offers 24/7 support), he is busy at home spending time with his family.

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