Understanding the satisfaction levels of your customers is essential for any business. Whether this is in terms of customer retention or for making your service appealing to new customers, the thoughts of existing users are invaluable. Throughout this post I will take you through how to begin gathering customer feedback and the best channels to optimize results.
Where to begin?
The start is the most challenging part of any project. I am as guilty as anyone when it comes to overthinking the initial steps (he says whilst rewriting the opening paragraph of this blog!). When it comes to feedback, however, the options of where to begin are almost limitless. Is it best to use an online survey? Or maybe visit the customers in person? The source of the feedback should not be the initial concern, it should why you need it.
The question of why. Why are we going to all this effort? To gain valuable data, a clear plan is needed from the start and by making this plan, the data will have added significance. Although the importance of having a plan is necessary, this doesn’t mean that this needs to take hours or be of any real length. It can be as simple as a single line, such as: ‘How do we compete with our main rivals?’ or ‘Why we are losing so many customers each year?’. This gives us a focal point to bind our research around and provides a target for our questions.
1. Start Simple – Emails
Just because it is simple, doesn’t mean it can’t be effective. If it works, it will save you a lot of time and potential expense. Almost every campaign without fail, I would start with sending out an email to a large group of users. This does not need to be complicated. In fact, simpler the better.
‘Hi Tony, Just doing a quick email round to see if there is anything we can do to improve our service. How are you finding everything? Any concerns or improvements you would suggest? Many thanks, Tom’.
If this is something you have never tried, then you will pleasantly surprised by how willing customers are to give you feedback. Unless prompted, it is unlikely they would be forthcoming with valuable information, such as this. Once responses are collated, then you can start to analyse trends.
Trend analysis sounds complicated. It isn’t. Just read through the responses and see if anything keeps on coming up. If you don’t spot anything, then the answers you are looking for are unlikely to be in the email responses. This leads nicely onto stage 2. If you have already found what the answers you are looking for, then you may choose not to continue with stages 2 and 3 (But don’t stop reading now…)
2. Single Click Feedback
Time to pimp up your emails.
If you use NetHelpDesk, single click feedback and customer surveys can both be added to your email templates, if not there are other great tools such as Customer Thermometer, which can achieve similar results.
Single click feedback is the process of adding images (smiley faces) to your emails, which when clicked immediately log a satisfaction level. The single most important benefit, is the ease to the user of giving feedback. Who actually wants to sit filling out a long survey form? With the feedback, one click and this gives you an indication of the customers happiness – you can expect a level of engagement of around 50%! Once clicked, this will take the user to a web page where they can add additional comments. Simple, yet an invaluable tool in your quest for customer satisfaction.
Emails complete. You will now have knowledge from the widest range of your users and the highest engagement rate. However still need more information? Stage 3.
3. Direct Engagement
Emails give you a great overview of satisfaction and will give you range of responses to investigate further. This is where direct engagement comes in. Although this can be time consuming, the email campaigns should give you a group of users to focus upon. Once you know who you need to talk to then you need to decided whether this is a phone call, on site visit or a focus group. This depends on your preference, budget and how business critical the research is.
Direct engagement allows for you to go into far greater details on points outlined in the emails and really focus in on your initial question of ‘Why’ you are getting feedback in the first place. Mission complete. Research obtained. Now to use this knowledge to further your business.