By putting some serious consideration into the survey anatomy, you will be able to gather the kind of feedback from your customers that will help you work towards your customer experience goals. This isn’t just about deciding which questions you will ask, but deciding when and where you will ask them.
Start by answering these four crucial questions:
1. What are the customers’ expectations?
How many customer satisfaction surveys have you received in the last year? I can recall three in the last week alone, and that’s just from calling my electricity provider’s call centre. Every time we visit a website or call a customer helpdesk, we’re just seconds away from being told how valuable our feedback is. The problem is, with more and more customer surveys, we run the risk of consumers becoming impervious to them. We expect them, but that doesn’t mean we will always hang on the line to complete them. But if you don’t offer a survey, people want to know why not. Why don’t you care about their feedback? It’s a double-edged sword.
Another risk is that surveys are being viewed with increasing scepticism, with consumers not truly believing that the organisation will do anything with their well-considered responses. To combat this, firms need to be brave enough to reveal the feedback and show exactly what you are doing about it.
2. Which channel?
The majority of organisations use a combination of channels to interact with customers – phone, email, web chat, SMS, social media and more. But the only channel you should be using to survey customers is the one they used to interact with you. If they contacted you by phone, provide the survey at the end of the call. If they have been mostly communicating over email, send an email with a link to an online survey. Be wary of shifting the channel to suit the organisation – as with any interaction, it needs to suit the customer.
3. When is the right time to ask?
With customer satisfaction surveys, the temptation is to only gather immediate feedback. After all, the best time to ask a customer about their experience is when it’s still fresh in their mind, right? Wrong. This won’t always give true results. Let’s say a customer calls and speaks to a customer service agent, Frank. Following the call, the customer completes a survey and scores Frank highly on service. Then a few days pass and Frank hasn’t delivered what he said he would. If you asked the customer for their feedback now, you would get a very different response. In fact, can we say that the original survey results are even valid anymore? To overcome this issue, a better approach is to vary the timing of your surveys, conducting some immediately and some two or three days after the interaction.
4. Which level of survey?
There are essentially three levels of survey you can implement. The one you choose depends on your view of the customer: