Three types of questions to include in your customer satisfaction survey

Many Facilities departments are turning to customer satisfaction surveys as a measure of performance. Getting useful information from a survey requires asking well-designed questions, but with so many possible questions to ask, many facilities leaders don’t know where to start.

A good survey strikes a balance among the three types of questions: demographic, Likert-scale, and open-ended. Each type of question provides a unique kind of information that helps facilities get the most out of a customer satisfaction survey.

Demographic questions expand analysis options

Capturing demographic information about survey respondents helps facilities pinpoint the location of specific customer service issues or identify a dissatisfied constituent group. Successful surveys have two important categories of demographic questions:

  • Campus Role. It can be helpful to know if the respondent is a student, faculty, or staff member, as the groups will likely have different interests. Respondents’ level at the institution can also be valuable for filtering responses. For example, some institutions may want to consider adjunct faculty responses separately from full-time faculty responses.

  • Physical Location. Institutions that conduct customer satisfaction surveys report that one of the biggest challenges is pinpointing responses to specific areas on campus. Including questions about the respondent’s physical location ensures that facilities can map responses to buildings, providing a better idea of where customer service is faltering. Most institutions identify physical location by asking the respondent to select either their department or primary building from a dropdown menu.

New Mexico State University asks about primary buildings in their customer satisfaction survey. While the facilities leader notes that the survey may not garner enough responses from a particular building for the results to be statistically significant, even limited data allows for general comparisons of performance across campus. It can also help facilities identify places to follow up with customers or where zone maintenance staff needs to improve.

Three types of questions to include in your customer satisfaction survey

Likert-Scale questions measure satisfaction and value

The second type of question is multiple choice with Likert-scale response options. Responses typically range from “very dissatisfied” to “very satisfied.” These questions will make up the majority of the survey and can provide useful information about campus attitudes toward facilities, as well as quantifiable data to compare performance trends across units and time.

Most institutions divide their surveys into several sections corresponding to one facilities unit (e.g., custodial services, grounds and landscaping, maintenance). Common themes within each section include functional performance, professionalism of staff, and timeliness of service.

In addition to measuring customer satisfaction, some institutions use Likert-scale questions to measure how much customers value each service. Asking paired satisfaction and value questions allows institutions to determine where Facilities is already meeting customer needs and where improvement is necessary. Examples of paired satisfaction and value questions are shown below.

Three types of questions to include in your customer satisfaction survey

Open-ended comments provide immediately actionable feedback

Many institutions that conduct customer satisfaction surveys find some of the most actionable responses come from comments. Comments allow respondents to provide specific praise or complaints, so facilities can easily pinpoint and resolve problems. People who write comments usually have the strongest opinions—either positive or negative—which can help facilities focus on their greatest strengths and weaknesses. Including a comment box at the end of each section ensures ample opportunities for people to provide specific feedback.

Address growing campus building needs

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