If you want to know what your customers think of you, the easiest way to get reliable feedback quickly is to carry out a customer satisfaction survey. But unless you know how to ask the right questions and analyse the data a survey produces, it could be a waste of time. So what makes a good customer satisfaction survey and how could it benefit your business?
Asking the right questions
It can be tempting to 'load the dice' a little with a customer satisfaction survey. Asking leading questions such as 'what did you like most about the product' may give you some good feedback about what people like, but it's what they don't like that could be of greater concern. By developing a customer satisfaction survey that only concentrates on the positive you are only getting half the picture. So be prepared to ask the right questions that allow your customers to truly express their honest opinions.
How to communicate with your customers
If you're running an online business it's easy to develop a customer satisfaction survey that will encourage as many of your customers to respond. Herein lies another challenge with surveys - actually getting people to respond. To be successful you have to use a little psychology and make it tempting for your customers to take time out of their day to respond. If they have strong feelings about your product (either positive or negative) then they will be far more willing to let you know about those sentiments than customers who are merely 'okay' with everything.
So by personalising a customer satisfaction survey you can appeal directly to your customers and generate a greater response. If they have paid online you will most likely have their email address already on your records. Creating a generic template survey that can be emailed directly to each customer is a great way of interacting on a personal basis with your clients. It also encourages genuine feedback that can be analysed as a useful business tool.
Looking at the results
Gathering customer satisfaction data is only half the job. Once you have a good cross-section of responses, the data can then be analysed to see where the business is doing well and which areas need to be improved. For example, if your customers are happy with your product but are less than happy about how long it takes to get to them, you can immediately look at your dispatching system and make improvements.
This benefits your business in two ways - firstly it obviously improves the level of service that your customers are getting. But just as importantly it shows that you are listening to your customers' concerns and responding pro-actively to their input. This in turn generates a feeling of connection between the customer and your business. The end result is that these customers are far more likely to do business with you again in the future, remain loyal, and recommend you to their peers.
Statistical analysis of customer satisfaction surveys is an almost instant way to gauge the health of your business and to find out what the public really thinks of you. Do not under-estimate the power of 'word of mouth'. Recent surveys on the effectiveness of feedback from blogs, for example, has shown that people are far more likely to buy a product based not on the company's advertising but on the opinions of other customers. So by using customer satisfaction surveys you are tapping directly into this source of information and generating your own 'feedback' system that at a fundamental level can make a dramatic difference to your bottom line figures.