When it comes to finding out how your customers think and feel about your business, nothing works better than asking them. Surveys remain one of the most important tools to ensure the ongoing success of your business, which is reflected in the findings of CCW Digital’s Contact Center Priorities for 2018: The feedback survey was the #2 customer intelligence focus, with 63 percent of businesses listing it as a priority. The latest trend in assessing customer satisfaction is the IVR-based post-call survey that enables customers to grade their experiences while they are still fresh in their minds; related survey tools can instantly send an alert to a contact center or quality assurance manager when a poor rating is given. This provides the opportunity to call the customer back to correct the problem and restore loyalty and trust.
Surveys, however, can be tricky. If you don’t put adequate thought into planning even a short survey, you won’t get the results you need — or the results won’t actually reflect what they seem to because your respondents didn’t understand the questions. Here are some tips to designing an automated phone survey that will get solid results.
Understand Your Purpose
You want your survey to help uncover the emotional and psychological factors that impact your customers’ behavior. On the other hand, it’s usually recommended to keep an IVR survey to 2-3 minutes so as to collect enough information to be useful but still hold the respondents’ interest. To keep your survey focused, answer the big questions: What is the purpose of this survey? What do we hope to learn? What decisions will we make with the data collected? And finally, who exactly is going to be taking this survey?
Be Crystal Clear
A concise topic will keep your survey focused and will yield results that can be clearly interpreted. As a next step, carefully defining the key words around your topic will help you design questions that are most relevant and will maximize the chances of getting results that actually contribute to the information you’re seeking. For example, how are you defining issue resolution, or an adequate level of customer satisfaction?
Ask Simple, Meaningful Questions
Rating and scores are a good first step, but they don’t provide any insight into the reasons for your customers’ answers. By asking for their opinions, you get valuable details that can help you understand their actions – but you don’t want your questions to “lead” your respondents toward the most desirable responses, so write factual questions in unbiased language. Present your questions in an order that makes sense to respondents, from general to more specific. Keep your words simple, and make sure each question asks ONLY one question (pro tip: Watch your use of the words “and” and “or” inside survey questions, as those simple little conjunctions can indicate you may be asking more than one question at a time.)
Be Careful with Numbers
Automated phone surveys often use questions with ordered alternatives to collect more complex answers beyond just yes or no – for instance, “press zero for none, one for once, two for twice, three for three times, four for four times, five for more than four times, and six if you’re not sure.” These ordered answers go from low to high in logical order and will provide more robust data with limited confusion.
In addition, keep in mind some common issues that are regularly seen in surveys:
- Respondents are sometimes prone to choosing the middle, “no response” response on a survey with odd-numbered options. To encourage them to come down on one side or the other of a question, present an even number of responses.
- Respondents commonly avoid the extremes on either end of a scale (unless they’re trying to convey a real depth of feeling). For IVR-based surveys, a nine-point scale has been recommended because it uses all the single digits available and offers a wide variety of options, thereby optimizing the survey’s response set.
The After Party: A Few Quick Points
So you ran your survey and collected the relevant data. Now what?
- Allow whatever time is needed to carefully evaluate responses and determine any opportunities for improvement. Remember that negative feedback can be even more useful than positive, and use all feedback constructively.
- While you’re at it, evaluate your survey process. Did you receive any indications that your survey delivery, structure, or the questions in it need fine-tuning?
- Proactively reach out to your customers who took the time to complete the survey. This follow-up should happen as soon as possible so you can either address any issues or give them your thanks for their participation and perhaps offer additional ways to be involved with your brand.
- Remember that survey responses can fluctuate depending on service challenges, respondents’ moods, and countless other variables; further, not everyone is going to respond to a survey the first time it is offered. So, if you haven’t already, consider creating a system to survey your customers on a consistent basis and particularly after any campaigns or buying cycles. The key is to gather data that can be compared to past results in order to identify trends as well as events that impact your results.