Measuring the satisfaction of your customers is tricky business because, for the most part, they are not going to come right out and tell you. However, there are several ways that you can employ to gauge their satisfaction, and address any problems that may have arisen. One of the most valuable resource a business can have is conducting surveys and is, in fact, one of the very few ways to effectively collect customer satisfaction. While you most likely already knew that, are you using all of the metrics available to you?
More often than not, businesses continue to measure customer satisfaction using wrong or insufficient metrics. Measuring the right customer satisfaction metrics, on the other hand, can help you promptly know how you’re doing, about your customers’ satisfaction, expectations and needs. This is your cheat sheet for the right metrics you can, and perhaps should, apply.
Rate of Return
The customer rate of return is one of the easiest seen metrics a business can use. In small startups and large companies, the more a customer returns, the strong the loyalty is considered to be. From a business standpoint, you need to treat each new customers like a first date – if you impress them, they will build a relationship with you. As the customer builds that bond, they will tell their friends and your business will grow through word of mouth, which indeed is one of the best forms of advertising and one that can aid any business greatly. However, that same aspect can work against you if they had a negative experience; for this reason other metrics will help you learn more about your customers.
NPS stands for Net Promoter Score, which focuses on a single question “How Likely Are You to Recommend This Product/Service to Friends or Family?” This question is crucial as it helps businesses to gauge what customers are likely to come back. Questions that typically follow will help hone in on what specific ally made the experience so great or horrible. While the NPS is great for gauging who will become a return customer, you need to be able to measure what influenced them to come back!
Meeting your customers’ expectations is the main goal of a business. What is crucial to meeting these expectations, is simply asking “Did you find everything okay,” sounds like a line you hear just about everywhere. There are statistics on that line, that is why it is so popular. Making a customer feel as though you care about their experience strengthens their brand loyalty, but also helps the business realize where a niche may be missed. In large companies, there are many services that are covered, but not everyone needs them. If you can offer “niche products” a customer is more likely to find what they need. Offering a balance of products, having a clean facility, maintained equipment, and an outstanding team is all a part of meeting customer expectations.
The final metric that is important you look at is the overall customer satisfaction your company holds. While places of business would like nothing more than to keep customers satisfied 100% of the time, all the time, it is not a realistic right off the bat. While keeping your customers happy with your brand or product is crucial to staying above water, progress is more important. If you have a poor score when you first start out, but after some changes, your score rises, then you are making good progress.
What Works For You?
Understanding customer feedback, or how it is gained has no specific formula. What works for one person may not be totally applicable to another. However, everyone can learn a few tips and tricks, no matter how long you have been established. It is ideal to build your surveys and feedback forms to help you capture the metrics we described above. They are sure to give you an insight into your customers’ satisfaction levels, their loyalty and recognize issues. After all, customers’ satisfaction is paramount and measuring it right is half the job done, and done well.
It is one thing to create a brand new survey for collecting customer feedback; quite another to create a decisive and convincing survey that does serves its intended purpose well. Often, business managers get caught up in the act of creating their survey forms to such an extent that they end up making embarrassing mistakes in their feedback forms. Here is a short compilation of a few of those:
Extremely long surveys
One must remember that people have short attention spans (particularly after they’ve paid the bill!) and hence, the survey must be designed keeping in mind that the completion time must be within 10% of the total service time. This endures that the customers are involved in the survey, and also keeps “garbage data” from overwhelming the storage space.
Too many choices
It may be tempting to offer n- choices in any question requiring a rating of a parameter of service. However, the leading psychologist Barry Schwartz has argued that increasing choices on offer can only lead to higher anxiety and stress for the customers. Instead of making their decision easier (as should be expected), more choices only make their decision more difficult, since they now need to “eliminate” more options to zero in on their desired choice. The logic can be extended to feedback survey forms as well. An excess of choices in the questions can also make the post-survey analysis of data difficult and tedious to arrive at insights.
Requiring answers to all questions
This point holds particular importance in feedback survey forms filled up digitally. Forcing your respondents to fill up all questions in order to progress in the survey might annoy them, leading them to just dismiss the survey mid-way. There also might be few questions that customers in a business setting may not feel entirely comfortable answering – and a few skipped questions will hardly make a difference to the analysis of your “big picture” anyway.
Too many open-ended questions
Open ended questions following a simple rating question are invaluable since they allow business managers to gain unique insights from the perspective of the customers, as to why they gave a particular rating to a parameter. It may bring to light issues that the business manager may not even have thought about, by asking the customers for their opinions. Caution must be exercised before adding too many open-ended questions however, since customers rarely want to feel like they’re writing essays. The idea is to keep the survey short and meaningful for the business manager as well as the customer.
They merit a special mention in the list of survey bloopers. Questions seeking age, gender, nationality or the like must be saved for the end since they can get rather offensive to some, and make them less willing to complete the survey they started on a sour note. It might be a better idea to ask these questions after your customers are through with the survey. Besides, these questions are usually boring and it is best to start the feedback with interesting questions that help the business gain valuable insights.
Asking irrelevant questions
It may be tempting for a survey designer to want to know everything, but questions must be added judiciously. Ask only those questions that merit an answer for analysis of the customer service. This keeps the survey short and interesting for the customers, and makes the analysis much easier later on.
Seeking too many details in one question
In their quest to make the survey short and minimize the number of questions, survey designers may want to club together two questions in one, something along the lines of: “Please rate the taste of food served and the quantity of portion”. While the food may have been great, the quantity might have been barely adequate, or conversely. It is essential for survey designers to be wary of this trap and frame separate questions for each and every parameter they wish to draw an analysis on.
Skipping the conclusion
Think about this. Your customers have spent some of their valuable time to proffer suggestions to help improve your business. It would make their day if they received a little “Thank you” message after completing the survey. Not only is it polite, it also acts as an excellent closure to the survey and your customers would know they are through with the feedback survey once they see the “Thank you” page.
This is an essential point, but one that is often overlooked in the frenzy of quickly assembling a customer feedback system together. Check if questions have an “N/A” option so that respondents aren’t forced into answering from the available list of choices, however extensive they may be. If an option is marker as “Other”, it must be followed with a blank space. Fields for storing e-mail address and telephone numbers must include a validation rule to ensure that only valid values are collected.
Survey creation may have taken a lot of time and designers would be keen to see the fruits of their effort as soon as possible, but it is always a wise idea to undergo a trial run with a sample of the intended audience before finalizing the plan. Such a test-run will bring to light any unintended errors that may have crept through the design phase, and ensure that the survey logic is functioning as desired, and the reporting module is in sync with collected data. Correcting errors and bugs in the trial run is far better than making changes during the actual operation, which may corrupt the analysis.
Like pleasing customers, designing customer feedback surveys is no mean feat. Both require diligence, attention to detail and patience. However, if implemented properly, they are sure tp pay big dividends in due course.