Satisfied customers are the key to staying in business for the long haul. Any business today that does not keep a continual discussion going with their customers is headed for disaster.
The big question is: Why do you want feedback from your customers?
Seems like an obvious questions, but this is the first and biggest questions you NEED to ask yourself before conducting any sort of survey to send to your customers.
The answer to this questions will help to determine what questions you will ask, who you will ask them to, how you will reach your audience and, ultimately, what you will do with the results.
Some examples of why it is important to conduct customer surveys:
- Choosing Your Audience
- Show you are interested in your customers
- Increase sales and profits
- Improve customer service & relations
- Customer retention
- Gain competitive edge to business
- Improve customer complain procedures
- Target areas of growth or development
When it comes to getting feedback from your customers, you need to know how many responses you need to collect. To determine the number of responses you will need is based on your population size (total number of people you could potentially reach)
Remember, you are not going to send out your survey to every single one of your customers. You need to think about which of your customers you are best to send your questions to and who will give you the most informative and potentially useful responses.
For example, if you are conducting your survey to find out what people think of your new store, you will only want to focus on customer who have visited the store, or perhaps those who live within a certain radius of the store.
You are best to segment your customer list to only include relevant customers. But, if you cannot segment your audience, you can always try conducting a pre-survey, or “targeting survey”, to help you with collecting your target audience. This is where you would create a mini survey of just 3-5 questions to send out which will help you to filter out your target audience for your main survey.
When And How Often?
As a business, you should always be on the lookout for good opportunities to get your customers’ opinions and improve your business. However, you don’t want to fall into the trap of constantly asking your customers for feedback too often.
If you are constantly asking your customers to fill in a survey, you are at risk of causing “survey fatigue”, which is when customers no longer feel the push to fill in your surveys due to the high frequency of seeing your survey requests. Therefore, you should not survey your customers more than once every three months.
Some good times to ask your customers for feedback on the service they received would be 24 hours after interaction with your company.
If you are looking for feedback on a product that has been purchased should be at least 3-5 days later to give them time to try it out before giving you their opinion on it.
Customers are playing a key role in building brand reputations nowadays, so let your respondents know what you’ve learned and what actions you’ll be taking as a result.
You want your customers to believe they are helping a cause and that their feedback will result in real improvements in service, customer satisfaction and products standards. Let them know how you want to improve your customers’ experience.
If you make your customers’ opinions feel valued and taken into consideration, they are far more likely to participate on any other surveys presented to them by you in the future.
Whilst incentives can contribute towards increasing survey participation, incentives are not necessarily needed when it comes to customer feedback. By including an incentive with a customer feedback survey, your respondents are less likely to provide negative feedback if think it will affect chances of getting incentive.
Businesses need negative feedback to improve and promote positive change in your business, so allow room for customers to give negative feedback as this is far more useful than positive feedback.
There are many different ways to present your survey to your customers. Here are a few for you to consider:
• Send your survey via email or e-newsletter
• Request feedback at end of online order confirmation
• Add survey to your website
• Include your survey link on physical receipts
• Social Media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest etc)
• Pay Per Click (PPC) or banner advertising on website
Claire A Morgan is the business development director at http://Obsurvey.com, a tool that allows any business or researcher to create their own surveys, analyze the results and share them on social media.