"Close the loop! Make sure customers understand how you use their feedback"
How to create a successful customer survey – part 1 of 2
januar 26, 2022
Anyone who buys products online or connects with companies and organizations through customer service will notice the flood of surveys that end up in inboxes, mobile text feeds or even are dialed to your phone by a machine. How do you create a successful and actionable survey in this context?
Companies and public organizations are increasingly moving towards a customer-centric way of working, which is very positive! We are living in a data driven world and all the data that can be collected about customers and their experience is becoming more and more valuable – it´s the new GOLD!
But according to a Gartner study, out of the 95% of companies that collect feedback, only one in three actually use the data to make improvements. And fewer than one in 20 tell customers about the changes they’ve made. So why should the customers spend time to give their feedback?
If you work with creating and analyzing customer surveys, you have probably seen a trend that response rates are quite low and perhaps even declining.
There are measurements indicating that only 9% of customers are motivated to provide answers to longer surveys*. According to others, the response rate is closer to 5% and the trend is that the response rate is decreasing*. A study shows that 52% of respondents drop out if it takes longer than 3 minutes to complete the survey**.
From a customer perspective, it can be tiring to answer the flood of questionnaires and questions that wash over us. When there is a flood of surveys, which one should I as a customer grab and spend time on?
The term «survey fatigue» has emerged. What does it lead to? Should we do something about it and if so, what?
“Slicing of the customer journey” scenario
Let´s look at a scenario from a common customer journey in everyday life.
As a customer you have the need for a new product and start to browse your favorite brands product pages and then go on to put things in the shopping cart.
You then decide to actually buy this product and you proceed to the checkout. In this scenario the checkout is outsourced to another service provider.
After checkout work begins in the warehouse where they pick and pack the product and send through a logistics partner to a pickup point or direct home to you – this shipping is also outsourced to yet another service provider.
At this point you have the product in your home, you test it and might find that it did not meet your expectations. You want to return the product and need to understand how to send it back. So, you contact customer service at the product company and receive information about how to return. After that you send the product back and finally you receive your money back.
In this journey scenario it can potentially be 3-5 different surveys sent to you by different service providers – a couple of years age it used to be one survey.
We can for sure ask ourselves if it´s clear for the customer what the service providers ask for and what part of the journey are they responsible for? The customer buys from one product company but potentially get surveys from maybe 3 different providers, do the service providers get the “accurate data” to work with?
You can really start to question if the insights only based on that data are of good quality.
This is a disturbing long-term trend if we are serious about using customer surveys to develop and improve our services and products. If response rates go down and if we ask questions in the «wrong» way – can we trust the results, the analysis, and in the end, the insights?
We might end up with “misty insights” for what to fix for the customers, how to fix it and how we should prioritize. In the long run, we risk putting our development resources on «wrong» projects.
There is also a risk that asking too many questions has a negative impact on the trust and the relationship with the customers. Especially if you as a loyal and frequent customer get the same questions time and time again, but don´t experience any improvement. Don’t ask if you cannot or don´t have the ability to improve!
Over-surveying not only reduces the chance a customer will take your survey, but it also damages your brand. Frequent survey invitations can be perceived as nagging and unprofessional.
Challenges with customer surveys
To conclude, there are some main challenges with customer surveys today – both from a customer point of view but also from a business perspective.
- Many surveys from many organizations in many channels
- The surveys are too complicated and time-consuming to answer
- Customers don’t have time or aren’t motivated enough to respond
- Customers don’t get feedback on what their response leads to
- Low response rate to the questionnaires
- The answers are not clear enough to start to act on
- We do not have the ability to change what we ask about
- The answers don’t always match how customers act
What can we do about it?
There are studies that show the fact that customers like customer surveys. A 2019 study conducted by Microsoft found that 89% of consumers want companies and organizations to ask for their opinion. It’s a way of showing that companies care about customers.
So, there’s a big gap between what customers think and how they act.
Perhaps we can and should do something about this?
Meet the challenges
Be strategic and clarify your goals with the survey – what should you achieve with the survey and what will you do with the result?
Should you use the result for long term trend analysis or for short term improvement? If you want the follow a specific KPI over time you probably also need to add a few questions or data points to be able to get actionable insights.
Sending a general survey with several vague questions after every contact probably won’t get the feedback you’re looking for. Instead, make it easy for the customer with few clear static questions and open for one or two questions that you can change depending on what you want to understand during a limited time span.
Make the customers aware that they are important in the development of the products and services, connect with them and let them know when you have done the improvement based on their feedback. Close the loop to the customer!
Consider the mobile first approach and design you survey as an integrated experience for the customer. It´s a well-known fact that the customers today use their mobile as the primary device, so why should they do a survey after a contact or transaction in another device or in a different media type that they use for connecting with your company?
Combine data sources
In your organization you probably have many touch points where you collect data for your customer experience, it can even be that different departments collect data points in different tools. To get to the holistic customer insights you should use all data points and combine them together.
In the Telia ACE product range there are several products that will help you get to the magic point of insights. Insights that will guide you in the customer service development process.
Both insights how to increase internal efficiency in customer service operation, but also insights for customer experience in you company or organization.
- ACE Survey
- ACE Agent Outcome
- ACE BI
- ACE Interaction Analytics
- ACE Reports
Stay tuned for part 2 of the Customer Survey Blog where we will focus on best practice and methods for how and when to use the different products. But also, how to make it easy for the customer and how to increase the response rate of your surveys.
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- Set your GOAL with the survey!
- Do the survey as SOON after the interaction as possible
- Make it EASY – Few and Simple questions
- USE and COMBINE all data sources for insights
- ACT on the insights!
- Close the LOOP to the customer
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