Updated November 12, 2019
A customer satisfaction survey gives sales teams and C-level executives an insider’s view into what their customers are thinking. This can play a vital role in measuring ROI and formulating strategy.
However, the survey has to be satisfying in its way. A feedback survey that frustrates customers or only attracts the squeakiest of wheels will do more harm than good. Knowing why a customer satisfaction survey is important can help you understand how to improve customer experience with yours.
- What is a Customer Satisfaction Survey
- Customer Experience Management and the Sales Funnel
- What’s the Real Impact of a Follow-up?
- How to Link Survey Questions to your KPIs
- How Industry Leaders Use Customer Satisfaction Surveys
- The Art of an Effective Customer Satisfaction Survey
- Conclusion: Customer Feedback Surveys Keep Your Business Competitive
What is a Customer Satisfaction Survey?
A customer satisfaction survey is a follow-up auditing tool with multiple-choice, open-ended, or simple “yes or no” questions. The goal of a customer survey is to create a global set of metrics covering the quality of customer service, products, and other points of contact.
Customer survey questions should offer meaningful, actionable feedback about a product/service. They should tell a company how they can improve the quality of their services and their contact with customers.
To get the feedback that a company or a brand is seeking, the online survey must be engaging. It must provoke more than superficial thoughts and concerns from customers.
A customer service satisfaction survey needs to capture feedback from both your most satisfied customers and most frustrated clients if it’s going to give you high-quality metrics. Managing your customer experience starts with knowing how your customers feel.
Customer Experience Management and the Sales Funnel
Every sales manager on the planet knows the importance of nurturing leads and new customers. Successful sales managers understand that once you close a lead, the work of a customer journey starts all over again. That’s because, for most companies, loyalty needs as much nurturing as those initial leads trickling down your funnel turning into sales.
96% of marketers are touting the importance of customer experience management because they know that customer service is vital to building loyalty. Building loyalty requires your company to learn about your customers, listen to them, and build a data set around what they’re looking for. While you might think you know the ideal way to approach your customers, they’re the ones who should drive the conversation.
A well-constructed customer survey should be dynamic. You have to create surveys to approach customers who you’ve dealt with for the first time and those who have returned to your business. Depending on the types of products or services you offer, you could ask types of questions in an exit survey to customers who didn’t decide to work with you to learn where you went wrong.
Let each point of contact with your business inform the way your marketing and sales teams roll out a product or service. Integrate the data from your surveys with your CRM software and your CXM tool. This ensures that you widen your funnel and lose fewer people between the decision making phase and the purchase phase.
Once they’ve exited through the purchase phase, your customer relationship management tool should loop them back up to the top of the funnel to push them through the process again. Follow-Up contact will bring them back into the loop and increase their satisfaction levels.
Data from customer satisfaction surveys can be plugged into management software to calculate your Net Promoter Score. Your NPS will gauge customer loyalty using just a single survey. Other types of customer satisfaction surveys will measure satisfaction via a CSAT score as your survey result.
What’s the Real Impact of a Follow-Up?
When you get customer feedback, you need to do more than just assure your clients you’ll consider their thoughts. If you show a customer that you’re willing to implement their feedback substantially, your customers are 97% more likely to be loyal to you.
Satisfaction surveys are a great customer follow-up solution because they give your customers and clients a voice. The feedback survey lets them know that their opinion matters.
A strong customer retention strategy takes customer feedback as a key goal of its implementation. Through texts, emails, and phone calls, you can tell customers that you appreciate their business and find out what they think. Most people will be fine with an imperfect product but if a better feature comes along before they lock in brand loyalty, you’ll risk losing them.
While some people feel that their smartphone is a sacred and personal space, still more than 60% of users opt-in for SMS-based discounts. That means that the customer base will respond to texts when they can see real value. If you can link value to your follow-up texts or social media messages, you can create loyal customers from inside of a customer’s pocket.
Emails that contain offers result in a nearly 50% increase in revenue than a follow-up email without one. If you want to have an effective customer outreach strategy, connect their satisfaction to your email strategy. Include a deal or an offer and you’ll get the feedback that you’re looking for from your follow-up email.
Consider adding a quick customer follow-up to every customer support call or live chat interaction. Even if a customer leaves dissatisfied, you’ll get the chance to let them air out their grievances. While you won’t get them to feel very satisfied, they offer valuable feedback to add to your market research
If a customer has called you before to receive customer service, make sure that you follow up with them. If they’re pleased with the service you offered, they’ll take the time to lend a few moments to your follow up survey. However, if you don’t provide value at the end of the survey, there’s little chance this will encourage them to cycle through your sales funnel again.
How to Link Survey Questions to Your KPIs
You need to learn about more than whether or not your products and services fit the needs of your lead. You also need to learn about whether or not your lead is a good fit for you. That’s part of qualifying your leads once you’ve generated them or collected them through previous sales.
Start with questions that let you know whether or not they were a one-off purchaser or if there’s the potential of buying your products again. Getting negative feedback from someone with no intention of ever buying products and services like yours ever again might not be useful. You can weed out this data and get right to the meaningful stats.
Match your customer satisfaction survey questions to these five KPIs to ensure you get the most out of your sales department.
1. Incremental Sales by Campaign
When your business is running multiple campaigns, they have to be more than just an effort to earn you revenue. To gauge customer satisfaction, match your data about the lead with basic information about the product they purchased.
