Customer survey checklist and case study

This is a guide to help you identify what you want to achieve by conducting customer satisfaction survey, it has been populated with a case study to explain why certain decision were made in the customer satisfaction survey design and implementation.

Background to the customer survey case study

A real estate firm came to Insync Surveys wishing to conduct a Customer Satisfaction Survey. This is their situation:

  • They wished to ascertain what they were doing well compared to their competitors, areas for improvement and things that they should start doing to become the property specialist of choice. 
  • They were operating in a changing market with aggressive competitors. 
  • They had made many procedural changes in the last 12 months. 
  • They were particularly interested to know how many customers would recommend them to other people. 
  • The firm worked in the commercial and private property sectors. 
  • They decided to survey commercial customers, talking to the financial institutions who commissioned their services as they represented a significant proportion of their revenue.

In the following customer survey checklist, the case study is presented in coloured box as an example only.

Purpose of the customer survey

What do you want the customer survey to tell you?

  • Is it to provide areas of focus for customer improvement?
  • Is it to leverage areas of excellence in customer satisfaction to grow & win new business?
  • How will the customer survey compliment the wider business strategy?

You may wish to consider:

  • Customer communication
  • Customer focus
  • Customer delivery
  • Staff
  • Image/promotion
  • Product quality
  • Performance management
  • What previous research exists and what are the relevant findings?
  • Who was used?
  • How were the findings used?
  • Do previous findings need to be incorporated into these findings?
  • What kind of policy change/communications have preceded this research?
  • What sort of customer relationship management system is used?
  • What is your competitor situation?

The real estate firm wanted to establish:

Customer satisfaction with their experience (i.e. how did they perceive responsiveness and reliability of the real estate company? How did they rate staff competence, empathy and quality?)


Customer segmentation - who do you want to speak to?

  • Where should the target group be selected from? Particular country? Customers served by a specific business unit?
  • Which specific segments or groups should be included?
  • How many should be sampled?
  • How will you best reach these customers? Online? phone? letter?
  • Are your customers contact details up to date?
  • How long should the survey be left in field?
  • What constitutes an acceptable response rate? Is this statistically valid?
  • Should you incentivise participation?
  • Should you continue previous methodology for historical trending comparisons?

The real estate firm decided that although private and commercial clients were equally important to then in terms of revenue streams, they would focus on the top 75 commercial clients as they represented longest term growth potential; and were also the clients they were most at risk of loosing due to intense competitor activity. They left the survey in field for 2 weeks which was enough to secure a high participation rate which was boosted due to charitable donation for each completed survey. Survey response rate was boosted in the last few days by telephoning non-participants and asking for their help. No historical trending comparisons were made as the data held by the company previously was so out of date.

Data analysis

  • What do you intend to do with the data? This will affect the data analysis process
  • How do you want the data presented?
  • When do you need the data?
  • What are your project milestones?
  • Who owns the data? Are you outsourcing? If so, what are the terms and conditions of your supplier?

The real estate firm wanted to have the data broken down so they could:

  • Visually see areas for business improvement focus
  • Identify names of promoters for testimonials
  • Identify names of people who said that they would keep spending so that they could alert them to new products and services
  • Identify detractors to see how the relationship could be strengthened and convert them to satisfied customers


  • What are your required outputs?
  • Transcripts?
  • Raw data?
  • Interim reports/briefings?
  • Top-line report?
  • Full comprehensive report?

The real estate company required one simple report with clear action priorities. In addition they required a face-to-face presentation which aggregated survey findings with depth interviews and enabled them to ask questions of the researcher. They required full transcripts of verbatim comments.

Customer survey cost estimate

  • Survey design budget?
  • Data collection budget?
  • Analysis budget?
  • Reportng burdget?
  • Debriefing?

The real estate specialist asked Insync Surveys to conduct their customer satisfaction research because their established methodology actually worked out to be cheaper and better value than running the research in-house.