If there was a year that really accelerated the global digitalization, it’s the year 2020. Many businesses were forced to digitalize. The ones which were already digital had an opportunity to expand their capacities. The use of various digital services increased significantly.
In this constant fight for the digital market share, there is one area that seems to be always at the top of the priority list. It can have many forms, customer journeys, customer experience; but at the end of the day, customer satisfaction is what all businesses are after.
In this post, we’ll go in depth into how to know if the customer is unhappy, not just discuss how to make a customer happy. Because knowing matters for the development of your business.
In 2018 alone, businesses lost over $75 billion due to poor customer service. Knowing how to take feedback from your customers in the most efficient way will help you make the appropriate timely changes and not lose any further.
Make a Great Action Plan
A good survey needs to bring you scalable results that you can turn into money-making decisions.
Knowing what answers you want to get from your customers can’t be left to chance. You need a well-thought-out strategy, as this will drive and power your directions for the business. Clearly defined objectives will determine what your questions will be and how you will ask them. And last but not least, know what you will do with the information you obtain.
There is another important reason why your goals should be very clear from the start. This will help you not only ask the right questions but also properly limit the number of questions.
Why is that important, you ask?
Because the chances of a customer answering your satisfaction survey will be directly proportional to the length of your questionnaire.
Everyone is in such a hurry nowadays. So, asking a customer to take time from their own schedules to do something that mostly benefits you is kind of a big thing to ask. And while there are ways to mitigate that (which we will get into below), be sure to give your customer satisfaction survey a lot of thought.
Ask the Right (Short) Questions
Once you’ve got your goals clearly set out, it’s time to put your plan into action. Stick only to the questions that are relevant to your objectives. Don’t stray and don’t get over-zealous. Just because you can ask anything doesn’t mean that you should.
Remember that the key is keeping everything on point.
Your questions shouldn’t only be limited. They should also be as simple as possible.
All the best tips for conducting a customer satisfaction survey emphasize this aspect. If the questions you will be asking your customers about their interaction with your brand are easy to understand, they will be easily answered. After all, that is what you are after – answers. So, you need to do everything you can to obtain them.
You treat your customers with respect and shower them with attention when you are guiding them through your sales funnel. You should apply at least the same amount of care and attention to your customer satisfaction survey.
If your goal is to improve customer experience or close the customer experience gap, your customer satisfaction survey should focus on that. Keep your questions focused on their interaction with your sales team or their satisfaction with the purchasing process. Don’t ask irrelevant questions like ‘How did you hear about our brand?’
If it doesn’t matter to you, the question should not make the list.
Don’t Overcrowd Your Customer Satisfaction Survey
Keeping things simple so you can get as many answers as possible also translates to your customer satisfaction survey design. Abandonment rates are high when the design is off.
A great customer satisfaction survey tip is to not present your questions to the customer all at once.
We’ve all been there. We might as well admit it. When you see a wall of questions in front of you, your first instinct will be to run through them as fast as you can and be done with it. Or, just give up because it looks like it will take up too much of your time. It’s clear that your customers will feel the same way.
On the other hand, asking your questions one at a time can significantly reduce abandonment rates. It will help avoid them feeling overwhelmed and give your customer time to ponder their answers and be sincere.
In addition to that, you get the visitor emotionally involved a little bit, if they answer first then second than the third question – it is much more probable that they will answer the fourth question also. Which is exactly what you need.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking you are a secret agent trying to get precious information when conducting a customer satisfaction survey.
The truth is you are not.
There is no reason to keep your customers in the dark about what you’re trying to achieve by asking them those questions. It’s quite the contrary. You may very well see your abandonment rates drop if you fill your customers in on your goals.
Say you are trying to survey customer satisfaction levels after using a new online order processing format. Let your customers know that from the get-go. Be honest about your motives and goals and let them feel that they are a part of your progress.
Being open about why you are conducting your customer satisfaction survey will make people more willing to give you their answers. Plus, it will invite more open answers. It will also help make customers know that you care about their feedback. And that’s a great way to build customer loyalty.
By informing your customers of the reasons for this survey you are making them a part of the discussion. So if you just built a new page with a landing page builder and want to get some feedback on it, be straightforward and transparent.
Do not just ask “How do you like our new design?”, be specific. Ask:
- Did you find what you were looking for?
- Is the page easy/difficult to navigate?
- Why you like/don’t like our new feature?
Use Open-Ended Questions
This may sound counterintuitive. Especially since we’ve just made a point of keeping things short.
Yes, you can use multiple-choice questions. Or simple yes/no questions. That’s just fine. However, open-ended questions have one major advantage. They allow the customer to express their satisfaction (or lack thereof) in their own words. That can be a very good piece of information to take to your decision-making table.
A good customer satisfaction survey tip is asking a simple yes/no or multiple choice question and then following up on it with an open-ended question. This way you can get a complete image of that customer’s experience with your brand.
Just make sure to put the open-ended question at the end of your survey. This way, you will already have all the answers forms the customers in case they decide to not fill an open-ended question for you.
Consider Your Timing
One of the best customer satisfaction survey tips is to act fast. If you are conducting your survey after a customer finalizes a transaction, it’s best to follow up immediately. Most customer service experts agree that 24-48 hours is the maximum window you should leave between when the customer interacts with your company and the time you send out your survey.
