One of the best ways to better love your customers is to solicit their feedback on their experience and your business. This allows them to feel appreciated and be heard. This is an important part of nurturing the relationship. I routinely do this by using customer satisfaction surveys.
Using surveys allow your customers the opportunity to easily provide anonymous and candid feedback on your service, processes, products and their experience as a whole. It is through the use of surveys and customers candid feedback that you can identify areas for improvement. It also shows you the areas where you perform well and what you should continue.
The goal is to ask specific questions to identify and clarify areas for you to improve. Your survey should focus on a specific area. These areas can be about a specific service or product, communication, features, delivery, onboarding, etc.
- Ask questions which can be quantified so you can grasp an understanding of the large picture. Scales of 1-10 provide the best range between extremes. A larger scale can easily be converted to percentages when quantifying business decisions.
- Use multiple-choice questions. It makes it easier for the respondent to complete the survey. It also allows you to identify patterns and easily make decisions with the feedback.
- When you need additional detail, ask open-ended questions. This allows respondents to clarify and expand why they chose an answer. Details are helpful in providing context.
- Refrain from asking questions that lead with a bias. Questions with bias lead the respondent to answer in a specific way instead of a freely. Bias is most commonly used when someone wants an answer that is in their favor.
Depending on the length of relationship, surveys can be sent at multiple touchpoints. If the purchase cycle is short (retail) you could send a survey within 24 hours of delivery. However, if the purchase cycle is longer (service) you could send a survey after onboarding, at the midpoint of service, and after final delivery. When the purchase cycle is longer or ongoing (subscription or retainers) it is crucial to have a constant pulse on the client’s experience, than deal with a surprise blow up.
Now that you have gathered feedback using a customer satisfaction survey, what do you do with the answers? This all depends on what the specific goal was of your customer satisfaction survey. However, when you read through the answers and review the data, you can use the answers to:
- Refine processes throughout your business (onboarding, delivery, offboarding)
- Refine services (features, benefits, pricing, scope of work included)
- Tweak products (features, benefits, quality, pricing)
Once you have compiled the information, create a plan to execute the changes you will make. Be proactive, share an overview of the feedback you received with your clients and what changes you are making, how, and when. You can share this information with existing clients this strengthens trust with your clients to show you hear them.
Also consider how you can share information publicly as part of your marketing strategy. As part of your marketing strategy, it lets potential customers know how much you value customer feedback and use it to better serve them.
My favorite tool for creating surveys is Survey Monkey. They offer a free plan so you can easily get started. It allows you to ask up to 10 questions in various formats. Survey Monkey integrates with multiple platforms which makes it convenient for gathering responses.
The best part is it has an existing database of vetted questions for various industries and types of feedback. This makes it easier to ask the right questions to fit your business objective and survey goal.
When in doubt, ask more specific questions instead of one general question.
I HIGHLY encourage you to read feedback with an open mind. It is easy to become defensive because our businesses are our babies. However, if you are not able to accept constructive and at times harsh feedback you will miss out on opportunities to grow and better serve your customers. If something stings, sleep on it. Creating space can allow you to come back and look at it with a fresh perspective.
When a customer says they are not satisfied or happy instead of defending yourself, ask why? Staying curious and trying to understand their perspective will allow you to better love your customers and improve the experience not only for them but for future customers.
Stay balanced and know what feedback applies and does not apply to your business. Feedback will be well intentioned and meaningful but not everything will align with your business model or vision. Sometimes the feedback is helpful, but the timing is off at this stage of your business. There are many times where I received feedback and did not implement. However, as my business grew I could take that feedback and implement later.
CONTINUE THE CONVERSATION
- What areas of your business do you want customer feedback on?
- What questions would you ask?
- What tip stood out for you as a business owner?
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