July 29, 2013 |
A satisfied customer delights in your products or services—reassured by experiences that exceed their expectations. A satisfied customer is a repeat customer—eager to recommend your brand to family, friends and colleagues. In fact, satisfied customers are among a brand’s greatest assets.
From hospitality and medical practice groups to technology companies and brand design firms, the ability to maintain high customer satisfaction levels is critical in shaping growth strategies. Because understanding why customers are satisfied—or dissatisfied—empowers more effective communications, guides product or service development, builds valuable loyalty, generates brand buzz, and results in enthusiastic referrals.
So when was the last time you asked your customers what they feel about your brand? Are they satisfied with the products or services your company provides? Or are they merely tolerating their dissatisfaction while seeking new relationships?
If you don’t know the answers to these questions, it just might be time to survey your customers. And when you do, here are five thoughts to keep in mind.
Ensure customers have every opportunity
to tell you what they think.
Corporate boardrooms are focused on metrics and measurements like never before. Illustrated statistical data, graphs and charts are everywhere—from USA Today and People Magazine to social media and mobile apps. Rating based survey questions are very valuable. But the most valuable part of any customer survey is the narrative. So include open-ended questions that enable customers to provide specific, actionable feedback in their own words.
Don’t insult your customers—they’re smarter than you think.
The goal of surveying is to gather honest, unbiased feedback. So don’t compromise the integrity of your efforts—or risk insulting your customers—by including a disproportionate number of positive answers from which to choose. Any potential for eliciting “false positives” through poor survey design can result in unintended conclusions. Eliminate possible bias and achieve more credible information in the process.
Your customer has options.
So do you when it comes to research methodology.
Customer surveys are valuable tools. They come in many types and sizes, costs and complexities. Management should always consider their research options when critical business decisions hang in the balance. Focus group testing, qualitative market research, eye tracking and usability studies, and test marketing are among the many research approaches available. So thoroughly consider your objectives for conducting research, and then select an experienced partner and the right methodology to achieve optimum results.
Share the results of your survey with the customer.
Have you completed a survey for a favorite restaurant, personal care product, or recent purchase only to never hear from the company again? Well, that’s how your customers feel if they don’t hear from you after completing your survey. So communicate what the company learned and how it is going to put that knowledge to good use. For example, by reaching out to dissatisfied customers you demonstrate that their opinions are important to the company and that you’re prepared to do something about it. This alone might even replace their dissatisfaction with a renewed sense of confidence in the brand. Of course, satisfied customers will want to know why others are reassured by their decision to give your company their business.
Finally, turn your customers’ feedback into action. Unless your company is prepared to respond positively and proactively to negative feedback, you probably shouldn’t be surveying your customers anyway. Used properly as a management tool, however, and even less-than-favorable results can ignite positive changes within your organization. The type of change, in fact, that can spell the difference between failure and success. So don’t sweep the bad news under the rug. Turn it into the kind of motivational spark that turns average companies into leaders, contenders into winners.
Have you been considering a customer survey of your own? Buchanan Design will be happy to help. So why not give us a call?