The customer is always right. Popularized by retail pioneers such as John Wanamaker and Harry Gordon Selfridge, this slogan emphasized the importance of delivering high customer satisfaction and treating their complaints with utmost care. Today, more and more companies are starting to realize that their customers are not just “always right”. They are becoming their kings.
And as companies face steady and persistent pressure to innovate and develop new products and services, they are starting to look outside their four walls for new strategies and techniques that will enable them to gain and keep a leading edge. Clearly, what better way to find inspiration and innovation than to invite your kings (and queens) and ask them?
Surveying your customers has become a vital part in running a successful business, regardless of the industry you are in. Not only it will provide you with valuable insights that will supercharge your innovation, it will increase your customer satisfaction and reduce your churn. Still, many businesses loose on the opportunity to reach to their customers and get to know them better. Why? Well, there are plenty of reasons but most often, business owners simply don’t know where to start or what to ask their customers.
Here are top 5 frequently asked questions about customer survey that we receive from our clients:
#1 Where to start?
For people that are just thinking about creating a survey, the whole process can seem as a piece of cake. Typing some questions that you want to ask your customers and hitting the “send” button is far from what a customer satisfaction survey really is.
A customer satisfaction survey is a delicate process and should be treated as such. People are different and while some of them can’t wait for an invitation to give you their opinion, some will not be so eager to give you their time. Even the way you distribute the survey plays a big role in the whole process. While some of them will prefer to give you their opinion over the phone, for most the easiest way is to fill out the survey online. A survey that isn’t properly thought out and administered can do more harm than good.
If you are looking for a solution that will ease up the whole process, be sure to select a partner that knows what they are doing.
Customer satisfaction surveys show how happy your customers are with your offerings and information that you learn through these surveys will help your company identify and fix any possible issues, as well as give you valuable insights on how to increase your customer satisfaction even more.
#2 What should I ask them?
Well, all surveys consist of questions, but when you are creating a survey, start with answers instead of questions. Think about the answers that you need and want to get from your survey, and start by defining the idea that you want to prove or disprove. Maybe you want to find out if your customers want more features in your software or more different flavors in your ice cream shop. Once you have the answers written down, it becomes easy to write the questions that will give you those answers. Note however that you should avoid possible framing and bias in your survey and ensure that your questions are written in a simple and easy-to-understand manner.
As a last step, choose the survey type such as yes/no or multiple-choice questions.
#3 How long should my survey be?
You’ve waited this long without asking your customers how they feel and it is probably true if we’d assume that you have dozens (or hundreds) of questions that you want to ask them. Before you send a 100+ question survey to your customers, take a moment and think. The biggest complaints about these surveys come when they are too long or too complicated. Remember, you are asking your customers for their time, and they will not be happy if you ask them for more than a few minutes.
The best customer surveys contain between 15 and 30 questions and the less question the survey has, the higher the response rate you get.
#4 What response rate should we be happy with?
We often have clients who reach to us saying that they had a response rate of around 15% and that they expected it to be much more than that. For survey of around 20 questions, the typical response rate is around 10 – 15%.
There are several factors that can affect your response rate such as the type of your customers (ongoing or transactional), the length of the survey, and if you offer any incentive to your customers for completing the survey.
If you want to improve your survey response rate, make sure that you first check how often you send your surveys. If you have transactional-type customers, it can be good to have a continuous survey that is triggered once a customer completes a certain transaction. If you have ongoing customers, make sure that you don’t survey them very often. Best practices show that one survey per 6 months is more than enough.
#5 What types of customers typically respond to surveys?
Research shows that almost 90% of customers begin doing business with a competitor after experiencing a poor customer service.
Therefore, most businesses use customer satisfaction surveys to identify unhappy customers and use those findings to try to retain them. The question that many businesses have is will their unhappy customers go through the trouble of answering the survey.
Statistics show that most customers who answer the survey are either extremely happy or extremely dissatisfied, while those who are in the middle will often decide to skip the survey. The best way to address this polarity in results is to increase the response rate as much as possible to make the survey results as representative of the overall satisfaction as possible.
Surveying your customers – in any way and form – can be extremely difficult. By asking your customers the right questions at the right time, you will be able to collect high-value customer insights and turn customer feedback into a cash machine for your business.