By Gary Schwartz, senior vice president of marketing at Confirmit, a leading SaaS vendor of customer feedback, employee feedback and market research applications.
Building a customer survey might initially sound like a daunting task but it doesn’t have to be that way.
There are certain factors that should always be taken into account that will help to ensure that the end result is high user response rates and insightful feedback.
1. Map the questions you ask to your business objectives.
There is no point in asking people for their feedback or opinions if you are not going to make use of the results.
2. Keep questionnaire length reasonable.
What is reasonable will depend on the channel over which the response is requested (i.e., shorter for IVR than for Web). It will also depend on the purpose of the survey. Set expectations at the start of the survey – e.g., “This survey will take no more than x minutes” – and stick to them.
3. Ask only what is relevant to the context in which you have asked the question.
If you are asking a customer for feedback about their interaction with your contact centre agents, don’t ask about their experience with your website. (Ask about the website while they are still on it.)
4. Try to understand the drivers behind questions related to satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy.
For example, in your call centre, does the amount of time it takes to get to a live person correlate to satisfaction as closely as whether a customer’s problem is resolved on the first contact?
5. Import key customer metrics from your CRM system into your surveys.
Hide that information from your customers during the survey but when you report on the data, use information about segmentation to better understand the key issues of your high-value customers. This will enable you to correlate satisfaction with revenue.
6. Personalise the invitation to provide feedback.
You are much more likely to get a response if you stand out from the “please help us to help you” crowd. Within the personalisation, add proper context (without appearing too “Big Brother”-ish). This means telling your customer why you are asking for their feedback, so they can relate your request to a specific interaction with you.
7. Ask as soon as practical after the customer’s interaction with your business.
In some cases that means waiting a day (but no more) after they have spoken to your agent. In others it means asking them before the call if they are willing to stay on afterwards to provide feedback directly via an IVR interface.
8. Set up a workflow to effectively manage response to individual customers’ feedback.
You will need to re-contact some immediately, and decide that others can wait. A system that alerts members of staff immediately upon receipt of feedback and then allows them to prioritise their response is the best way to manage this.
9. Deliver aggregate data in an efficient manner to those who need to see it.
This may require providing a limited view of the data, depending on where the business user sits in the organisational hierarchy. For example, the CEO should have global access to data, while regional managers should see data only within their region.
10. Feedback on the feedback.
Tell people what you have done with their responses to your questions. There is no more powerful incentive than knowing that the time spent responding to a survey was well worth it, and that one’s voice was heard.
It only remains to say that it is important to tell your employees about your customer feedback program from the outset. If employees understand what you are trying to achieve, they will not fear feedback.
If feedback is used to help them improve their performance (and their pay), they will positively look forward to it.
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