Customer Survey Best Practices
Last week, I asked several printer owners the question, “How are you using customer surveys to coach your team, drive performance and engage your customers?” I hope you appreciate the following unedited, in-the-trenches, e-mail responses shared by these owners.
Dallas—“As I receive each reply to a survey, I respond to the client, thanking them for taking the time to complete the survey. If they’ve responded with any feedback other than checking the appropriate buttons, then I’ll address that also. In the survey, we’ve listed other products and services we offer that they may or may not purchase from us. In the response e-mail I ask for an appointment to meet and discuss these areas with them.
“I just met with a client today who did not know we did anything other than print, and I am now pricing marketing items for her because of the survey. I doubt that I would have had the opportunity to discuss as many other products and services with her without the survey.
“I share with my staff both the positive and negative feedback from customers. This is a good way to recognize employees for a job well done when a customer compliments them. When there is anything negative, we address it immediately inside the center and with the customer in hopes of rectifying the situation and keeping them as a customer. Without the survey responses, I may not know of customer issues. It is valuable to obtain customer feedback as well as letting customers know of other products/services, and getting the opportunity to discuss these options with them.”
Mesa, AZ—“I just implemented the surveys for my other 2 centers this month after trying it out in my Mesa center for the last 5 months. We are very happy with the results. It allows us to identify any customer service problems we may be encountering quickly and it gives us a chance to have a discussion with our customers about additional work we can perform for them. My salespeople and managers love the feedback.”
Kansas City MO—“Here’s my 30 second reply. It is a cost effective way to:
• stay in touch with customers,
• follow-up without being obtrusive,
• show we care, and
• provides opportunity to cross sell products.
“As far as how we use it.”
“We share all responses with our staff in our daily meetings—both positive and negative. It gives staff a better understanding of how our customers perceive us, which I think is KEY. We assume we always know what customers think, but we don’t really.”
Denton, TX—“Perhaps the biggest benefit to us has been the feedback I can give to my staff, both collectively and individually. I generally review results of the survey with the staff in our daily Work in Process (WIP) meeting. When an individual survey response praises an employee, I frequently will simply share that with the employee. We did have one response praising our shop dog. I did not review it with him as he would have expected a dog treat.
“We have been fortunate that there has been very little negative feedback that required a change on our part. The negative responses do allow us to give proper feedback and follow up with customers. Overall, we have achieved outstanding results in our customer satisfaction. This is a confirmation to us that our business and customer service policies are sound.”
Best Practice in Customer Surveying Summarized:
• Leverage electronic surveying for speed and convenience.
• Keep surveys short and to the point.
• Don’t badger repeat buyers by over surveying.
• Keep the process safe and inviting for candid feedback.
• Automate the setup and survey launch process whenever possible.
• Share results with your team.
• Follow-up with customers in timely manner.
• Surveying should be a process and not an event.
• Benchmark performance and do something with data collected.
The best-run businesses insert surveying into their business as a core process, viewing each survey response as a gift. They do something with the data to energize their team through direct, unbiased feedback. They benchmark performance over time to drive performance.
Good luck in 2011 as you capture customer feedback and drive business results.