Communicating regularly with your customers gives you the chance to find out what you’re doing right and wrong directly from the persons most affected by your actions. Developing client surveys that make the best use of this opportunity to communicate with your customers will let you ask the important questions that can help you refine your business practices.
- Stay objective – Construct questions that are as neutral as possible and that don’t lead survey respondents to reply in a particular way. Follow industry standards for designing your survey and avoid questions that can introduce unintended bias into the response. Also make sure that you send surveys to the widest sample of customers possible. Negative feedback can be unpleasant, but it’s your most powerful ally in improving your customer service.
- Look for narrative explanations – Rating scales are common and seem to offer quick and immediate feedback, but the better and more useful responses include narratives that explain why a customer gave you a certain rating. Ask open-ended questions that encourage commentary and response beyond a simple numerical rating.
- Offer real-time response options – Provide your customers with the opportunity to rate and communicate with you in real time or with the least possible delay. Fast, fresh responses from customers can be critical in shaping your business behavior. Consider the expense of hiring third-party survey experts to design, send and measure your surveys, an investment, not an expense.
- Communicate and follow-up – Augment any written or online surveys with phone calls or face-to-face communication with customers. Direct contact with all types of customers, from the happy to the neutral to the displeased, will give you insights and give-and-take opportunities that impersonal surveys can’t match.
- Take results seriously – When customers give you a portion of their time to respond to a survey, take the results you get seriously and analyze them carefully. Review survey results with key personnel and objectively assess the meaning of responses. Apply the lessons learned wherever possible.
Are you developing client surveys that get the best and most useful responses from your customers?
Image via Shutterstock.com