Integrated survey service grows company

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Challenge: When Anida Carpenter, customer research and business intelligence manager at Hughes Network Systems, sought to improve the broadband satellite network services company’s customer feedback system, she knew she needed more than an external provider that would send static results and little else. HNS needed a more efficient way to survey its customers at the business and consumer level during different phases in the purchase life cycle, and use those data to improve internal systems. This was especially important because the company was spending as much as $750,000 a year on its surveys.

“We started looking for a more automated way for surveying our customers in 2002,” Carpenter said. At that time, surveys were conducted by third parties, or faxed or mailed in and then analyzed, a time-consuming process.

“Our survey program was a little disjointed,” she said.

Carpenter needed a Web-based solution that could streamline the surveying process and sort customer feedback quickly to improve customer experiences and cut costs.

Solution: Carpenter called on Perseus SurveySolutions (now Vovici Corp.) for the answer. The company provides online research services and survey and feedback tools for small teams and enterprise businesses. “Instead of people having to sit at a survey interface or analyze [data] online, we have the ability to push it into other systems,” said Brian Koma, VP-research services at Vovici. “That’s one of the things that sets us apart.”

Vovici’s services allowed HNS to track who had been surveyed as well as when and what they were asked. Integration was vital to improving the survey process: When customers are surveyed about transactions or customer relations, HNS receives the data directly in its internal systems in close to real time.

HNS has used the services in different ways, from generating executive management reports to coaching customer service agents on how to better assist callers.

“My big goal was to gain better insight into our customer experience and better understand their needs in a timely manner,” Carpenter said.

Results: HNS can now quickly provide both its big-name customers—from Exxon to Pizza Hut—and its small clients better service based on their feedback. Surveys once took three to five weeks to process; now, they take one week, allowing HNS to more quickly make internal service and quality adjustments. And the content of feedback has improved as well.

Within the first two years of working with Vovici, survey response rates jumped from five to 30% to 40%; customer satisfaction improved 40% overall.

“It allows us to work smarter, not necessarily harder,” Carpenter said.

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