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Customer Knowledge for Intelligent Business  
ComSim - Services
Why did we lose a sale?
Was our weekend support available as promised?
Is there potential future business?
How did our field engineer relate to our customer?
Did the parts order meet expectations?
How can we improve our training offers?
Would you recommend our company?

ComSim measures and reports customer perceptions for high-technology businesses. In other words, ComSim conducts B-to-B research. As a third party, we interview your business customers on your behalf to get frank and direct responses to questions about products, support services and the many aspects of doing business with your company.

In every instance, we present the information we gather in a clear and timely format as a tool for:

Depending on your business type and your informational needs, ComSim recommends a survey approach that is right for you and your customers. Your survey will be unique to your company's business and designed to provide what you need to know.



ComSim uses telephone and web surveys to gather information.

  • Telephone surveys offer the benefit of human contact and personalized follow-up questions. These are especially effective for getting customer comments, because respondents can reply with minimal effort. Since these surveys are initiated by the interviewer, the response rate can be managed. Voice recordings are possible. The telephone medium works well with short surveys.
  • Web surveys are conducted with large populations simultaneously and assure uniformity of the survey. They allow for the inclusion of logic, graphics, links and references and can accommodate long surveys and a variety of rating scales. They require the respondent to proactively decide to take the survey, and there is effort involved in entering verbatim comments; thus the response rate and volume of comments vary.
  • Hybrid surveys are used to take advantage of the benefits of both methodologies.
    • Web followed by telephone - When an email invitation does not result in a completed survey within a pre-determined time period, ComSim can attempt to interview the contact by telephone.
    • Telephone followed by Web - After a number of attempts to reach a contact by phone without success, an email invitation to do the survey online can be sent.

Target Audience

The target population for a survey must be considered when choosing a survey method.

  • Census surveys measure the entire target population. When there is a small customer base or a low number of customers with the experience, it may be advisable to interview all.
  • Sampling is a method that measures a portion of the total population. A representative sample is determined through a statistical formula that predicts the margin of error and percent confidence in the results. Budgetary and time constraints may dictate obtaining a less than representative sample.

Rating Scales

There is always a debate as to whether to use a satisfaction scale with a midpoint or not - for example, a 5-point scale, which has a midpoint of 3 or a 4-point scale that requires the answer to come down on one side or the other. No matter which philosophy is chosen, ComSim follows these guidelines:

  • The scale should be easily understood, for example: Very satisfied to Very dissatisfied
  • The intervals between points on the scale should be equal or perceived as logical progression: for example, Excellent, Good, Fair, Poor
  • It is preferable to use words for points on the scale, rather than solely using numbers, to avoid confusion. An anchored scale could have 10 as Critically important and 0 as Not at all important.
  • Too many points on a scale may provide more granularity than is warranted. This may be the case when certain points on the scale are seldom selected as answers.
  • Some questions do not require a rating scale but are Yes/No or multiple choice.
  • The Likert scale of Strongly Agree to Strongly Disagree is generally reserved for opinion surveys rather than surveys following an event about which the customer has specific information.
  • The Net Promoter Score®1, as defined by Fred Reichheld, uses a likelihood to recommend scale from 10 to 0, where 10 represents Extremely likely and 0 represents Not at all likely.

Question Types
  • Rating - These questions can ask the degree of satisfaction or the quality of service or product on a pre-defined scale.
  • Open-ended - ComSim uses open-ended questions to ask for suggestions for improvement, product ideas, competitor comparisons. Customers are more comfortable with open-ended questions later in the survey. Topics can be coded in order to tabulate them.
  • Multiple choice - Multiple choice questions work well in web surveys, where the respondent can see all the choices. They can be used in telephone surveys if the choices are not too lengthy.
  • Binary - Yes/No answers are an example. These are frequently used to determine the survey path; for example, "Did the field service technician solve the issue on the first visit?" If the answer is no, the next question can ask about the total length of time before the issue was resolved.
  • Ranking - These questions are used sparingly to measure such concepts as preference or importance.
  • Follow-up - These questions are posed in order to obtain greater detail and clarity. Elaborations by respondents often provide the narratives that support their rating choices. These are a hallmark of ComSim interviews.

1 Net Promoter Score®, Net Promoter®, and NPS® are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Satmetrix Systems and Fred Reichheld.

To understand the customer is the first step in improving customer service.


ComSim, Inc. - 1515 Black Rock Turnpike  |  Suite B
Fairfield, CT 06825  |  203-336-3360  |
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