Top-Shelf Tip No. 165:

"Customers don’t expect you to be perfect. They do expect you to fix things when they go wrong."

Donald Porter

Five Tips For Optimizing Customer Feedback Surveys

We experience them every day—when we pay the bill at a restaurant, when we check out at a department store, when we purchase a big ticket item, such as a car. It's the customer survey. It seems that we are inundated with them at every turn.

Promotional Consultant Today shares these five tips for ensuring customer feedback that you can act on.

Collect feedback across all channels, both formally and informally. Omnichannel brands have multiple modes of customer engagement, so it's essential to reach out to customers on every channel a company uses. Surveys should be sent to customers after every service interaction, preferably over the channel that was used. Surveys are an excellent way to present structured questions to customers that brands have already outlined ahead of time to enhance service. However, the prevalence of social media channels has made it increasingly necessary to monitor and analyze feedback on these channels, while social listening tools enable companies to track and analyze unstructured data (such as informal feedback) that might be taking place on social media.

Take criticism seriously and reach out to unhappy customers. A customer may be highly satisfied with a brand and give the company a high score with just a little criticism for a minor issue. Some brands might tend to ignore such minor criticisms, but such a reaction is potentially harmful to long-term loyalty. Every single negative comment should be taken seriously as they are valuable insights into how to make a satisfied customer even happier with a brand. No comments should fall through the cracks, and every point should be considered an opportunity to improve the customer experience.

Send out feedback surveys at varying intervals. Customer feedback surveys should be sent at varying intervals and for different purposes. When sending out a post-contact survey, for example, a customer may agree at the start or end of a customer service exchange to complete a satisfaction survey detailing the experience they just had. This kind of survey allows a company to monitor and improve an individual agent's performance as well as follow the case history of a specific client to better provide personalized service. With a periodic survey, customers may be contacted on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis to provide overall feedback, which may be critical to brands' marketing campaigns as customer preferences are considered in product and service development.

Ask all the important questions. Make sure to ask any important questions and keep surveys concise-it's usually best to ask a maximum of 10 questions or else customers may not have the time or patience to respond. Providing links to surveys through any channel of contact is a practical way to get customers to follow up. Use a consistent scale to make it easy to understand, and make the questions specific to the information your brand needs. Lastly, allow customers to offer qualitative responses with a free response section-they may offer insights on topics your survey questions did not cover.

Put the feedback to good use. Customer feedback may shine light on the overall performance of a company as a whole. It's therefore important to share feedback across all departments to improve the customer experience, while using feedback regarding products and services can be key to developing more customer-centric products and services.

Customer feedback is vital to understanding how companies may improve the customer experience, what products and services consumers are looking for, and how brands can foster long-term loyalty through customer-centric practices.

Source: Golriz Golkar is a Paris, France-based professional blogger and education consultant.

Compiled by Cassandra Johnson

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