Anyone who ever conducted a customer satisfaction survey knows, drafting the questions for the survey is easier than drafting customers to answer them.
Surveys are important; they regulate processes, they can help you improve the customer’s experience, and they can provide valuable input.
But alas, they’re the last thing on the customer’s mind.
Don’t expect customers to answer your survey just because you need answers. Customers will agree to answer surveys only if the following requirements are met:
- They have some level of connection, either personal or emotional, to the person asking them to complete the survey.
- They’re under the impression they’re making a difference.
- They had a positive connection to your brand before the request.
- It’s as effortless as possible.
If all of the above conditions are met, nothing stands in your way, and you can easily invite customers to answer your surveys.
Of course, you’ll need to prepare in advance to meet the above conditions. Don’t think that you can wing it. To help you prepare, we’ve gathered a list of to-do’s and to-don’ts that guide you through the process and help you get valuable information.
As mentioned above, customers will participate in surveys if you invest in your connection to them. Here are a few ways to do that:
Express interest in the customer’s feedback
People will react positively towards your survey invitation only if they think that their feedback will make a difference. When associates ask customers to participate in a survey, no matter their answer, it’s important to convey from the get-go how much impact their opinion will have on survey results.
If the customer’s initial reaction to participating in the survey is negative, they can change their mind if they think they’re making a difference. If a customer is willing to participate in your survey, train your associates to ask questions around that feedback. Show the customers that someone is listening, that their opinions matter.
They will do their best to go into details and invest in describing their customer experience. You can even call them if they leave a number, ask them to elaborate on vague answers, and reward them for participating.
Ask every customer (not just those that are smiling)
Genuine feedback comes from many sources. If you’re only going to target happy customers, you’re missing out on the most sought-after customer feedback:
- The ones who are not impressed.
- The ones who experience difficulties.
- And the ones who will go to your competitors.
It’s difficult to approach customers who don’t signal you to approach, but you must train your associates to overcome their instinctive response to avoid unsatisfied customers.
Mention the program throughout the store, not just at the checkout
The checkout point is the easiest place to conduct a survey, or at least that’s what most people think. In most stores, it’s the only place that customers interact with you willingly (assuming they’re paying), but surveys at the checkout can cause several problems, some can even influence participants’ answers. For instance:
- Long queues near the checkout can anger people.
- When filling up a survey next to the exit, customers are eyeing the door and are not focused.
- Also, surveys conducted in certain areas steal attention from other store areas.
Customers are walking in every aisle in your store, not all of them are going to pay. If you pass on customers who are just browsing, you’re missing an important segment. Also, customers who walk around your store are not under any pressure; this allows them to focus on the survey and give you valuable feedback.
If you want customers to participate in your surveys and get real answers, avoid the below behaviors at all costs.
Never ask for a specific response
If your associates are going to ask customers to say they were “highly satisfied” or if they’re going to mention a score (we aim for 9s and 10s), you’re not only going get a NO for an answer, you’re also going to anger them and tarnish your brand’s name.
Asking customers for a specific rating in a survey may be asking them to waste their time. As explained above, customers would be eager to participate in activities that make a difference.
That’s why, when briefing your associates, it’s important to tell them the consequences of such actions and ensure they won’t act this way.
Working without goals
Your associates have several sales goals; you understand that to motivate them, you have to give them a target. The same goes for surveys. Without daily goals, your associate will procrastinate on this new survey task until they run out of time.
Asking customers to respond throughout the day provides a more accurate customer point of view. Surveys that are filled in hastily usually provide no real value.
That’s why you have to create a goal for responses per day (3 – 5 minimum). Tell associates to spread it throughout the day to get customers at different hours. This creates a bird’s eye view of customer perceptions and the way they’re changing throughout the day.
If customers have more challenges at certain hours, you’ll be able to identify why, fast.