Creating Customer Satisfaction Surveys That Make An Impact

Most business leaders talk about their brands’ customer experience with enthusiasm and openly discuss its importance with strategists and consumer-facing employees alike. Yet, when they are tasked with seeking the feedback necessary to enhance vital interactions, these decision-makers tend to shy away from putting in the hours to make improvements in a substantial, long term sense.

A main indicator of this apprehension is the half-baked customer survey, which, according to a recent article from BRW contributor Peter Finkelstein, rarely yields useful information or inspires businesses to change their course of action for the better.

This article originally appeared on the LiveLOOK blog, and is reprinted with permission.

Why surveys are key

Since most people take it upon themselves to provide feedback via online review sites and social media platforms, the concept of a survey may seem foreign to many of today’s consumers and businesses.

However, there are few better ways for companies to reach out and get the feedback they deem important, as surveys can be tailored to bring forth more detailed critiques of a customer’s experience.

Rather than sifting through millions of webpages to find what customers think about a particular element of an ecommerce support strategy, a company can build a survey around that subject and receive more constructive responses. BRW explained that when used properly, surveys can drive sales and make a big difference to the bottom line.

In addition, BRW suggested that responding to feedback and making the changes that customers want to see are great ways of showing that a brand truly cares about its audience. Unfortunately, it appears most companies fail to acknowledge the surveys that purchasers take the time to fill out.

Finkelstein recounted a story in which he filled out eight brand surveys, including personal comments on six them. To see if companies were listening, he wrote the following in the provided comment boxes:

“Why do you send these questionnaires out when you have no intention of following up on them, or doing anything about the comments and ratings. If I am wrong, please call or email me.”

Unsurprisingly, only one of those six brands reached out, and not even with a personalized response. Finkelstein received an automated email that promised action within 24 to 48 hours, but no follow-up was made after this interaction.

His worst fears were confirmed – today’s brands don’t take customer satisfaction questionnaires nearly as seriously as they should, and are missing out on huge opportunities to connect with the very people that make their businesses what they are.

Optimizing the survey for success

Even if a company has a questionnaire that they’ve distributed for years and occasionally draw from for feedback, it is likely that the form is outdated or does not get to the core issues that the brand is trying to work through.

While it is up to the individual company to customize its survey to tap into these unique consumer insights, Forbes recently ran down a checklist of qualities that every great survey must have if customers are to respond in a meaningful way.

The questionnaire has to be clearly worded, cover the most basic questions of customers preferences, contain free-form fields for more detailed feedback, be ordered in an intuitive way and use appropriately descriptive rating categories.

It is also a good idea to switch things up and provide specialized surveys to customers who try new live help technology or are early adopters for a particular product. This will help a brand work out any issues in the beginning and avoid larger problems in the long run.

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