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“We care deeply about our customers.” Or: “We ❤ our customers.”
We’ve seen a number of companies use either of these taglines or some other similarly customer-focused phrase in order to profess their undying, indissoluble love for their customers. They pop it into their marketing materials, business cards, staff lapel pins, About Us pages, social media bios, e-mail signatures, what-have-you.
Which is great! We here at ReviewTrackers ❤ our customers, too. But it’s important to be honest as an organization and ask: do these words ring true or hollow?
In order to truly demonstrate your business’ commitment to customers, you have to be able to understand them first — their thoughts and feelings, their wants, needs, opinions, and expectations. You also have to be able to understand and measure the kind of customer experience you’re delivering — so that you can gain the insights essential to fostering improvement and showing genuine customer love.
One of the best ways to do this is by collecting feedback and information through the distribution of a customer experience survey.
What a Customer Experience Survey Can Do
Before we talk about what the benefits of surveying are, let’s start off with a traditional customer experience definition: CX is “the cumulative impact of all interactions and experiences between your business and the customer, at every touchpoint across the entire customer journey, and viewed entirely from your customer’s perspective.”
Naturally, customers’ interactions and experiences with your business will inevitably vary, and so will the touchpoints at which these interactions and experiences happen. This makes it difficult to identify your CX’s points of success and failure across the customer journey.
Are your in-store sales reps the critical factor for driving sales, or is it the copy on your online retail website? Are online reviews of your business bringing people in or turning them off? How is your customer service team performing? Is your dysfunctional shopping cart and clunky user experience preventing customers from pushing through a purchase?
A customer experience survey can help you answer these questions and more. It’s a great tool for collecting valuable feedback and information — directly from customers — about the experiences that they have with your business.
Achieve a more accurate and complete understanding of the customer. Customer experience surveys can help you find out what customers really think and how they really feel about your business.
Gauge customer loyalty and satisfaction. Surveying is also one of the most effective ways of reaching out to customers and letting them tell you what they like and don’t like. Not only can you manage and resolve any high-impact issues and weaknesses using the feedback that you collect; more importantly, you can identify the values that drive customer loyalty, satisfaction, and advocacy.
Activate promoters and recover detractors. A customer experience survey that integrates the Net Promoter Score and System (NPS) is a powerful tool for helping you create and nurture a community of advocates who can build hype around your business. Apart from being able to identify who your “Promoters” are, you can also leverage survey results in order to recover “Detractors” well before they potentially spread negative word-of-mouth communication — in the form of bad reviews, low ratings, and negative social media comments — about your business.
Collect insights that drive action. The survey can give you actionable insights on what your customers need, helping you set a clear agenda for differentiating your CX from the competition.
Keys to Improving Survey Response Rates
Keep it short. When was the last time you took a 40-minute survey? Probably never. If your own customer experience survey takes too long to finish, you run the risk of respondents abandoning it before completion. So keep it short and simple, with questions that customers can easily understand and answer.
Consider offering incentives. There are customers who will take your survey without needing a reward. But incentives have been proven to improve response rates, so go for it if you have the resources. Think discounts, gift cards, free coffee, an extended product trial, or account credit.
Test, measure, and adjust. As a type of measurement system and research tool, you can’t distribute a customer experience survey then leave it running untouched for months or years. Test, measure, and adjust in order to achieve the best response rates and collect the most useful feedback. Today’s customer-driven market is a dynamic one, and, as previously mentioned, people’s interactions and experiences with your business will inevitably vary, especially over time.
Respond immediately to high-impact customer feedback. If you received negative feedback from your customer experience survey, you must act quickly and respond to let the respondent know that you are working on delivering a better experience next time. Whether you’re making a phone call or sending an e-mail, do so in a timely manner; otherwise, you run the risk of leaving an unhappy customer stewing.