How do you optimize customer success?
Leveraging customer experience by way of a survey can be a tricky business. While it is critical to have a fixed set of questions to trigger desired responses from your target group, it is equally important to know what to avoid asking.
A customer survey is one the most direct and important sources of feedback on your products and services. Cluttering your report with unnecessary information may lead to inaccurate and misleading data, which could unwittingly get employed into company strategy, leading to undesired outcomes. A ticketing system also plays an important role in customer success
The following are a few strategies toward building an effective customer survey to gather reliable information that helps draw an accurate picture of overall customer experience:
- Define your goals explicitly.
Know what you are looking for. Regardless of whether the purpose of the survey measures customer success and loyalty; or gauging market trends prior to product launch, defining clear-cut objectives beforehand gives your project momentum and a focused direction. Prepare essential questions that will help you mine vital information. Visualize, and try to knit together a coherent narrative( making sense of the noise), which you can later use to render actionable company strategy.
- Be transparent, frank and forthright.
It helps if you are upfront about the motive of the survey. Do not beat around the bush. Use an introductory passage to inform about the kind of information you hope to garner from the survey. Educate them about the way in which this information will be used. Declaring your intent openly puts them at ease with regard to sharing personal information. Also, the chances are that you’ll set them up to be more receptive and patient toward the questions that follow next.
- Timing is everything. (Strike while the iron is still hot)
It is widely believed that most people are approachable for surveys at the beginning of a week, i.e. Monday-Tuesday, and on weekends, i.e. Saturday and Sunday. To leverage the best responses, the survey should ideally be presented to them during this period, and for best results, soon after they’ve availed a service or directly engaged with a said product. Our memory, as we all know, is fallible. People seldom recall past experiences with total accuracy. More often than not, they’re colored with individual prejudices, their respective moods, level of exhaustion etc. Several factors are at work when people are asked to make decisions, so it works best if you can get them to respond while the customer experience is still fresh in their minds. This will significantly improve the accuracy and consistency of the collected data.
- Keep it simple. Brevity is key.
Be precise and succinct with your language. Always remember, the respondent is not obliged to take this survey, so if s/he has taken the time to sit down and sincerely answer a set of questions; acknowledge, appreciate and respect that fact. Do not dazzle or intimidate them with fancy industry jargon. If there is a simpler way to put forth a particular question, use it instead. Deal with one question at a time; avoid squeezing too many ideas into one question, so as not to confuse the responder and help keep their answers short and crisp.
- Avoid confrontational questions that demand politically incorrect answers.
Make sure you sound empathetic while framing tricky questions. Be general with them, do not get personal or blatant. Leave out questions that challenge people’s belief systems, their ethnicity or lifestyle choices directly. Steer clear from posing questions that test their moral bent. Generally, most people tend to get evasive when confronted with a behavioral choice question involving an ethical quandary. Only retain questions that are absolutely necessary.
- Be frugal with your open-ended questions.
Although you can use open-ended questions to gain in-depth insights on how your customer is thinking or feeling, it can also backfire if you use too many of them while preparing your questionnaire. Know when to slip them in, the time it well. You can use close-ended questions to set the pace, while using open-ended, free-form text responses to discern customer concerns. Boosting customer success depends largely on the quality of the responses you amass.
- The medium is the message.
The effectiveness of your survey depends on using the right medium to target your group. If you want to gather a group of millennials for a survey, it is best to take to Twitter or Facebook. However, you are working with young professional, 30-somethings, email would be the preferred mode of communication. For retirees and pensioners, old-school telephony is the best way to go. Choosing the right medium, therefore, can be a crucial determinant of user participation.
- Assume nothing.
Prepare for an unprejudiced set of response options. Provide an equal number of positive and negative alternatives to choose from. Offer a reasonable number of response choices. When using a 5-point rating scale does the job, why offer them 10-point options? On balance, what on earth is a rating 6? Don’t complicate things unnecessarily.
- Take feedback positively.
Always make sure you thank each and every candidate for taking the survey. Let them know that their opinion matters. Acknowledge and respond to customer grievances and negative feedback with urgency. Make sure you individually thank every respondent. Offer them freebies if your budget allows for it. This practice will help encourage loyalty, boost advocacy and promote customer success.