How Do Your Customers Feel?
One of the best ways to measure customer satisfaction is to get feedback from your customers to find out how they feel about your business. But many business owners are unsure about the best ways to go about gathering customer feedback.
Depending on the size and type of your business, it might be possible to simply ask your customers for their feedback. If yours is a retail business, for example, you and your employees can ask customers for feedback when interacting with them at the point of sale. One of the benefits of this strategy is that it can be very casual and informal and it doesn’t take up much of your customers’ time.
For example, you could ask customers questions like:
- How easy was it to find what you were looking for?
- Were the employees you interacted with friendly and helpful?
- Is our store a comfortable and inviting place for you to shop?
- Do you feel like you receive value when purchasing items from our business?
There are a few drawbacks to this strategy, however. For example, some customers might not feel comfortable giving you negative feedback in a face-to-face setting. Being prepared to receive — in fact, welcoming — complaints is critical in order to make changes based on this feedback.
Another drawback is that it can be hard to quantify feedback that’s gathered in this way. If you and your employees don’t capture the feedback right away — for example, by writing it down and entering into some sort of database — it might be lost forever. Also, there’s only so much feedback that can be gathered during a brief conversation between a customer and cashier or salesperson.
Using Customer Satisfaction Surveys
Often, a better way to get useful customer feedback is to send out a customer satisfaction survey. This strategy offers several advantages over asking customers for feedback face to face.
For example, it makes it easier for customers to answer questions truthfully, which is especially important if they have complaints they wouldn’t be comfortable sharing with you verbally. Having customers complete a satisfaction survey also makes it easier for them to provide detailed feedback and for you to capture their feedback so you can use it to make improvements to your business.
Perhaps the biggest challenge in using satisfaction surveys to gather customer feedback is getting customers to complete the surveys and return them to you. Here are five tips that can help increase the chances that your customers will complete your satisfaction surveys and return them to you in a timely manner.
1. Make it easy on your customers. Completing a satisfaction survey will require time and effort on the part of your customers. So the easier it is for them to fill out the survey and submit it to you, the higher your survey response rates will likely be.
For example, if the survey is being distributed physically, such as a business reply card, include a pre-printed return address and pre-paid postage so customers don’t have to affix a stamp to return it to you. If it’s being distributed electronically, such as via email, include a live link customers can click to go directly to the survey questions.
2. Keep surveys simple and limit choices. Long surveys with complex and confusing choices will frustrate customers and serve as a disincentive for them to provide feedback. Make surveys as short as possible while still gathering the feedback you need and include multiple-choice questions with no more than three or four responses each. Generally speaking, it should take customers no more two or three minutes to complete the survey.
3. Offer an incentive for response. This is one of the best ways to get customers to complete and return satisfaction surveys. You can structure incentives in several different ways. For example, you can enter all customers who return the survey in a drawing to win a grand prize, or you can give every customer who returns the survey a small prize. You could also offer customers who return the survey a discount on their next purchase.
4. Distribute the survey in a timely manner. With satisfaction surveys, it’s best to strike while the iron is hot. This means getting the survey into the hands of customers as soon as possible after they’ve made a purchase. For example, you could hand surveys out at the point of sale or send them automatically via email when purchases are made.
5. Ask the right questions. Think carefully about which questions could yield the most useful and actionable feedback from your customers. These might include demographic questions such as the customer’s age, ZIP code, marital status, family size and income level, as well as questions about product usage and overall satisfaction. For example, your survey could ask:
- How often do you shop with us?
- What features of the product or service do you find most useful?
- How could we improve the product or service?
- On a scale from 1 to 10, how would you rate your satisfaction with the product or service, or with the company overall?
Great Feedback Can Lead to Business Improvement
Regardless of how you go about it, getting great customer feedback is critical to improving your business in ways that are important to your customers. Think about how you can generate useful feedback that can be put to work to improve your business and boost customer satisfaction and retention.
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