Satisfaction Surveys – Critical Information for Decision Making

I’m always amazed how many facility managers don’t use Facility satisfaction surveys as an important information tool to make decisions, find areas for improvement, and even provide them with information and data that they can use with their senior management to support initiatives.

I think there are two main reasons for this problem, and Facility Managers are missing out on an important source of information. Here are the reasons, and why they don’t apply anymore:

One, facility managers are scared of hearing what the ‘customers’ have to say and then having to react with changes and improvements, especially when they’re under extreme pressure for cost reductions.


Two, they believe the process of developing, implementing and analyzing satisfaction surveys is a lot more difficult and time-consuming than it actually is.

And 10 or 20 years ago, they’d be right. But with the improvements in technology, it’s no longer the case. This is because almost every Facility occupant has e-mail access at their desk, not to mention web access, and there are very inexpensive web based services that help you collect and analyze results. This includes Survey Monkey and Poll Daddy to name two.

Instead of having the print and distribute a lot of paper copies then collect them, tabulate them, do data entry of the data, not to mention entering comments, this is no longer required.

In addition, customer satisfaction information is a great tool to use for improving services, tracking supplier and staff performance, and providing information details and evidence senior management that supports your initiatives.

If you’re afraid of a low score, you shouldn’t be. Very few organizations get high numbers in any case, but even if you have areas which are low, don’t look at it as a failure on your part. Instead, look at it as an opportunity to make the change and get the resources with approval from your senior management that you wanted all along.

The real real trick is to develop the right kind of questions that actually provide information you can act on. Frequently, customer satisfaction surveys are designed with questions that are either leading, which then resulted in either a falsely positive or negative result, are way too long, hard to understand by the occupants, or give you an answer to a question that you can’t analyze and take action to change.

Frequently, the same scale is used in each and every question, forcing you to as certain things, instead of asking the right questions and setting a scale (i.e. yes/no, satisfaction level, or even priorities), you will get better results.

The other problem has been the inability to capture and review commentary information from the people who actually fill out the surveys. With electronic tools, this is easier than ever, and the comments are always a goldmine of information.

I have found in the past the comments can often be more illuminating than the actual results, or at the very least, they provide additional context information that you can use to take action on and help to explain any given results on your survey.

So the real question is, why aren’t you using this useful tool to further your cause and your service when delivering facility management services within your organization.

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