Congratulations, you’ve taken the important first step of sending out a customer satisfaction survey to gather feedback on your products and services. You’ve thought out your questions really carefully, branded your survey, sent out survey invitations with reminders, and received some really good responses.
Now what? The biggest problem with customer satisfaction surveys doesn’t have anything to do with the surveys themselves, the questions you ask, or the survey tool you use. It has to do with what you do, and too often don’t do, with the survey data. If you allow your feedback data to get sucked into a black hole, it’s as if you never spent all those hours designing the perfect survey, sending invitations and reminders, and putting together beautifully branded reports. And by not responding to the customers that took the time to offer their feedback or by not incorporating that feedback into your daily business operations, that’s exactly what you’re doing – assigning that data about as much value as it would have in a black hole.
There is nothing more frustrating to a survey respondent than when he pours his heart into a satisfaction survey and hears nothing in return. We all know this from experience – how a company responds or fails to respond to customer feedback has a profound impact on how we feel about that company. Just yesterday I sent a scathing survey to a major credit card company’s travel service department regarding a particularly bad experience I had with them. As angry and frustrated as I am about my experience with this company, I have given them a small window of opportunity to attempt to change my opinion of them. A prompt reply, apology, and offer to right the wrong may just salvage the relationship. On the other hand, if I hear nothing back, I certainly will never use their travel services again and may very well cancel my card with them. I took the time to take their survey and offer valuable feedback and I just want to know that they are actually doing something with that feedback – that it’s not just being sucked into a corporate data black hole.
Of course organizations, especially large ones with huge client bases, don’t have the resources to individually respond to every customer survey. But to the best of their ability, organizations should try to at least respond to the surveys that give extreme positive or negative feedback. The most efficient way to do this is by choosing a tool, like Checkbox Survey, that allows for survey scoring and automated email triggers. Scoring is a powerful method of assigning numeric values to individual responses so that a survey’s total or average score can be tallied and used as a measure of overall satisfaction. Email triggers can be set up to automatically send emails to the appropriate person in an organization based on a survey’s total score or on a response to an individual question – positive or negative. Scoring and email triggers, especially when used together, are a great way to alert organizations to feedback that needs immediate response. Responding to feedback while it is still fresh and relevant can go a long way in maintaining or repairing customer relationships.
Whether you have the ability to respond to individual feedback surveys or not, all organizations should make an effort to share feedback survey results and action plans with customers on an aggregate level. Once your survey is closed and the results have been analyzed, it’s important to share some of those results highlights with your customer base. And, even more importantly, decide how that feedback is going to impact how you run your business, make product decisions, etc. and share that, too. Sure, getting a personal email in response to a survey goes a long way in making a customer feel important. But I would argue that telling customers that their insight and opinions are responsible for company-wide changes to products, service, or direction is a much more powerful tool for improving customer loyalty and retention.
So, by all means, keep creating surveys that ask the right questions, are well organized, and look great because you won’t get quality data without those elements. But if you really want to get value out of your customer feedback surveys, make that data count by using it to drive your business decisions and sharing those decisions with your customers. That will give you more bang for your buck when it comes to customer loyalty than any advertising campaign out there.