Blaming sluggish sales or a poorly received product on an ill-turn of luck or a general market malaise relegates it to the "Oh well, we can't do anything about that" category. When that happens, the situation is not going to improve on its own. Instead, what you need is to connect with your customers to find out what is really going on, and then use that information to make improvements your service.
With a little help from online surveys and forms, you can streamline every step of the customer experience, from first-touch to ordering to follow up customer satisfaction surveys.
1. Capturing Customer Feedback Face-to-Face
Practical one-on-one interaction with your customers provides first class feedback and actionable information.
Take this exchange for example:
"Hi. The ice-machine next to 813 doesn't seem to be working."
"Oh, I'm sorry about that. I'll have a technician come up to look at that as soon as possible. In the meantime, it might be helpful to know that there are two ice-machines on all the even numbered floors of the hotel at opposite ends, near the stairwells. So you can go up or down two floors, or use the one at the opposite end of the building."
"Hey, great! That's good to know."
"My pleasure. Is there anything else I can help you with?"
Unfortunately, though you've dealt with the problem, and you've now got a satisfied customer, that isn't going to please all the people from the seventh or ninth floor that used the stairs to get to a non-functional machine. And if this example-machine is a chronic problem, without an adequate feedback mechanism, you'll have an invisible parade of people that rate you lower in reviews and casual encounters with other people, thus diminishing your reputation. This is true in every business model.
An important, often forgotten step is that customer feedback should be logged so that trends can be tracked by managers. Don't lose this valuable input! Employees who have face-to-face contact with customers should have access to an internal survey that logs important feedback given in these interactions.
That said, don’t expect direct interaction to give you all of the information you need, because many people either either won't speak up or won't tell you exactly what they mean. Support face-to-face feedback with surveys throughout the process.
2. Online Surveys That Reach Every Customer
In the case of the temperamental ice machines, the maintenance person knows that they have to push a reset button. But visitors don’t know that,and many won’t bother to report that the machine doesn't work. In fact, just 4% of customers tell a company they are dissatisfied with their service, experience, or purchase. This means just one out of every 25 customers will tell you that they are dissatisfied. A recurring issue will upset dozens,or perhaps hundreds of people before management ever identifies it as an issue.
When you survey your customers at the end of their experience, even when a human being is reviewing every single survey response, this pattern still might not be evident. Survey software can help. By using open text analysis, online surveys can isolate repetitive key phrases that identify problems.
There are many opportunities for surveying along the sales funnel. Read Survey Questions for Leads Throughout the Sales Process to find out more.
3. How to Make Exit Intent Surveys Work for You
When someone visits your website for the first time (identified by a unique IP address) this is a survey opportunity. Using a pop-up, you could say "We're interested in your opinion! Would you like to answer a quick two-question survey at the end of your visit?" It should have two clickable buttons, one of which says "Sure!" and the other reading "No thanks".
The reasoning behind this is simple: most people like to offer their opinion, especially if you make it quick and easy for them. A minute of their time can result in big insights for you.
If they agree, you can open a pop-under window or exit intent survey, which only appears when a visitor clicks to leave your site. You'll get really good data because everything is fresh in their minds.
This kind of brief survey is best as the last interaction with your customers as they leave your site, so they don’t get distracted from the goal of their visit. (Which is, hopefully, to place an order.)
4. How to Get the Most From Net Promoter Score (NPS)
The sort of brief survey mentioned above is always best as your last interaction with the customer. In this instance the customers get to place themselves somewhere on the scale of 0–10.
Those ranking themselves as 9 or 10 are active promoters of your product or service. They often volunteer information about your service without even being asked. Those scoring 7–8 are passives that may look at you in a positive light, but probably won't volunteer that information unless actively prodded. They are ignored in this calculation. Any clients marking themselves 6 or less are considered detractors and will steer people away from your brand.
If 60% of your customers regard themselves as a 9 or 10, and another 30% rate themselves between 7 and 8 (ignored), that leaves just 10% that don't really like you. Subtracting 10% from 60% leaves 50, which is your Net Promoter Score. As you can see, the NPS can range from –100 to +100. If you can maintain +50 you are considered to be doing extremely well. NPS averages vary widely depending on industry, but in many cases anything above a 20 is a good score.
This is a long-term metric. It is valuable by itself, but over time you might see it evolve upwards or downwards as your business and your customers’ needs evolve. In any industry, those with the highest NPS are generally the industry leaders—the ones everybody else emulates.
NPS questions can be used in an exit intent, or emailed to customers after they’ve interacted with customer service or made a new purchase.
5. Order Forms (Powered by Surveys)
Like the above, once your customer has completed a purchase, this is a great time to get feedback. Again, their reactions are at the forefront of their thoughts, but more importantly, if they had any difficulties during the ordering process they can relay them clearly.
You can use forms within SurveyGizmo, combined with a Stripe integration to process credit card transactions, to capture order information and feedback on the ordering process... all on the same page.
If you ask them an hour later via email, they might say, "I don't know… it just didn't seem to work very well."
To get the best data, ask immediately by incorporating an optional comments field in your existing order form. This way, you’ll get answers like: "It was hard to change the quantity. I had to go back two pages and when I came back, data was missing that I had filled in before."
The second example you can deal with and fix. The first example is meaningless and leaves you with an unhappy customer. Speed is of the essence with feedback.
6. Collecting Customer Satisfaction With Surveys
- I am satisfied with my customer service experiences so far;
- Your products fulfill my needs;
- Your prices are very competitive… etc.,
Each statement will be accompanied by a multiple choice Likert Scale ranging from Very Dissatisfied to Very Satisfied (or similar). This question type is fast and easy, so respondents can do it quickly and then be on their way.
It never hurts to provide an opportunity for customers to express themselves. Consider including an optional open text section to follow your selection of questions, but again, be clever and avoid annoyance.
7. Online Warrantees and Product Feedback Forms
If you happen to sell a tangible product, in the old days we used to include a postage-paid card, ostensibly to register the warranty. In fact, most were printed with lots of little check boxes, so people could provide feedback about the product they just purchased, answer questions about other products they owned, and things they were considering purchasing in the future.
Now, it's simpler than ever. All we need to do is provide an URL, and new customers can register their product for warranty while answering a quick survey.
The Takeaway: Surveys Streamline Your Process
Online surveys, especially when powered with survey logic and third party integrations, can accomplish a number of purposes that you might ordinarily not consider, and help to support your customers at every point in their purchasing journey. Well designed surveys can take a customer from the point of placing their online order, connect them to a billing solution, then issue a confirmation by e-mail to the customer and forward the order to the fulfillment department. Not to mention automated follow up customer and product satisfaction emails.
Streamlining your process in this manner not only saves you time and effort, but also makes a customer feel valued. It all depends on your imagination. The information you collect will give you important insights into what your customers really want and concrete ways you can improve.