Your company couldn’t exist without its customers. Their continued business keeps you in business, so their satisfaction is paramount when it comes to staying afloat. Whether you’re looking to grow your business or working on making improvements to your present operations, consumer comments are a great way to know where you need to direct your best efforts.
When it comes to rolling out customer surveys, it’s hard to know just where to start. Here is everything you need to know about collecting customer feedback — and why it matters.
Why Customer Feedback Is Important
Your clients interact with your business in a way that’s hard to see when you’re busy with the endless tasks involved in running a business behind the scenes. Because of their position, their perspective offers insight into what in your company is working for them and what is not.
Companies can even glean detailed information from simple customer surveys. A grocery store may ask if their customers are satisfied with the company’s current product selection or a travel agent may consider inquiring about whether clients would be interested in any cruises from Seattle. Customers have an impressive amount of opinions when it comes to the businesses they frequent.
Customers who are pleased with what your company provides in terms of customer service have a valuable voice when it comes to identifying areas in which your company succeeds.
Surprisingly, you’ll rarely hear from truly unhappy customers, but their friends and family certainly will. Chances are, one unhappy customer isn’t having a one-off experience, and there are likely dozens more with the same tale to tell. Dissatisfied customers are equally as important as a happy one, if not more. Unhappy customers are far more likely to persuade others to avoid your company through an emotional, detailed narrative of their experience, which can seriously hurt your revenue.
Even customers with lackluster experiences have valuable feedback. If your business intends to impress and inspire its customers, neutral feedback indicates you may be falling short of your goal. Hearing from a wider pool of customers regarding their level of satisfaction paints a clearer picture of what it’s like for a consumer to interact with your business.
How to Collect Customer Feedback
Most people are busy crossing items off their to-do lists, and very few will jump at the chance to fill out a customer satisfaction survey. Luckily, there are several reliable ways to go about collecting customer feedback.
Do it Swiftly
The longer you wait to request customer feedback, the less likely a consumer is to consider filling out a comment form. Customers are much more likely to respond with feedback when their experience is fresh in their minds, and their feedback is much more likely to be more detailed and accurate.
Customers should be presented with the opportunity to provide feedback within 24 hours of their last transaction. If possible, online surveys should be sent in a matter of hours, if not minutes. Be careful to limit the number of requests, however. When deleting and responding to texts and emails is a daily ritual for most people, multiple requests for surveys can be more annoying than accessible.
Research has shown that customers are more inclined to accept a survey opportunity when asked in person. Ask your staff to inquire as to whether a customer is willing to provide their feedback at the end of their interaction or transaction. It’s easier to ignore a text or email, but much more difficult for consumers to say no in person.
It helps to use personal language when making the request. Staff should avoid using generic questions or basic, dull statements. Rather, they should emphasize how helpful it would be to the company, or to themselves, if the customer could fill out a survey to let your business know how their experience was. Inclusive words like “we” or “us” help to make the request more appealing, making the customer feel like an impactful voice.
Though you’d appreciate detailed, comprehensive feedback from your customers, the moment they see a lengthy survey in front of them the less they will want to complete it. Requests for detailed comments can actually do more to make your customer’s impression of your business turn sour than encourage them to submit their thoughts.
Shorter, more focused surveys are crucial. The less time a customer has to spend leaving comments or ratings, the more likely they are to complete and submit their feedback. Try to include forms with simple boxes to check or rating numbers to circle. The easier it is for consumers to complete, the more responses you will receive.
Let’s face it: customers are very unlikely to use their valuable time to fill out a lengthy survey without compensation of some kind. It’s important to demonstrate that you’re aware of how valuable your customer’s feedback is to your business by offering something in return for their time, whether it’s a discount code, entry in a giveaway or drawing or free product at their next visit.
Customers also want to feel like their feedback will translate into meaningful change for their subsequent experiences. It’s helpful to provide examples of how your business has used past consumer comments to make improvements for customers today to illustrate that you’re listening to your customers and want to make their experience all that it can be.
When a company uses vague language in a survey, they also run the risk of reducing responses, as it becomes difficult for customers to see the benefit of their feedback. Customers also want to be able to accurately and fully communicate their experience, so they need a chance to respond with their unique thoughts and concerns.
The less you try to avoid receiving negative feedback, the better. Customers are more likely to respond honestly when your company is honest in its request, emphasizing that all kinds of feedback are welcome. Asking directly whether a customer was satisfied or what they think could be improved creates the opportunity for a customer to feel like their feedback, even negative comments, will be taken seriously and result in meaningful change for a company that is looking to improve.
Make It Simple
In both instruction and content, your surveys should be concise. Let customers know before starting how many questions or how much time they can estimate to spend on their response. Clarity in your survey’s purpose, and simplicity in its design, creates a greater likelihood that you’ll hear from a larger variety of customers, and get more accurate feedback that represents a more general consumer experience.
Customer feedback is useful, as it can be applied in a variety of ways. Any customer concerns, comments or complaints can help you to better train your employees, cut down on any unpopular products or gain insight into what makes your customers truly connect with and appreciate what your business has to offer.
With these tips, the possibility of gathering as many responses as possible is made more certain. With an impressive sample of customer comments, your company can interpret the information to make the necessary changes to daily operations to improve your customers’ future experiences with your business. With improved customer service, the success of your business is guaranteed to be secure.