The United Kingdom just released its annual Customer Service Index (UKCSI), which states that last year, satisfaction in the retail sector was higher than that of the national average. And the highest performing company in the retail sector was Amazon.
Amazon has been doing well for a while. Back in 2013, a customer service report detailed high rates of customer satisfaction, with majorities over 75 percent saying they trusted the company, would purchase from it again, and would recommend it to other people.
The very reason Amazon is able to know that it is being so successful is because the report examined 75,000 customer satisfaction surveys. Surveys are critical to knowing if your company is delivering on what your customers are looking for and helping you improve.
Surveys also help you to personalize your brand and minimize mass marketing. B2B International, a company headquartered in the UK, points out that because customer surveys are a “snapshot at a point in time,”
It is important that they are able to deliver accurate results and that businesses administer them regularly. Tracking surveys provide benchmarks of one’s own company’s performance and, if competitor suppliers are also being measured, there will be measurements of relative performance.
This places a considerable onus on the researcher to design a customer service survey that will accurately show real differences, one survey to another.
10 Basic Principles to Keep in Mind
It’s easy to say that businesses need to hear from their customers, but it can be challenging to get clients to give you this valuable information. After all, people are busy and are already being inundated with surveys from every company they patronize.
1. Find the Right Software Solution
The first step you should take is to make sure you have a tool for constructing surveys that are customizable, easy to create, and intuitive for your customers to use. A feature that allows you to analyze your results is helpful, too.
2. Discover Which Channels Your Customers Prefer
Before you start sending surveys out, you should recognize the avenues through which your customers prefer to interact with your business. If you identify people who like commenting on Twitter, ask for their feedback using Twitter. If other users prefer interacting with you through email, then rely on that as your way of communicating with that group.
3. Be Intentional with How You Send Out Surveys
It is important that you are purposeful with how you send out surveys. Give them at different times and for different reasons. You could administer general surveys quarterly and post-contact surveys immediately after customers complete their purchases. Remember to send post-contact surveys as soon as possible after the customer has interacted with you.
4. Keep Your Surveys Simple and Clear
Make sure your surveys are succinct, clear, and applicable to the experience your customer just had. If you have a clickable way of giving feedback, make sure it is consistent and easy. Many coffee shops that email receipts to customers provide a chance for patrons to give feedback in the simplest way possible by clicking on either a happy or a sad face to indicate whether the experience was positive or negative. This action only takes a second to complete, and then if the customers choose, they have an opportunity to provide more detailed feedback.
5. Gather Feedback on Different Areas of Your Company
In addition to surveying about your company in general, consider gathering feedback on particular departments. Doing so will give you a more in-depth perspective of which personnel or areas of your company need improvement.
6. Take Advantage of Negative Responses
Remember that negative customer feedback can be a prime opportunity for you to make your customer service stand out and to make connections with your clients. If you personally reach out to customers through channels you know they like, you’ll go a long way toward building your credibility in their eyes. Negative reviews are also a chance for you to improve your products and services.
7. Determine the Reasons Behind Customer Responses
When considering your customer service survey ratings, it is key that you keep in mind the reasons why customers gave you the scores they did. Knowing that you did either a poor or an excellent job really does not benefit you if you do not know why the customer is pleased or disgruntled.
8. Survey Customers in Real Time
If you can, getting feedback in real time is ideal because doing so allows you to access customers’ feelings in the moment. You’ll also get the most accurate information possible since you’re getting it right after the event occurred.
9. Don’t Skew Your Findings
Keep your surveys as objective as possible. Don’t present a scale with more positive options than negative or only send surveys to people you know in advance will be satisfied. It doesn’t do your business any good to get biased feedback.
While it could be tempting to build your company’s credibility by sending surveys to friends and family who will give you positive ratings, this tactic completely defeats the point of administering a survey. The point of customer feedback is to help improve the services or products you are offering. While favorable surveys do give you credibility, that credibility should be based on your actual performance, not a distorted representation of it.
10. Examine the Data as Thoroughly as Possible
Remember that there is a lot that the information you’re gathering can tell you if you are willing to examine it in detail. Consider evaluating the demographics of people who answered a particular question one way. You can break down your audience by factors such as gender and age to determine how your company is reaching out to different groups. What you can discover is limited only by your own creativity in analyzing your information.
A Final Warning: Be Sparing With Your Surveys
While surveys are necessary to finding out how your business is performing, be careful not to send them too often which can cause survey fatigue. Because surveys have become ubiquitous, many people are tired of them. However, the fact they are overdone does not mean you should not send any out. It simply means that if you are intentional with when you send them, they can be much more effective than they would be otherwise.