3 Ways to Make Customer Surveys Worth Your Time and Theirs
Meeting customers’ expectations and making them happy with your products or services are key focuses for successful companies. One way to find out how happy your customers are is to utilize customer surveys. But if the customer surveys are confusing, take too long to fill out, or don’t provide information that your company can take action on, then no one — neither you nor your customer — will be really happy about them. Whether asking about your service, installation quality, or product satisfaction, by following these three tips, you can create high-quality, easy-to-use surveys that will make you — and the customers that take them — happy.
1. Make Surveys Simple
Successful surveys don’t have to be too elaborate — just focused on what you want to learn and simple for customers to take. Much simpler is much better, according to the experts. How simple can you be? Try one question. One of the most successful questions used on customer surveys, called Net Promoter Scoring (NPS), simply asks customers for a rating from 1-10. “NPS is a customer satisfaction metric originally put forward by Frederick F. Reichheld of Bain & Company in his 2003 article for the Harvard Business Review, ‘The One Number You Need to Grow” and then expanded on in his 2006 book, The Ultimate Question,” writes George Todd, general manager, Performance Development at Merchants, a United Kingdom based company.
To use NPS, you ask: “On a scale from 1 to 10, how likely would you be to recommend our product or service to a friend or colleague?” The customer responds with their score of 1-10.
Divide their answers into three groups:
Promoters (rating of 9-10)
Then, subtract the percentage of detractor responses from the percentage of promoters to create your company’s Net Promoter Score. That score allows you to gauge your company’s performance from week to week and month to month.
“The ability to gauge a customer’s satisfaction and loyalty by asking one question means it can be used more extensively…In fact, it can be used after every interaction a customer has with your company,” explains Todd.
Because it is one simple question, you can easily send customers an NPS survey via an email after every call or email they make to your company, after every installation or service call and more, gaining a real-time score of your customers’ level of satisfaction.
2. Get People to Respond!
A survey does no good if you don’t have responses. NPS surveys generally have high results, but if you are rolling out a longer survey, you can get people to respond by targeting the right audience. For example, spring is a key time to install snow melting and deicing systems. After all, the pain of this winter is still fresh. If you are doing a survey about why your customers have purchased a system to better focus your new marketing toward selling these systems, then it is critical to target the customers who have purchased the product. This will give you a better response rate and better data to use.
Tip: If you are not able to segment your list (or even if you are), use screening questions at the beginning of your survey to disqualify customers who the survey does not pertain to, suggests Sandy McKee on www.surveygizmo.com.
She also suggests that if you will be conducting multiple surveys (maybe for multiple products?) you can consider surveying only a portion of your customers to avoid “survey burn out.” Also, limit surveying your customers to no more than once every three months to further avoid that fatigue, a.k.a. no responses.
3. Nail the Timing
Experts stress that timing is key with customer surveys. Any touch point with customers is an opportunity to follow up and ask about their experience.
“Feedback response rates are higher and more accurate if the survey is administered within 24 hours of the interaction,” McKee says. Customers are more likely to answer your survey when their experience or interaction with your company is fresh. However, for product-related surveys, make sure you give customers time to use the product! A customer who has used a deicing or snow melting system through the winter will answer differently than one who had the system installed a week ago.
In addition to product-specific marketing research, you can utilize customer surveys when considering new product lines. Surveys can provide valuable data in determining customer demand for a specific product under consideration.
The best customer surveys are the ones that are simple, get people to respond, and are timed correctly. By careful planning and execution of these easy guidelines, you will achieve the best results. Armed with those survey results, you'll have better insight to guide you in successfully growing your company.