Are customer feedback surveys really worth the time and effort? According to some critics, the answer is no.
Detractors of feedback surveys cite everything from their unwieldiness and complexity to general customer fatigue as reasons for why businesses should not design and administer surveys.
But there is plenty of evidence to support that surveys do work. Used properly, surveys actually provide a very clear picture of a business’s current strengths and weakness, not to mention its long-term health.
In fact, here are seven ways critics misunderstand the usefulness of surveys.
1) Customers hate them
Customers don’t hate surveys. They won’t mind giving you feedback – with one catch: they want to see evidence that their feedback has actually led to some kind of improvement or innovation. As Accenture has reported, the main source of customer frustration with surveys stems from companies who are unresponsive to the provided feedback, ignoring customers’ needs and wants. Customers will tell you what they think but, in return, they expect you to be able to resolve a specific issue more quickly or provide a better solution.
2) You already know what your customers like
This may be true, but your customers’ needs are changing all the time and, if you aren’t able to adapt to those changing needs, you aren’t giving them much reason to stick around. Industry insiders are already predicting that to remain relevant in the year 2020, you will have to be able to leverage ongoing customer knowledge to offer personalized, timely support. Your longevity will depend on your ability to immediately respond to customers’ changing needs, delivering the exact experience they are looking for. If you can’t do this, you are putting customer loyalty, your reputation and, ultimately, your bottom line at risk.
3) Feedback surveys are too time-consuming
It is true that the more time-consuming your survey is the less effective it will be. Forbes reports that 80% of customers have abandoned a survey halfway through and 52% of customers claim that they would not spend more than 3 minutes completing a feedback survey. But there is absolutely no reason why your survey must require more than 3 minutes of your customers’ time. If you have in place a clearly defined goal, ask the right question or two, and minimize friction to completion, you are giving your customers no reason to abandon the survey and, so, you should see a high-level of completion.
4) Customers only care about price, not good service
Bain & Company has found that a customer is four times more likely to defect to a competitor if he or she experiences a problem that is service-related rather than price- or product-related. The truth is that today’s consumer expects a friction-free, cross-channel, customer-friendly experience and there is no shortage of businesses out there able to deliver just that. Competing on price or product features simply isn’t enough. Customer experience is, truly, the new battleground.
5) Customer feedback is nice to have but not a “must have”
American Management Association reports that high-performing organizations are at least 2.5 times more likely than their lower-performing peers to regularly collect feedback to gauge customer satisfaction levels. These successful companies recognize the power inherent in not just soliciting customer feedback, but in listening to it, and acting on it. And they are rewarded for their efforts, experiencing higher levels of customer loyalty as a result of the greater value they are able to deliver their customers.
6) Customer service isn’t important; people will shop where they like
Actually, customers aren’t necessarily looking to leave a business. It’s just that sometimes they feel they have no choice, particularly if the business is unwilling or unable to resolve an issue, provide personalized communications, or reward a customer for his or her loyalty. In fact, these are the very reasons why customers have left a business, according to a 2013 Accenture study. In fact, 82% of the customers cited in this study said that if a business had just shown it could be responsive to their needs and wants they would have stayed.
7) Retention improvements don’t have a big impact on the bottom line
Marketing Metrics report that businesses have a 60% - 70% greater chance of selling to an existing customer than they do a first-time customer. The chance of selling to a new customer hovers at just 5%-20%. In fact, selling to existing customers is much more cost effective, especially if you are regularly checking in with them to better understand their need and wants. These customers provide enormous opportunities for cross-selling and upselling, therefore increasing your company’s bottom line.
Do you need customer feedback?
Clearly, the answer is YES.
The better equipped you are to meet and exceed your customers’ wants and needs, the more likely it is you’ll come out ahead. In-depth customer knowledge gathered via feedback survey is essential for the creation of a superior, relevant customer experience, one that improves not only your current bottom-line sales and revenue but also your long-term retention and growth strategies.