Good customer service is the life blood of any business. Although new customers are important, good customer service will help generate customer loyalty and repeat business. With each satisfied customer your business is likely to win many more customers through recommendations and remember, if you are not taking care of your customers, your competition will.
Online customer satisfaction surveys will help by not only identifying problem areas but show that you care and are proactive in looking for ways to improve the service that you provide.
Where do you start?
Objective – Before you start creating your survey clarify the objectives of the survey, in that way you will find it easier to decide what are the right questions to ask.
Analysis – Consider how you will analyse the answers having completed the survey.
Keep in mind that ‘closed’ questions (where a respondent is asked to choose from a limited number of responses) are much easier to analyze than ‘open’ questions (where the respondent can reply in anyway they want).
A lot will depend on the predicted volume of respondents, the higher the volume the more important it is to have an easy method of analysing the results.
Opportunity – As well as obtaining valuable market research data keep in mind that customer surveys are also a good way to publicise aspects of your service that your customers may not be aware of.
Before you publish the survey confirm that the questions you have asked will provide you with market research data that when analysed will help you make informed decisions.
Then, from a marketing view point read through the survey, confirm that you have phrased each question so that every opportunity has been taken to promote your business?
The ideal question will perform the following 3 functions:
- Market research – provide valuable feedback to help you improve your customer satisfaction levels and in turn your business
- Marketing – promote aspects of your business
- Information/Education – advertise a service that you provide that your customers may not have been unaware of
For example: Do you find the in-store baby changing facilities useful?
By asking this question not only will the store receive good market research feedback on the facility they provide but they will also promote their facilities and advertise themselves as a family friendly store, even beyond those customers who have a specific need for the baby changing facility that has been provided.
Warts and all – to benefit most from a customer survey you need to be prepared to dig deep and accept the worst.
A customer satisfaction survey should be designed to identify any problem areas so that they can be fixed; conducting regular customer satisfaction surveys will help prevent complacency and will also give early warning on where you may be losing business to your competitors initiatives.
What are the questions you should ask?
Each business is likely to have unique factors in relation to providing good customer services however there are common areas that are going to be relevant to all businesses be they a physical store, online store or a service industry. The following are some key areas to providing good customer service.
Communication – What do you do to help your customers communicate with you?
When customers telephone are their calls answered quickly; are their enquiries about products or services handled properly? Good businesses will make every effort to ensure that whatever the customers query it is resolved by the right person, quickly, politely and fairly.
If customers reported problems that cannot be resolvable immediately do you promise to respond in a given time period and do you deliver on your promise?
Use a customer satisfaction survey to ensure that all your staff are considered by your customers to be knowledgeable, courteous and helpful.
Location – Are you doing everything you can to ensure that your customers find it easy to visit you, if a physical store, does it have good access and is it conveniently located?
Making it pleasant, making it easy – For an online business it is important to ensure that your website is easy to use and aesthetically pleasing.
Physical store or online website, is the store properly laid out, can your customers find what they need and is there sufficient information and help on hand to explain how a particular product works?
The right quality products – You should not only measure the quality of the service that you provide but you should also monitor that the products and services that you market are what the customer wants and closely match their expectations.
Value for money – Cheap or expensive is not always a good measure, value for money is.
Is your business associated with value for money by your customers, if not, why not?
Speed and attention – Customers want to be dealt with quickly but attentively.
Are you doing everything you can to avoid delays?
Good businesses will try to treat each customer as an individual, does yours? Customers appreciate attention but only if it leads to a quick and satisfactory resolution of the query.
Demographics and Specific issues – Take the opportunity to profile your customers, for example where do they live and what is their age group?
Understand your customers more and you will be able to better target your business.
As part of the survey allow your customers the opportunity to highlight any problems that they may have and provide you with contact details so that their problems might be later addressed and their concerns followed up.
Once the survey has been completed analyse the results.
Trends – Identify common and specific areas where the service needs improving.
Ask yourself honestly if any criticism that you receive is valid and if there anything that can be done to resolve or minimise the problem?
Training – Are all employees properly trained and do they have sufficient knowledge?
Where employee training programmes have been implemented have they made a positive contribution to the business and improved the customer service?
Follow-up – If a customer has raised a specific issue through completing a survey ensure that they are contacted and that their complaint is properly addressed.
Do not squander the opportunity to resolve a problem and keep a customer.
Continuously Monitor – Based on the survey results make changes and then re-measure by issuing further surveys.