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If the decision to run a Customer Satisfaction Survey is driven by complaints then the chances are it is a Customer Dis-satisfaction Survey you’ll be running. It all depends on how you ask the questions.
If you ask people to reflect on what is RIGHT about something – such as a relationship or a service – then you’ll focus them on the strengths. Having set the scene in this way you can then ask them about anything that could be improved. You’ll find out how satisfied they are and get pointers towards making them happier.

If you focus instead on what is WRONG with the service or relationship you’ll no doubt gather plenty of information, but it’ll be skewed and one-sided. People naturally tend to tell you the bad stuff anyway, and inviting them to do so without the balancing factor of strengths can paint a demoralising picture because it misses so much out.

Try this:

  • Think of a service you use or a relationship with someone (stick to a business or work relationship here, I don’t want to cause trouble at home).
  • Make a list of all the benefits and strengths you can think of related to the service or relationship. Take some time to do this. Don’t try to do it all at one sitting because the mind might take a little time to get used to the idea of searching for that is RIGHT about something.
  • Then ask yourself if there is anything that would improve the relationship or service you receive.

Focusing first on the strengths provides more balanced information and tells you which bits are working well. This is vital because success is built on repeating that which is working, rather than repeating failure.

Asking what could be improved is more helpful than asking people what’s wrong. When you do that you push them in the direction of complaints.


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