It’s about time you sent out a Customer Satisfaction Survey

“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” – Bill Gates

You are reading: It’s about time you sent out a Customer Satisfaction Survey

I love a story, and I love an anecdote. And because of that, when I’m invited to blog for Browser Media, I always try to write about how I’m helping my clients with their inbound marketing activities, and draw on my experiences and learnings when I come across something new/exciting/particularly good.

This week, I uploaded a client’s old paper-based customer satisfaction survey to their website so they can start sending it out digitally. Is that new? Well, it’s new for them. Is it exciting? Probably for the person that was previously tasked with deciphering handwritten responses that came through the post. Is it particularly good? I certainly think it will be.

Measure customer satisfaction with a Customer Satisfaction Survey

According to Live Chat’s Customer Service Report 2018, average customer satisfaction dropped in 2017 by almost 3% compared to 2016. Yikes. So, what can you be doing to ensure your business is going against that trend? You need to be constantly measuring customer satisfaction, gauging if your customers are satisfied, and doing something about it when they aren’t.

When you break it down, it’s only logical to make measuring customer satisfaction part of your overall customer success strategy:

Brand Awareness
Customer Onboarding
Value Realisation

… somewhere around those Onboarding/Value Realisation stages; that’s where we’re looking to measure customer satisfaction. You’ll get the customer insight you need, it’s a natural way to create another touch point with your customer, and they’ll get a chance to vent if they’ve experienced friction at any time while they’ve been dealing with you.

My service-based client sends out its survey after the customer has finished using the service. It’s done with a view to learning what the customer liked about the service, and also what they felt could be improved. It should go without saying, although I will say it anyway, that if you aren’t willing to take criticism on board, and consider making a change in your business as a result of customer satisfaction survey responses, there is no point in collecting it. Doing this properly requires resource.

Before you start sending out your Customer Satisfaction Surveys

Firstly, you should accept that if you’re doing this properly, it isn’t going to be some ego-stroking exercise. There will be a percentage of your customers who have not had a good experience, and you need to be ready to hear that.

Secondly, you should think of this as providing customers who have not had a good experience, a platform to complain. And, if they have that outlet, it might stop them from complaining to their friends. Especially for SMEs, word-of-mouth can make-or-break a business.

Designing your Customer Satisfaction Surveys

Carefully decide what you’re asking your customers, and think about why you’re asking it. Then it’s time to decide how. For this, there are several types of questioning:

Binary Scale Questions

A question that has only one answer, in other words, a Yes/No style question like “Was your experience satisfying?”. So long as there aren’t loads of them, these sorts of questions keep a survey short (which reduces survey fatigue), require minimal thinking from the customer, and are easy to analyse.

Multiple Choice Questions

In a similar style, if the customer can only provide one answer, these types of questions have the same sorts of benefits.

Scale Questions

This is a popular style of question, which means your customers will be very familiar with the format. You can aggregate responses to give an overall score, and you can segment or bracket customer responses. You can use a numbered scale (1-10), or a marked/unmarked semantic differential scale:

semantic scales - browser media

With me so far? Good. The problem with these types of questions is the lack of qualitative data they provide. That is, you’ve got the what, but not the why.

Open-Ended Questions

Instead of guessing why your customer was “Very Dissatisfied” with your service, you can pair a binary scale question with an open-ended one and outright ask them to give reasons for their choice. This could help reveal fundamental flaws in your business, and will show you what your customers think is important.

Successful Customer Satisfaction Surveys rely on good timing

Make sure you strike while the iron’s hot. Wait too long to send a survey, and you risk your customer forgetting what their dealings with you were like. They will either not respond to your survey at all, or they’ll provide unreliable feedback, which is worse than useless as it’ll skew results.

If you receive a completed survey, you should take the time to thank the customer. If that feedback’s good, maybe you could request a testimonial from them. If the feedback’s bad, then this is your chance to make things right. If you’ve designed your survey correctly, you’ve probably got a good idea of what’s ticked your customer off, but you should acknowledge what they’ve said, offer them a fix, and let them know it’s something you’re working on… and then actually work on it. If you’ve gone to this much effort to create a truly valuable customer satisfaction survey, you deserve to have it make an impact on your business!

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