Customer Satisfaction
A Single Comment Can Make a Difference

As mentioned in another tip, it is possible to "code" customer comments and categorize them by issue. (See Evaluating Customer Comments.) However, it also is important to recognize the importance of each individual comment. It is not necessary for a comment to be repeated by a large percentage of customers in order to make it actionable. Indeed, it is important to recognize that there may be many people who share the views espoused in a single comment - they simply did not participate in the survey, or participated and neglected to mention their thoughts on the subject.

Naturally, some degree of judgement is required in determining whether to "fix" something mentioned by only one respondent. If a respondent to a restaurant customer satisfaction survey mentions that they would prefer if the waiters all parted their hair on the right side, we would tend to question the sanity of the respondent rather than the policies of the restaurant. However, if a respondent were to complain that the rest room (WC) often ran out of towels, it would be prudent to investigate this issue immediately and take whatever steps are necessary to rectify the situation.

Both this tip, and the tip on Evaluating Customer Comments, have a key point in common -- customer comments should serve as more than just idle reading to fill the time between Ann Rice novels. Comments should be taken seriously. They can serve as early warning signs, as a pool of useful suggestions, and, when comments are coded by the researcher, as a tracking mechanism.