Customer satisfaction surveys—are they worth it? {guest post}

About the author: Emeline Jamoul is the translator behind In Touch Translations. She works with English and Spanish marketing, medical, and business texts that need to be translated into French. You may know her from the popular “What’s in a Brand?” series on her blog.

feedback or feedbag?

When Carolyn asked me to write a guest post about getting feedback from customers, I thought, “How convenient, I’ve just started running a brand new customer satisfaction survey!” Indeed, after translating a number of market research, customer satisfaction questionnaires and similar business documents for some clients of mine, I thought it was high time I started collecting suggestions and testimonials from my own client base.

A Customer Satisfaction Survey, you say?

That’s right! Admittedly, I might not have the customer base of Coca-Cola, but what my clients think of me and the services I provide to them matter just as much. Customer Satisfaction Surveys offer great insight into your client’s mind. They are very customizable and easy to analyze, and make for a great method to assess your business.

The format

I’m using SurveyMonkey because it’s an easy-to-use tool that lets you create small polls or larger surveys. I’m satisfied with the basic services the website offers, but if you’re looking for something even more sophisticated and professional, you might want to upgrade to their premium version.

When creating a customer satisfaction survey, the first step is to think about which answers you’re looking for and which questions will help you collect those answers. Believe me, this task is not as easy as it seems as you have to craft objective and clear questions. Keep in mind that your survey shouldn’t be too long – your client is a busy person and you don’t want them to feel like they’re wasting their time, do you?

After lots of pondering, I’ve settled for a sound number of five questions, plus the possibility of leaving suggestions or a testimonial. The questions I ask my customers are the following:

  1. How satisfied were you with the work that was delivered?

Not satisfied at all – Not satisfied – Satisfied – Very satisfied

  1. How satisfied were you of the translator’s responsiveness to your requests?

Not satisfied at all – Not satisfied – Satisfied – Very satisfied

  1. If you asked for translation services, how satisfied were you of the style, grammar and spelling of the document delivered?

Not satisfied at all – Not satisfied – Satisfied – Very satisfied

  1. How likely would you work with In Touch Translations again?

Very unlikely – Unlikely – Likely – Very likely

  1. How likely would you recommend In Touch Translations to friends, colleagues or family?

Very unlikely – Unlikely – Likely – Very likely


As you can see, I’ve intentionally kept it to a minimum, with the hope that the main answers I’m looking for will be brought up, one way or another.

Results: benefits & pitfalls

Once the survey was proofread (don’t forget that important step, especially if you’re planning to send it to your entire client base!), I’ve contacted some of my clients to let them know about it. I carefully selected those clients based on my relationship with them: they were people I had a “real” bond with – not your typical PM-translator relationship, if you know what I mean!

I know what you’re thinking – the survey answers will be biased! But the reason why I wanted to choose who I was sending the survey to was because I work with three kinds of clients: direct clients, easy-going PMs and… busy PMs. I didn’t want to bother the latter and avoid getting hasty answers.

I got a total of 10 clients based on this discrimination. I’ve also made sure a link to the survey was visible at the bottom of my email signature just in case someone wanted to fill it out voluntarily. I was happy to see that every client I had contacted took the time to answer my survey, which shows that targeting your clients is essential. As I have said above, SurveyMonkey makes it easy to collect all the data and even provides you with statistics!

One thing I wanted to discuss here though was the pitfall of contacting clients you are comfortable with. Indeed, none of the clients I contacted left a suggestion, but all of them sent me a testimonial. Does that mean that they are fully satisfied and that there’s no room for improvement? As it happens, they might be too kind to suggest you to change anything. What I would suggest here would be to contact all your clients – yes, even those ones you’re trying to avoid, those with whom things might have been a bit rockier. Not necessarily bad, but with whom the workflow might have been delayed or interrupted due to any factor (i.e. not necessarily because of you or the quality of your work). Yes, surveying your clients can be risky and scary, but don’t forget that you’re doing this to improve your business, to identify what went wrong and, more importantly, to find the solutions to your past mistakes.

Other ways of getting feedback

Of course, there are many other ways of getting feedback from your clients, and making a Customer Satisfaction Survey is not mandatory.

As I’ve mentioned above, leaving a link to your survey in your email signature might be just enough for you. I also know that some professionals leave testimonials on their colleagues’ Linkedin profile, hoping that they would do the same. Let’s cut to the chase: you’re not asking for a favor here, you’re asking for an opinion. Being nice to your clients will not help you get any further.

Let’s also not forget about the testimonials that you can receive when you least expect them and that you haven’t asked for – how’s that for a pick-me-up?

Even though the latter can be very powerful on your morale, I find that having a Customer Satisfaction Survey offers a proactive, systematic and organized way of assessing where your business stands. Despite the fact that they can be quite time-consuming (it took me between 2 and 3 weeks to establish the survey and gather all feedback), they demonstrate that you care about your business and that you’re willing to improve all the while keeping a professional attitude.


3 thoughts on “Customer satisfaction surveys—are they worth it? {guest post}

  1. Pingback: Weekly favorites (May 30-June 5) | Lingua Greca Translations

  2. Pingback: Customer satisfaction surveys---are they worth ...

  3. Pingback: Posts of the Day – May 2014 | Tranix Translation & Proof-Editing Services

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