Inclusive approaches to customer satisfaction surveys for disability services

Ms Caroline Cummins1, Mrs Ellen Staas1

1Mercy Connect, THURGOONA, Australia

Information gained directly from consumers can provide important insights into service provision for disability services. There is currently limited literature available to guide services in how to implement inclusive customer satisfaction surveys. Mercy Connect has adopted an innovative approach to conducting a survey from the point of view, and in the words, of the person with an intellectual disability.

Using a mixed methodology approach to measure quality of life outcomes and service satisfaction, the survey considered the individual needs, capabilities, and barriers to participation for clients receiving services. An inclusive survey was achieved by presenting questions and collecting responses in a way that reflected participants’ strengths and capabilities including those with a range of communication impairments. A ‘Talking Mats’ approach and other visuals were utilised with the assistance of trained staff for those individuals who required support. Questions related to various life domains including your home, your relationships, your leisure time, your choices, your supports, and your day program/vocational activities.

Forty-one percent of clients who receive services from the organisation participated in the survey. A number of participants, who have never been offered the opportunity to engage in a formal review process, provided specific feedback on a range of topics including where they live, the amount of choice and control they have and how safe they feel in their home.

This pilot survey should not only serve as an illustration of participant-led research but also as a model that could be further developed for consumer testing by other disability service providers.


Caroline is an experienced leader focused on driving practice improvement through the implementation of evidence-based practices. She leads a team of professionals who are dedicated to providing innovative and quality services. Caroline’s background in Speech Pathology brings her passion of ensuring the voices of the people are heard and valued.