What facilities services do campuses value? Here's how to ask.

Many colleges and universities use surveys to measure customer satisfaction with facilities services, but some go further and use their surveys to measure how much customers value specific services. Formally pairing satisfaction and value questions allows facilities teams to pinpoint specifically where improvement is necessary.

Sample paired satisfaction and value questions

By analyzing satisfaction and value questions, campuses can determine whether facilities is investing in the services customers care most about. The graph below visualizes an analysis of responses to these questions showing the relationship between satisfaction on the x-axis and value on the y-axis.

proposed satisfaction and value analysis

Each dot on the graph is a facilities subunit or function plotted according to how customers scored each metric. The area between the two dashed lines signifies an acceptable range in which respondents have similarly rated their satisfaction with a service and how much they value it.

The orange dots are units where satisfaction and value are rated at reasonably similar levels. Institutions should aim to have as many dots as possible within this range, as these lighter dots indicate that facilities is performing to campus expectations.

Meanwhile, services outside the lines are blue. Units in the upper left, such as custodial services, perform below expectations and received high value scores but low satisfaction scores. Units in the lower right, like maintenance and operations, perform above expectations with high effectiveness but low importance scores.

While there are likely other factors at play, this analysis serves as a great starting point for resource allocation discussions. Units in the lower right of the graph are places of potential overinvestment, while the units on the upper left are areas of potential underinvestment.

Tradeoffs between comprehensiveness and length

When deciding whether to include both satisfaction and value questions, campuses must consider the tradeoff between the benefit of these questions and the length of the survey. Though longer surveys may seem more thorough, the duration may cause respondents to lose interest and rush through or skip questions.

For this reason, shorter surveys will likely generate higher response rates. A SurveyMonkey study found that surveys longer than eight minutes see a significantly higher drop-off rate—the percentage of people who start the survey but do not finish—than shorter surveys. Thirty to forty questions is usually a good upper limit, but before launching the survey, facilities should have a few staff members test the survey for completion time.

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