Client satisfaction surveys are criticized for their tendency to generate positive feedback. This is probably due to the prevailing practice of interpreting the results in a routine manner. In this article I compare distance-oriented and method-conscious interpretation. I favour method-conscious interpretation, which utilizes accrued knowledge of the systematic skewness of information collected through a client satisfaction survey. It also pays attention to the way in which the studied phenomenon's special features, situation, and context affect the results. The operationalization of this survey has been guided by the ideal of shared agency in plan-based practice. The concept of plan-based practice refers to goal- and change-oriented, structured, and phased practice. Shared agency emphasizes dialogical, collaborative, and joint agency between the client and the worker in a helping process. When combined, these ideals lead to joint and systematic action by the client and worker. The combination of plan-based practice and shared agency emphasizes the presence of the client's views and actions in the process of getting help. The ideal holds that the client and worker share the assessment, goal-setting, and choice of working methods associated with a change-oriented working mode. I demonstrate that even if client feedback seems to indicate satisfaction, a method-conscious interpretation provides a more viable way to apply the results to organizing services. The study's data includes client satisfaction feedback (3036 instances) received by welfare offices in Lapland. The client feedback is in the form of experiential self-evaluation of received services immediately after the service events.
Field of science
- Social work