When was the last time you received an email asking for feedback? Or perhaps instead, the last time you were given a receipt with a “quick feedback request online”? Now ask yourself, when was the last time you truly took the time to fill out that survey?
As a consumer, I am sure you are aware that customers are constantly being flooded with these types of requests. So much so that it is often difficult to get the type of feedback that businesses need in order to improve and maintain their desired level of success. However, it is no secret that this information is priceless to the integrity of a brand or business. With that being said, there are ways to increase the number of feedback requests you receive; not to mention the amount of detail and accuracy of the feedback as well.
Ask the Questions No One Else Will
Questions like, “Would you recommend us to a friend” or “How would you rate your service” are not really giving an accurate representation of what your customer is feeling. Set yourself up to receive the most beneficial feedback possible. A survey does not have to be 50 questions long. It just needs to include the questions that matter. Data shows surveys that take longer than 15 minutes to complete are much less likely to be finished.
Another point to be aware of is assuming anything of your customers. Many surveys ask questions like “How satisfied are you with your service today?”, which assumes the person had a positive experience. While we would hope that everyone has an enjoyable time, unfortunately it is not always the case. Allowing the customer to tell you what their full opinions are will give you truer answers that can be precious to a business looking to improve.
Direct and meaningful questions such as, “What (if anything) would you miss if you could not shop with us anymore?” or “How exactly would you describe us to a friend (using exact verbiage)?” demand candor from the customer answering the survey. This type of feedback might not always be the easiest to hear, but it will undoubtedly put you on the path towards improvement.
If you would like to read more about how to avoid making some of the most common mistakes when writing surveys, kindly head over to this article which we have written a couple of weeks ago.
Find a System That Works With Your Vision
Customer feedback does not always have to be conducted in a survey. Many companies prefer other methods of contact including: mystery shoppers, email correspondence, or even a direct phone call.
Come up with some plans for measuring and storing customer feedback that fit your brand and/or the particular campaign that you are planning. There are also several software tools that help you measure customer experience, should you prefer to undertake that strategy.
Taking the time to make your campaign unique and enticing is half the battle when it comes to receiving a plethora of feedback.
Pros and Cons:
- Mystery Shoppers: Although mystery shoppers are not apt to tell a falsehood on their experience, there is a slight change that a person may be inclined to exaggerate or be overly critical for the sake of honest feedback. However, this is not always a negative aspect because even the smallest of details may need attention. Mystery shoppers can provide some otherwise untapped insight into the mind of a shopper and their view of your entire customer service department. They can also give detailed feedback about the product(s) you are selling, which basically provides a win-win scenario on all accounts.
- Email: This option can be much less expensive than other options, such as mystery shoppers. However, the amount of actual feedback received and the detail included in your feedback could be quite limited. Unfortunately, most customers that receive random email surveys and marketing materials discard them for spam because this is such a popular outreach technique. Email should not be discarded though. When used to send out updates about company changes, sales, events etc. email is a great way to get crucial information to your customers.
- Phone Call: In some instances, especially for smaller businesses, this may actually be a preferred method of contact. Calling a customer directly provides a sense of care and closeness to the company that no other method can provide. Yet, cold calling customers can supply an entirely different scenario. If this method is used, connecting with the customer on a personal level is extremely important. Otherwise, the customer may feel like they are being sold or swindled on something they do not need.
- Mobile Surveys: It should not come as a shock to say that most customers use smartphones of some kind. As such, mobile surveys provide a quick and easy way to receive feedback even when customers are on the go. They also allow customers to send media like voice recordings, pictures, and video directly from their smartphone device. However, lengthier questionnaires can appear quite unappealing to the person looking to answer a few questions on the run. In addition, business owners will have to take into consideration the fact that their survey will need to be view-able on many different types of smartphone devices.
Always Set the Bar Higher Than When You Started
Asking the same questions will result in the same types of responses. Your customer feedback request should evolve as your brand and customer service does. There are some effective ways to fine tune your customer surveys once you get started.
First, all bases should be covered. Is every aspect of your brand being assessed? Surveys should encompass every level of the company from one employee or one branch to the entire brand as a whole. If the customer cannot evaluate every section of the business, the questions may need to be altered in order to do so.
Next, check in with everyone behind the brand. Is everyone in the company receiving the type of feedback necessary to become successful and/or better the brand entirely? Each branch of a brand may offer insight as to what type of feedback would be helpful in order to make their individual sector run as smoothly as possible.
Finally, after refining your feedback process and providing follow up to each area of the branch, set goals for the next go around. A prosperous brand’s work is never done. It should be the goal of every department to accept feedback and strive for a higher level of excellence consistently.
If you want to receive a realistic picture of your customer’s experience, first understand who you are as a brand and what type of feedback you want to receive (and furthermore which method of contact will garner your desired results).
Finding your brand’s “personality” in a sea of consumerism is not easy, but it is the best way to genuinely win over your customer’s loyalty. A unique, specialized and personalized company will receive higher quality feedback than those who generically follow the example their predecessors in order to receive the highest profit.
As a result of the previous statement, it is also a regrettable truth that many customer’s interests are lost in the growth of a brand. The company no longer shares the type of detail and candor that they once did. When a company is making money hand over fist, it will often assume that customer feedback is no longer necessary. For this reason, when a customer finds a company that is sincere, honest, and transparent they will without question understand that they have found a brand worth their respect, time, and loyalty.
(Lead image source: jarmoluk – Creative Commons)