Walter Lash

Customer Surveys: How to Act on Your Customers’ Feedback

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Obtaining your customers opinions is an essential part of running your service organization. While it’s important to gauge their level of satisfaction or dissatisfaction, it’s also necessary to obtain their feedback on your products and identify their wants and needs. Only through this level of understanding, can you begin to create personal relationships with your customers and make the continuous improvements necessary to build long-term loyalty.

Interestingly, most businesses don’t regularly conduct surveys to better understand their customers. Much more focus is placed on sales and profit with far less concern over whether the customer is satisfied. Yet, at the end of the day, it’s all about customer satisfaction. Without happy customers, there are no sales and no profits.

Fortunately, there have never been more ways to integrate surveys into your customers’ interactions. Surveys can be conducted on nearly every communication channel that you offer from email and IVR to text, outbound voice and even instant message. For the best results, ask questions on the channels that your customers are most apt to use.

Focus on More Than the Numbers
Of course, customer feedback is only useful if it is insightful and can be used to make business decisions. This begins with asking the right questions. The most beneficial surveys include open-ended questions that enable customers to provide specific, actionable feedback. It’s easy to review ratings and evaluate scores. However, these numbers don’t provide any insight into customers’ rationale for their answers. By asking for your customers’ opinions, you can glean valuable details that can help you understand your customers’ decisions and behaviors.

Use NPS
The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a metric based on one simple question – How likely are you to recommend (company) to a friend or colleague? Respondents can answer from 0 (not likely at all) to 10 (extremely likely). Based on their answers, customers are categorized as promoters, passives or detractors. Many believe that an NPS score is closely aligned with levels of customer loyalty. The higher the NPS, the greater the loyalty. To maximize the true value of NPS, it’s important to use the number as a jumping off point for developing programs and strategies to improve it.

Delve into Customer Feedback
It’s a common mistake to review surveys and then file them without analysis. Results should be shared and reviewed by the entire service team. Take ample time to closely evaluate responses and consider opportunities for improvement. Keep a close watch out for trends that indicate common frustrations customers have, as well as areas where customers were delighted. Surveys shouldn’t be considered a mundane administrative task. Instead, it should be thought of as one of the most important tools used to sustain long-term success.

Develop a Culture That Promotes Honest Results
Do you tie bonuses or incentives to the results of customer satisfaction surveys? It’s likely that agents are feeling pressured to offer extras to customers or to outwardly pressure customers to give top marks on surveys. This skews results and doesn’t provide you with the insights you need to make smart decisions. The goal shouldn’t be on achieving perfect results. Rather, it should be to have the customer provide honest feedback about their experience.

Empower Employees
Low feedback scores are often a result of agents not being able to provide the service level that customers expect. This can be a result of a bad company policy, issues with contact center infrastructure, illogical routing decisions, or insufficient staffing or training. To meet customer expectations, agents need to be able to effectively do their jobs. Agents should also not fear reprisal for low survey scores that are reflective of issues that are beyond their control.

Don’t Live in Denial
Are your survey answers consistently not up to par. Many will be tempted to sweep them under the rug and continue on with business as usual. Yet, negative surveys are worth their weight in gold because they can highlight that improvements are necessary if you want to continue to grow your business and build customer loyalty. Embrace feedback, both positive and negative, and use it constructively.

Reach Out to Customers Post-Survey
Surveys also provide an opportunity to rectify a bad interaction or resolve a complaint. Consider proactively reaching out to customers who do take the time to complete surveys. This follow-up should happen as soon as possible to communicate your eagerness to right a wrong.

It’s a simple fact that the organizations that thrive are those that can achieve a consistent rate of happy customers. To keep customers happy on an ongoing basis, you need to understand them. This requires regular surveying to stay on top of customers’ feelings and opinions by benchmarking their level of satisfaction and loyalty.