Do you just assume? Why not ask them?
Regardless of your business type, we all have customers. It is their purchase of our goods or services that allows us to be in business. In today’s tight and highly competitive business environment, making our customers happy by creating a unique customer experience has never been more critical. Happy customers become repeat customers, and happy repeat customers will refer us to friends and family.
How do you determine whether or not your customers are happy? Do you wait for them to shop again? Do you assume that because you are getting very few complaint calls that your customers must be happy? Research has shown that only about 6% of unsatisfied customers actually complain. They just go elsewhere the next time they shop for the products or services you offer.
Why not just ask your customers? There are many different ways to find out from your customers if they were satisfied with their experience.
1. Phone Call
You or someone in your company can follow up with each customer with a personal phone call. People in our community are usually too polite and courteous to complain to you on the phone especially when their complaint is with you, the one making the call. Still, genuine heart to heart phone conversations can be an effective way to find out, if done correctly, with a big emphasis on the “if”. Don’t cop out on this personal touch opportunity by sending an email and waiting for a response.
2. Survey Cards
You can provide your customer with a customer survey card with a series of questions that ask “how did we do”. Usually you provide a 1 to 5 or 1 to 10 scale for the answers. I would suggest that you also leave room for additional comments. Usually that is where you will really find out how happy they were with their experience. Whether you send the card/mailer through the mail, leave it in their home if it is a service tech or delivery person, or simply hand it to the customer in person, always make sure that the return card is already postage paid by you.
3. Online Surveys
There are many good anonymous online surveys available that can be used too. Just Google “online surveys” and you will find a bunch out there. If you use one of these, make sure you keep it brief, and even consider adding a progress bar. The progress bar shows the person answering the survey how much more they must fill out before the survey is complete. Survey abandonment is one of the problems with surveys that feed the respondent only one question at a time, so if you can show them with the progress bar how quickly they can be done, that will help get them to complete the survey.
Regardless of the method you use, be prepared to hear responses that may be painful to bear. If you use phone or mailed card surveys, you have the opportunity to try and resolve the issues or dissatisfaction the customer has. The key with a dissatisfied customer is to respond quickly. The longer they stew about something they are unhappy about, the more of their friends and family they will tell about the bad experience. Studies suggest that when a person has a good experience, they will tell about 4 people. If they have a bad experience they will tell an average of 13, but today with the internet and social media, they can literally tell thousands.
The savvy business owner will use survey responses to make internal improvements within their companies for those things that seem to be recurring responses on returned surveys. Customer surveys truly can make your company better. Why wait till you see a brutal review on Google or Angie’s list? Why not ask the customer as quickly as you can, “how did we do?”