When it comes to gathering direct insights from your customers, few mechanisms beat a classic survey. But to get a good response rate (and honest feedback), you must follow a few simple rules.
Why Customer Surveys Matter
As a business, value creation is the focus. Value directly impacts how a customer feels about your brand. If your customers are satisfied with the value you provide, it means they’ll stick around, spend more, and reward your business with loyalty. If they’re dissatisfied, you’ve got problems (negative word-of-mouth marketing, plummeting profits, etc.).
There are plenty of ways to subjectively interpret how satisfied customers are, but the most objective option is to go straight to the source. And this is where well-timed customer surveys come into play.
With the right survey strategy, you can tap into the precise emotions surrounding how your customers feel and what sort of experience they’re having.
“Customers have higher expectations than ever of brand experiences, and this translates into significant implications for those that cannot deliver against those expectations,” industry insider Neil Davey writes. “In recent research conducted by MyCustomer, nearly a quarter (24%) of respondents said they would switch to another provider after only one negative online experience.”
Customer surveys allow you to tap into how your customers are feeling right now. It’s basically your way of putting a finger on the pulse of your audience. Then, based on this real-time feedback, adjustments can be made to move the dial on customer satisfaction and brand experience. You can think of surveys as your “intel” source. It arms you with the information needed to make proactive decisions that benefit the organization.
Tips for Getting More Out of Your Customer Surveys
No two customer surveys are the same. However, the basic principles and best practices remain true across the board. Here are a few tips you can use to generate more value and better insights from your own customer surveys:
- Send NPS Surveys
If you’re searching for the gold standard metric of customer experience, look no further than Net Promoter Score (NPS). This simple measurement produces profound results, which have the potential to benefit your organization in a variety of ways.
NPS, which is measured on a -100 to +100 scale (where a high score is desirable) tells you how customers feel at any given moment. It asks customers one basic question: “How likely are you to recommend [insert brand or product] to a friend or colleague?” Answers are given on a scale of 0 (not likely) to 10 (extremely likely).
- Customers who respond with a score of 9 or 10 are labeled “promoters.”
- Customers who respond with a score of 7 or 8 are labeled “passives.”
- Customers who respond with a score of 0-6 are labeled “detractors.”
NPS surveys are super easy to send. And because of the simplicity (one question), they get high engagement.
- Respect the Customer’s Time
You can’t expect a customer to sit down and fill out a 20-minute survey (unless you have a very compelling incentive). Even asking for five minutes of a customer’s time is a big request. For best results, keep things short, concise, and very direct.
If you are using a long survey, structure it in such a way that each question is recorded as the customer fills out the survey. This ensures you still get valuable data, even if the individual drops off halfway through.
- Keep Questions Specific
There’s a time and place for open-ended questions, but you’re usually better off offering simple questions where customers pick an option. If you’re asking open-ended questions, save them for the end of the survey and make them optional.
- Reduce Friction
Friction is a huge engagement killer. Time and focus come at a premium right now. The more you can do to limit friction, the better your results will be (in terms of getting people to fill out the survey with honest and authentic feedback).
One simple thing you can do to reduce friction is to make customer surveys more mobile-friendly. Roughly half of emails are opened on a mobile device these days, which means you should really tailor your surveys to mobile users. This means making the layout easy to read on a small screen and optimizing for touchscreen use. (Avoid putting selections too close together.)
Grow With Direction
Customer surveys deliver insights. But your success depends on how you respond to these insights. If you sit still and refuse to do anything, you’ll become stagnant (and eventually decline). But if you use the information gleaned from these surveys to improve your business by prioritizing customer satisfaction and positive brand experiences, good things will happen.
Now’s the time to be proactive and grow with intentionality.