So, you’ve designed the perfect survey, incentivized it, circulated it to your customers and colleagues, and you’re starting to get some great feedback. The only question now is, what do you do with it? Feedback is great at shining a light on what you need to improve. But, it’s only effective if you then use it to create action plans and make changes to directly improve your business, products and services.
Here’s how to do that.
Sort your survey results into quantitative and qualitative feedback
If you’ve designed your survey well, you’ll have a mix of “quantitative” feedback (where people give numeric feedback as a “score” on your business) and “qualitative” feedback (free-text comments that can give you additional insight).
Your first step is to sort out the different types of feedback: Gather together the various different scores you’ve received from quantitative feedback (e.g., average, median, high, low) and the comments you have from qualitative feedback. This will make your analysis much easier.
Categorize your feedback into relevant sections
Read through all of your feedback and categorize it into broad areas. These might include:
- What people think of how customer service deals with their issues
- The ease of purchasing from you
- Feedback on your website
Essentially, you want to put feedback into buckets so you can address each of them, one at a time.
Look for overall trends to see what’s most important
Once you’ve got your buckets, dig into the trends behind the feedback. For example, if one area is scoring poorly, look at the qualitative feedback to find out why that’s happening. Pull out key trends and identify high-level areas for improvement.
Prioritize each of the buckets in terms of areas you want to tackle first. These should generally be the parts of your business that will give the most “bang for the buck.” In other words, where you’ll get the fastest and most comprehensive return on investment.
Dig into the details to find specific action points
Look at the buckets you’ve prioritized to find the key problems. You can do this by digging into the details. You’ll often find very helpful insights in the comments (your qualitative feedback). Explore why there’s an issue in each particular area and get to the root cause of what the problem is. Be objective – if your customers are telling you there’s something wrong, listen to them.
Verify the feedback with your employees and ask follow-up questions as needed. Ultimately, you’re looking for a solid, identified list of problems and issues you can use to create effective action plans around.
Create and implement solid action plans
Now that you’ve got a list of problems, you need solutions. Prioritize the individual problems in each bucket and ask the question, “What do I need to do to fix this?” Create an action plan and run related projects to put effective, sustainable improvements in place. Make sure people understand what’s required of them to fix things and track actions until your goals are reached.
Once you’ve made all the improvements, run another survey
After you have the improvements in place, wait for things to settle down and run a follow-up survey. That way you can see if your changes have stuck.
Continually improve how you do things
Get into a habit of “continuous improvement.” That means regularly asking how things are going in your business, surveying customers and employees, taking their feedback, and creating actions to make things better. Once you have that habit, your business will always be tweaking and refining how it does things, for your benefit and that of your customers.