If the customer’s experience with your brand is recent, it will be easier for them to tap into how the experience made them feel. This way, you can get clearer, more specific answers.
Keep in mind that you need your survey to follow up on a complete interaction or transaction. This means that if you want to check how satisfied a customer is with their online purchase, you will need to wait until the product is actually delivered. Jumping the gun won’t do you any good because information about an incomplete interaction is irrelevant to your goals.
Studies have also found that certain days are more likely to generate higher customer survey response rates. This takes us back to the idea of putting yourself in your customer’s shoes to get the best results.
You are much more likely to take the time to answer a few questions when you are less busy. So will your customers. Try Friday or Sunday evenings, when people are usually more relaxed instead of on the run. Or in the early hours of the day or at lunch, when people are most likely to scroll through their phones while they’re having their coffee or salad.
Don’t Lead Your Respondents
You will want to get real, honest answers. Therefore, you will need to design your customer satisfaction survey to contain questions that are as unbiased as possible.
Let’s say you are conducting a survey for your hotel, for instance. An unbiased survey question would sound like” “Did you enjoy your stay?”. A leading question, on the other hand, would sound like “How great was your stay at our hotel?”
In the second scenario, respondents will most likely not appreciate the fact that you are assuming their stay was great. Maybe it wasn’t. You will want to know that instead of leading them to half-agree that it was. Results like these will get you nowhere.
The important customer satisfaction tip that kind of goes through the whole post is – do not kid yourself. You are doing this because you want honest feedback, not to check another box for positive reviews.
Plus, your customers will certainly appreciate a more neutral, professional tone to your questions.
Offer Something in Return
An incentive is almost never a bad idea when dealing with customers. Offering something in return for answers is a great customer satisfaction survey tip. It’s a good way to increase response rates and get actionable insights from your survey.
Most companies opt for special discounts or bonuses. You can take that one step further and with the help of customer satisfaction surveys grow your visitors and followers. How? Through referral marketing. Inform your customer that by completing the survey they may take part in a contest or a giveaway. While this will increase the conversion rate of your surveys, you will be also growing the audience base for your referral marketing strategy.
Either way, using an incentive to motivate customers to offer their feedback is a very efficient way to increase your customer satisfaction survey’s success.
Choose the Channel that Works for You
Once upon a time, there weren’t many channels a business could use to get customer feedback. Most customer satisfaction surveys were conducted face-to-face or by telephone. That was back when brick and mortar stores were the norm.
Well, not anymore. With the rise of e-commerce and social media came email marketing services and automation tools like chatbots. Now, companies have plenty of options.
Using email and social media, things are now easier for companies as well as respondents. Businesses can automate their surveys using modern marketing techniques. At the same time, customers can take their time and answer the survey questions whenever they choose to.
But, none of these channels are foolproof. For instance, the downside of email customer satisfaction surveys is a low response rate. Being blasted with hundreds of emails from all the companies they interact with, customers are more likely to ignore yours. You will need to get creative to skip over this hurdle. Otherwise, your email survey may end up in the Spam or Trash folder in no time.
Other options include social media surveys, customer feedback online forms, or chatbots. These channels tend to have better response rates because they offer more personalized and simplified surveys. They do a better job of keeping the customers engaged and make answering questions easier and faster.
For the best results, consider which channel your customers may prefer and which platform can offer them the most streamlined experience.
Test and Follow Up
Once your questions are in place and you’ve set out your goals, test your survey on a sample group. Choose a relevant group from your customer base and see if the results you get make sense. If they don’t, do some tweaking before you send out the survey to a larger group.
Another step you should definitely not skip is following up on your customer satisfaction survey.
Don’t forget to thank your respondents properly and take action based on their answers. Building loyalty is all about making your customers feel heard.
You can thank customers for responding to your satisfaction survey by letting them know what you will be doing to improve their experience with your brand. Consider using live chat software for the customers on how to rate you really badly. In this case, the customer is truly unsatisfied you can connect them to live chat support and help in solving the matter.
Otherwise, you can let them know what you plan to do with their feedback and how it will impact them. Whatever you do, don’t skip on this great opportunity to build loyalty and trust.
For example, the Formkeep team gathers the feedback of its users and implements the changes that it seem they need the most. Each year Formkeep publishes a follow up with the changes that they made based on such feedback.
You will learn nothing from your wins, but a lot from your losses. So having happy customers is a great thing but in order to develop and grow your business professionally, you’ll need to assess issues and problems. This needs proper feedback and good assessment of satisfaction from your customers.
Unfortunately due to subjective reasons and operational blindness, you will never be able to have an honest look at the processes inside your business. Things that may see secondary to you might be the main issues why customers are not fully satisfied with your company.
That is why having a 360 honest look at your digital business is important. It’s better to know what the customer saying, and not just on social media or other platforms. It’s better to ask and get from the source. Let the customers be honest that the lessons that you create for them on an online course platform are completely worthless, or that your new product line is bland and too expensive.
Even if there are some issues to cover, you have to ask the right questions to get to the bottom of things. We hope that this post was helpful in figuring out how to formulate those right questions that will lead to the future growth of your business.
About the Author
Vlad is the founder and blogger at Costofincome.com, where he writes about starting a business online and reviewing various digital marketing tools.