Surveys: Why They Shouldn’t Be the Be All End All

Chelsea Kaefer on April 30, 2020

There has always been a desire to understand your buyer & their needs, but with the rise of consumer centricity, there is a sudden need (more than ever before) to understand the people you call customers more intimately - and to give them the reins on some of your processes and procedures.

With all of the technological advancements today, customers have been able to spread and amplify their voice (through social media and online review & recommendation sites), so much so that “88% of people trust online reviews written by other consumers as much as they trust recommendations from personal contacts.”

While many companies think they are leading the charge with their focus on creating a better customer experience, the numbers tell quite a different story. According to an American Express study, “95% of companies fail to exceed the expectations of their customers.” So, the question is why?

One of the reasons is that consumers still don’t believe their voice matters. In fact, the 2016 NICE & BCG Survey reveals that “Customers have become significantly more skeptical about the effects of their feedback” in the last few years.

The root of the issue is that companies need not only create exceptional customer journey maps, and surveys, they need to act on the feedback and make sure their customers know it, too. Companies need to give their customers the power to actually affect decision making.

How do businesses truly hear the voice of their customers? And once they have it, how do they let customers know that they heard it - and that they are implementing positive changes to address that voice?

Here are some suggestions on how to create surveys that get the actionable feedback you need, and suggestions for acting on it:

Get to know your customer before you ask them to pour their hearts out

Before you go ahead and survey your customers, it’s a good idea to understand who they are, and cater the survey to their personality and preferences. If I prefer phone to email, send me a call. If I prefer text, send me a text. If I don’t have a preference, send me a call with the option to receive the survey over text. If I love email, send me an email. Collecting permissions and preferences should be the first step to implementing a survey; the second, should be using the data you already have to personalize the interaction - like name, date of last purchase, etc.

Implement a survey at the right time

Remember journey mapping? Well it’s a crucial thing to do when trying to determine the best survey time. If you know that your customers get your products delivered to them, for example, then why don’t you look into sending a survey upon delivery confirmation? Mapping out each interaction a customer has with you, can go a long way into making their lives easier, and improving their loyalty to you.

Implement the right kind of survey

There are many surveys to choose from (Transactional or Relationship Net Promoter Score, Customer Satisfaction, and Delivery to name few). They each have their benefits - so the best approach is to understand your goal, and then understand the different types of surveys and what they can offer - to best reach your goal.

Ask the right questions

With any survey, it is imperative to ask your customers questions that are short. In order for customer to even want to give you feedback, they need to know that it won’t take up much of their time. Survey questions need brevity and clarity in order to generate cohesive and actionable results - so make sure to eliminate any highfalutin language (like I just used) and make sure to have multiple people evaluate the questions you intend to ask, as different customer may understand each question a bit differently.

Act on the feedback in a demonstrable way

If you had a heart-to-heart with a friend who trusted you enough to tell you that they hate it when you interrupt them (or try to bombard them with solicitous content), wouldn’t you make an effort to stop doing that? If businesses ask for feedback and do not act on it, it is even worse than if you hadn’t have asked in the first place. Feedback generated from surveys should be acted upon with a scale of urgency depending on how negative the feedback is. For example, if your customers tell you that your online support chat is ineffective - it’s probably time to upgrade to a better support environment & provide multiple places that customers can find the answers they need.

Let you customers know that you made a change

You may rebut this statement by thinking, “if the customers don’t notice the change, doesn’t that mean it wasn’t a big deal to them in the first place?” but that doesn’t matter. The customer may have very well noticed, or they may not have. The point of reaching out is to let the customer know three things: 1) We asked for your advice because we care, 2) We listened to your feedback because we care, and 3) We made a change to improve your experience with us, based on your feedback, because we care.

While surveying & customer journey mapping are definitely important pieces to building a successful CX puzzle, all of that information and data will not mean a thing if you don’t create the surveys with follow-up processes and action in-mind. For more on how to improve your customer experience, contact us today!