The customer experience is critical. Since there’s so much competition in every marketplace, your potential customers have never had more choice. If your business doesn’t satisfy them, they’re going to go elsewhere. That’s why it’s vital to meet and exceed the needs of your customers, and one of the best ways to do that is to get feedback from them.
This has one critical caveat though – What do you want to know?
It’s not as simple of a question as you would think. For example, you might want to know how customers feel about your service, but what will you do with that information when you get it? Without understanding how you’re going to use feedback, survey results just become wallpaper.
The questions you ask need to drive the actions you’re going to take.
The primary purposes of gathering feedback
There are two main drivers for getting feedback from your customers:
- To check everything is functioning as it should – if your customer support processes are already working well, you’d use this type of feedback to make sure they continue to do so.
- To fix an issue or broken process – if you’ve got issues with customer service and support, this type of feedback can provide insights to help you fix the problem.
The questions you ask will vary depending on what you want to do. If you’re just checking that things are working as intended, you might ask what they thought of your overall service. If you want to fix an issue, your questions need to be focused on that.
Questions should inform the actions you need to take
There’s a fundamental connection between the questions you ask and what you do with the results. If you want to fix an issue, your questions should provide feedback that can be used to improve the process.
For example, if you’re trying to identify issues with products not working as intended, you’d need to find out about customer expectations and then translate those into specifications for when you further refine your products.
Remember, don’t ask a question unless you have actions in place to deal with the feedback.
Utilize existing information to create targeted questions
You already have some valuable information you can use to learn the questions you need to ask. Talk to your customer service and support area, look through help desk tickets, and read responses. It’s very likely you’ll uncover lots of useful insights to target your questions.
Make sure your questions are few in number, quick, and easy to answer
Customers typically don’t like responding to surveys, and they’ll often need to be incentivized. Even then, you should keep your questions to an absolute minimum (in other words, have enough that you can identify and fix an issue, but not too many that no one gives you feedback). You also need to make sure customers can answer them quickly and easily, for example through a ratings system. These are what we call “quantitative” answers.
Give customers the ability to leave comments
There’s another type of answer, known as “qualitative.” These are free text responses and comments that can often provide powerful insight. That’s the sort of data you can get from reviewing help desk tickets, but it’s also worth asking customers to leave free text comments and feedback.
Getting, understanding, and acting on feedback is a large and diverse area. That’s why we’ll be exploring this more over the coming weeks: so you can get the insight you need to get and keep delighted customers.