Wednesday, November 19, 2008

One Positive Aspect of Using a Survey

Professors Paul Dholakia and Vicki Morwitz completed a research study that tested the impact of a customer survey impact on loyalty. Their research study has been published in the Harvard Business Review. The objective of their study was to determine whether or not the process of performing a survey causes significant changes in the future behavior of those receiving the survey.

They worked with a financial institution and selected customers with high levels of satisfaction and created two groups. The first group participated in a customer survey of customer satisfaction. The second group (control group) did not participate in any research. The behaviors and profitability of each group was tracked for one year following the survey.

The observed differences included:
1. Survey participants were THREE times as likely to open new accounts with the firm.
2. Survey participants were LESS THAN HALF as likely to defect.
3. Survey participants had a profitability profile that was significantly better than the non participation group.
4. Survey participants continued to open hew accounts at a faster rate and to defect at a slower rate than the nonparticipants even after a year.

Professors Dholakia and Morwitz believe the effects of survey participation will last anywhere from THREE to EIGHT years.

The most important aspect of this research is that surveys themselves have a positive effect on customers. The effects may, in fact, cause sustained changes in customer behavior. The evidence appears to demonstrate that the differences are quantifiable with a measurable impact on the financial performance of the firm.

One important research question is why this is happening. There are many hypotheses that might explain the customer behavior. Let us hope that the work of Professors Dholakia and Morwitz will continue their research that appears to have such a significant impact on survey work.

One caveat to this research is that it was performed on only one company in only one industry. It will be interesting to see if these results can be replicated in other companies in other industries.

1 comment:

Zoomerang said...
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