The Value of Client Satisfaction Surveys

“By inviting clients to talk to you through a carefully designed survey, you create a platform to understand the “magic” between you and the client.”  

Statistics show that an unhappy client tells 9 to 15 people about their bad experience. Professional services are about a trust relationship, so unhappy clients will directly affect loyalty, repeat buying and their willingness to refer others to your firm. An effective way to measure client satisfaction is through what we refer to as Client Satisfaction Surveys. Many firms shy away from asking clients’ feedback on their service experiences. They don’t like to hear what they don’t do well or what they can do better. Satisfaction surveys help you focus on your commitment to deliver quality service and alert you to potential problems – and to reach out to those clients with problems. 

What do you want to measure when conducting client satisfaction surveys? Firstly, we want to determine the client’s expectations with regard to service principles based on the firm’s core and supplementary services offered. Secondly, we want to measure the client’s perceptions around those services. Thirdly, we want to measure the gaps between expectations and perceptions. Are we exceeding expectations or offering services below expectations? Lastly, we want to give the client an opportunity to give us general feedback and suggest areas for improvement. Client feedback is critical. So what is the value of conducting regular (annual) client satisfaction surveys? Here are some benefits to surveys:  

Create a client-focused culture  

Surveys place an emphasis on the importance of customer satisfaction throughout your entire firm, enabling you to create a culture that truly puts customers first. Having this type of culture is exactly what you need to build a brand that’s associated with great client service. A truly strong brand is very hard to replicate, giving you a major competitive advantage. 

Improve the clients experience  

Of all the ways to increase customer satisfaction and maximise customer retention, personalisation is one of the most powerful strategies. Surveys lay a platform for clients to give feedback on areas of improvement to the experience. Customers are more likely to be comfortable with firms who know them and address their needs. Given the fact that it’s easier than ever to manage and use client information, your firm should always be looking for new ways to make every customer feel important, and that what you offer is specifically tailored to them. 

Use loyalty to your advantage 

Price insensitivity is a key benefit of loyal customers. Surveys gauge loyalty and satisfaction levels of existing clients. Stats show that repeat clients are open to paying higher prices for quality services and are willing to pay a premium for better experiences. What this means is making customer satisfaction a top priority may give you a little leeway on price and other places where you could be at a competitive disadvantage. Good experiences add to the value of the service. 

Know where to improve 

Some firms only use surveys when complaints increase or when sales and turnover drop. This is a reactive response. Surveys should be a pro-active approach to determine what a firm is doing well, doing as expected or doing poorly. A well-developed and well-timed survey can offer priceless feedback on all aspects of the firm in relation to your core services and supplementary services. A Client’s expectations and perceptions regarding pricing, hospitality, feedback, consultations, invoicing, etc. can pinpoint areas where you can improve. Making changes before your reputation is tarnished can reduce the negative impact on your firm. 

Glean new ideas 

Receive insight into the future needs of your clients and the direction to take your firm with the services you provide. If a survey allows for write-in comments or has specific open-ended questions addressing areas of improvement or service delivery ideas, excellent input can be gained to tailor services to the current and future needs of the clients.  

Gauge relationships and improve communication 

By inviting clients to talk to you through a carefully designed survey, you create a platform to understand the “magic” between you and the client. What they like and dislike and what keeps them coming back over and over again. Communication is a key ingredient for a healthy relationship, and online surveys create an ideal platform for interrupted and uninfluenced feedback to gauge the relationship.   

For more information contact Tobie vd Merwe at

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein.