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Want to Improve Your Customer Service? Do a Customer Survey

How good is your customer service? You might think it’s great, but what if your customers think differently? Some customers will complain about bad service, but others will just suffer quietly (and take their business elsewhere). You’ll never know how most of your customers feel about your service until you ask. Here are some ideas for customer surveys that work.

Keep it short. Customers are busy so whether you’re using an online survey (a quick Internet search will uncover several good options for small businesses) or a paper comment card, keep it brief and focused. For instance, you might want to focus on a few questions about how helpful your store’s clerks are, or how easy to navigate your ecommerce checkout process is. Use radio button or check-the-box options so customers can answer quickly. (Always offer an option to provide additional comments in case your customer’s issue doesn’t fit the format.)

Want to keep it really short? Do an instant survey by asking a question via Twitter (have users tweet their responses with a certain hashtag so you can track them easily) or on Facebook. Users who engage with you on social media are likely to be loyal and invested in your business, making them a good target for surveys. They’re also likely to influence others, so their opinions are important.

Consider the timing. A great time to survey your customer is right after you’ve provided service or sold them the product. For example, a retailer or ecommerce business could include a URL on the printed receipt or a link on the e-mailed receipt where the customer can go to take a quick survey about the experience. In a restaurant, provide comment cards with the check. You get the idea.

If your product or service is more complex, however—such as a B2B solution that takes a while to fully implement—you may want to wait a few months to survey the customer. This gives them time to gauge their satisfaction with the product and your service. You can also do surveys on a regular basis, such as sending out an annual or biannual survey to your regular customers, or do them after you make a change to your business, such as redesigning your website.

Offer them incentives. Surveys take time to complete, so you’ll get more results if you offer customers a small incentive. This could be the chance to win a product or service, or a coupon or discount good for their next purchase.

Follow up. If customers have specific issues or take time to provide additional information, contact them to follow up and probe for more information about what they think you could do better.

Act on what you learn. There’s no point in doing a survey if you ignore what customers are saying about you. Even if it hurts to hear the truth, you need to pay attention or you’ll lose customers.

Spread the word. Of course, you’ll want to share the results of your survey with your customer service team. They want to know how they’re doing, and what they can do to improve.

Image by Flickr user Warren Sukernek (Creative Commons)


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