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Want to be amazing at customer feedback surveys? Here’s how! – [Part 1]

Procuring customer feedback is not an easy task, yet it is one that is worth all your efforts. Organisations – around the world – with amazing customer experience and loyalty, all have one thing in common; they have nurtured a customer-centric culture throughout their company and open their doors to all sorts of feedback. After all as Sam Walton once said:

“There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.”

A customer feedback survey is the most efficient way to find out whether your customers are satisfied by their interaction with your company. However, today simply satisfying your customers isn’t enough. You have to go the extra mile and gain their loyalty. So you better get refueling as no longer is customer loyalty regarded as a competitive advantage; it must be part of the survival kit of your company. Ultimately your goal should be to find every way possible in which you can improve your product or service for your customer. Only then can you charm them into becoming invaluable brand advocates!

Jeffery Gitomer, a pioneer in customer loyalty, titled his book “Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless.” This timeless quote is one for all business leaders to remember. Mr. Gitomer believes that the best way to increase customer loyalty is by listening to your customers’ problems- and you can do that by capturing the voice of your customers. This is where your customer feedback form plays a vital role in your business.

In this post, I will take you through the steps involved in acquiring your customers’ feedback. You must first start with asking your customers for their feedback. Then the actual feedback form comes into play. After that, you must be prepared to analyse all the data and act upon it. Since the Net Promoter Score® is such an efficacious customer experience metric, it is what I will be using in most of my examples and explanations.


Ask for Feedback

There are so many ways through which you can ask for feedback. And today people abhor flipping the pen back and forth, forcing the ink down onto the monotonous feedback form. Why hurt the environment when you can efficiently use technology to gather feedback and collate it.

Some of the most popular and efficient ways to gather feedback is through email, website linking and on-call feedback. Additionally companies use SMS, social media and in-person surveys to collect the same. Your company should maintain such an omni-channel approach to obtaining feedback so that customers can provide it with ease. Don’t make it arduous for them to find a way to help you out!

Now since email is the most popular way to ask for feedback, I’ve made a simple annotated sample email that you can use to ask your customers for their email

The actual feedback

 The format of Net Promoter Score® survey would include the Ultimate Question which is “How likely is that you would recommend our company to your friends and family?” Followed by an open comment that the customer can fill in as to why he/she gave that score. Companies can include additional questions, however it may end up crowding the form, only to deter the customer from even glancing at the whole form. Hence follow these simple steps to create your feedback survey.

1. K.I.S.S.

Ever heard of the KISS principle? It stands for “Keep It Simple, Stupid.” Well, the same applies to the field of customer feedback. In this case, it would be ‘Keep It Short, Stupid.’ Ensure that the goal of your survey is succinctness. Find a way to control the number of questions on your feedback form and avoid redundant inclusions.

Furthermore, a research by Hubspot showed that eliminating one field in your feedback survey can increase your response rate by 50%. Now that’s something to think about

2. Ask relevant and smart questions. Include open-ended ones too

Do you like it when Lays or Doritos sells you half a bag of air with the chips? I honestly hate it! That’s why I love Pringles, they’re packaging design combined with their variety of flavours is what I find perfect. When creating your feedback form please avoid making it like a packet of Lays chips, rather emulate Pringles.

Get rid of the unnecessary jargon and get to the point with your questions. Furthermore, don’t ask customers questions that you don’t need the answer to. The more relevant you keep it, the easier it will be for you to compile all the data and create a visual out of it.

Do include open-ended questions or multiple choice questions as that allows customers to get a little more specific about what issues they are facing. Nonetheless, nothing is more intimidating than a large text box connected to the first question. It is best to ask a series of questions that follow a certain order and then finally ask the customers (who got to the end) to elaborate on their thoughts.

3. Maintain consistent rating scales

There are two things to focus on when making rating scales:

I recently encountered a feedback form in which, initially I was asked questions with scales from 1 to 5; 1 being ‘strongly disagree’ and 5 being ‘strongly agree.’ After I got to the sixth question (too long for a feedback form!) the question style changed and I was asked to rate the importance of certain features of the service. This time 1 was ‘most important’ and 5 was ‘least important.’ I found it extremely confusing as my mind had calibrated the number 5 to the most agreeable answer.

Now when including rating scales, for the sake of your company’s quarterly profit statements, don’t switch the scales from a 1-7 in one question to a 1-10 in another question. OK, I agree that it may be easier to define each number with specific scales, but that only confuses the person filling in the feedback form. They simply won’t want to see the end of the form, that you spent so much time designing.

4. Be timely!

A study has shown that Tuesday, Friday, and Monday (in descending order) are the days when the open and click-through rate is highest. Although there isn’t much difference in the quality of the feedback gathered you should formulate when you want your loyal customers to take the survey and then send it out to the rest. Maybe send it out to the two groups, one at the beginning of the week and one at the end; and observe the highest open rates. Additionally, you can assess the quality of the feedback too.

Download: A Purist’s Guide to NPS® Survey Design

NPS Survey Guide

So you have all the customers’ feedback in hand, you may ask yourself, “Now what?” Well, you’re on the right track. Never let that goldmine of feedback sit idle. Always be prepared to act upon that feedback. Look out for tomorrow’s blog where I discuss how you can collate and organise your feedback to make it actionable!

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