When looking to make improvements to your business, there’s no better source for feedback than your customers. While collecting comments or other data from each one of your customers simply isn’t feasible, your company can collect a large sample of feedback using web forms and surveys.
Some online questionnaires are more effective than others, so read on for tips on how to maximize your survey to get accurate, helpful feedback from the people who keep your company in business.
As much as we’d like to think otherwise, very few of your customers are likely to volunteer their time to take a survey regarding their experience with your business without something in it for them — especially unsatisfied customers.
Whether you offer a discount code on their next visit, free product or a chance to be entered into a giveaway for a Hawaii cruise, make sure you’re compensating responders for their time. Your customers’ feedback is a valuable tool for you and your company, and offering a bonus for participants helps them to know you are aware of how valuable their time and comments are to you as a company.
Make a Prompt Request
Customers are more likely to respond to a request for surveys in the 24 hours following their latest visit, so send your request within that window, if not sooner. Make sure to send any invitations as soon as possible, so the customer’s visit is fresh in their minds and relevant comments are most likely to be more detailed and accurate.
If your customers visit your company or its employees in person, ask your employees to make the request face-to-face. Employees should ask if customers would be willing to provide feedback for their performance or the customer’s overall experience using personal, friendly terms. Consumers are far more likely to agree to a survey request when asked in person.
Meet Them Where They Are
If your customers have loyalty accounts or are signed up for email lists, you can connect by meeting them right in their inbox. The easier it is for a customer to access a survey, the more inclined they will be to respond and offer their feedback.
If possible, send a short text message with a brief request, explanation of incentives and a link that will direct them straight to the survey form. When sending email requests, inform them of all relevant information with concise and professional language, using engaging copy and an expression of gratitude for their time.
Keep it Short
Though you’d like as much feedback from your customers, it’s better to keep it brief. Longer surveys risk losing customers because of the time commitment involved. Customers may initiate a longer survey, but quit after only a few minutes, meaning you won’t receive a completed form.
It’s possible to obtain accurate and detailed feedback through a concise, specific survey. Consider using clickable rating systems or boxes to make it easier for participants to complete. Many customers will want to leave comments, but these forms should not be required for completion. Include some optional spots for lengthier notes, but don’t expect long comments from most participants.
As well, be up front with participants about the time commitment. A customer who clicks on a survey knowing they are only going to spend a few minutes responding will feel more satisfied with your company’s transparency than one who feels imposed upon.
Customers, above all, want to know that their feedback will be used to make their experience with your company better. It’s wise to communicate ways you and your business have used past customer feedback to make improvements for present customers. Whether you’ve added a new product, reconsidered a training element for your employees or adjusted your company’s practices, demonstrate how your customers have helped to shape your business.
Make your objective clear in the survey as well. If you’re looking to improve customer service, ask questions that make it clear that their feedback will be used to improve their interactions with your company. If you’re looking to adjust your inventory or add new products, ask what your customers are happy with or what they’d like to see from your company. When customers know they have influence on a company’s operations, they’re more likely to form a personal relationship and remain loyal to your business.
Apply Comments and Concerns
Most importantly, make sure that after collecting feedback, you get to work. If you want to better guarantee responses in any future online surveys, you will need to put in the work today to show that you take customer feedback seriously.
Be sure to listen to and apply the information from both positive and negative comments. These customers are valuable in highlighting where your company is succeeding and where you need to improve. With varied responses, you can better illustrate what the customer experience is like, and make necessary improvements for those who keep your company in business.