You should already know how which products they’ve purchased. Compose customer satisfaction surveys with multiple-choice questions to find out how much they spent or plan to spend. Pair that with their satisfaction and you’ll know whether your campaign is attracting the right market.
2. Average Revenue per Unit
Ask questions that lead you to sharper metrics around the amount of money you’ll make from each customer. There are some pretty straightforward ways to ask this question without being off-putting.
Ask survey questions to find out how much your customers have spent with you in the past. Ask them how much they plan to spend in the future. This gives you a figure allowing you to calculate how much you’re making from each lead.
3. Product Performance
With questions about product performance, you can discover whether your overall spending to create and market a product is paying off. While sales figures give you one aspect of performance, you could have your marketing department to thank. A strong marketing department could sell a product no matter the quality.
With customer survey questions regarding specific product performance and some open-ended responses, you give a chance to get meaningful feedback. Your company also learns more about the life cycle of a product, which is useful to almost every department.
4. Sales by Contact Method
There are a few ways to match customer satisfaction with this KPI. Knowing which contact method works best for your sales team keeps you from wasting your budget and it also keeps customers from becoming irritated.
Ask simply which contact method they prefer to receive notice and deals at. You’ll find that your customers will want to receive up-to-the-moment SMS updates about when their package is arriving. However, they might not want deals and product updates to come through the same channel.
If you massage your message properly and balance out your outreach, you could get in touch in a way that increases your profit without irritating your customers.
5. Lead Conversion Ratio
Figuring out if your lead conversion ratio is stable can help you predict your growth in the future. While you might have hit a stride with a certain marketing tactic or a hot product, that lead conversion ratio must sustain over time.
The overall satisfaction of your customers, their likelihood to return, and the number of impressions should be matched to your marketing efforts. Form customer survey questions that let you know when you can expect them to visit you again.
Input this data into your CRM software or CXM tool and you’ll find you have useful data for planning your next project.
How Industry Leaders Use Customer Satisfaction Surveys
Most industry leaders are shortening the time between customer interactions and follow-ups. While some bigger ticket items might require customers to spend time with a product or service to figure out how they feel, short interactions require shorter cycles. You may not know how you feel about manufacturing equipment for a few months, but you know how you feel about a cab ride immediately.
Here are some survey examples used by major service providers.
Following every single ride, Uber asks both of its customers how they feel about the experience. They want to give their drivers a heads up about problem customers before they pick them up. They want to also ensure the pick-ups a safe ride in their vehicles.
Uber uses just two simple customer service satisfaction questions to ensure engagement. Rather than trying to dive deeply into expository data, they make things easier for themselves and their customers. If you click anything less than a full five-star rating, you’ll get a prompt with some common complaints.
Through this dual survey, Uber learns more about their product and their customers.
Few companies have quite as much data about their customer habits as Amazon does. However, one of the keys to their success is a constant effort to improve.
They also use their data to aid purchases for future customers through customer feedback. It helps to lower the number of returns and empowers customers in their purchasing.
With simple questions, they can find out how their shipping services are performing, the quality of their sellers, and the accuracy of item descriptions. Their customer satisfaction survey template is barebones but that makes it easy to use.
Skype is one of those services that ask for immediate feedback about the quality of their service. During a video or audio call, they have data about problems in the connection or a slower pace of data transfer. They can pair this information with the quality of the call as perceived by the user.
With just a quick star rating and a few checkboxes covering common audio and video issues, they collect information quickly. Instead of making their customers deduce the problem, they can see which regions they’re servicing best and make adjustments with future iterations of their software.
The Art of an Effective Customer Satisfaction Survey
It’s important to adhere to good practices when it comes to a customer satisfaction survey. The best practices for one company might not be right for your brand. However, there are some basic principles to implement if you want to engage customers in a way that’s useful for both parties.
If you mention a stain on your shirt when you start a conversation with someone, they won’t be able to look at anything else. The same thing is true if you mention any negatives associated with your products, services, or company name.
Don’t set up a question with a negative perspective, forcing users to respond with a “yes” to it. Instead, the right question to ask should come from a positive perspective and if your customers need to say more, leave a text area for more exposition.
Asking vague or unclear questions will make your customers frustrated with a customer survey. Your follow-up should be short and sweet, with as many direct statements as possible.
If you ask customers open-ended questions like “What did you like about our service?”, you’ll end up with a customer caught like a deer in headlights. They’re likely to give you a vague answer to your vague question. Since your survey should have clear goals, ask directly about the aspect of your service you want to know about.
Trust Your Customer
When you ask leading questions that give you a specific answer that you’re looking for, you’re not getting the data you need. You’ll be massaging the data and putting your finger on the rating scale. You want to get high response rates but if you push on the data, you won’t get a real understanding of their level of satisfaction.
If you have a question you might think has an obvious answer, list the survey responses in alphabetical or reverse alphabetical order so that they take a moment to think. Breaking away from an order of perceived importance gives your customers more autonomy.
Customer Feedback Surveys Keep Your Business Competitive
While customer feedback surveys mostly play an inward-facing role, they keep your finger on the pulse of how your customers feel. When you collect data and connect it to your CMS software, you get a clearer picture of how you’re performing. You’ll have insights into which products and services are best suited to which markets while building trust with your customers.
Your reputation will be built wherever your customers are. Consider tools that integrate with social media where you can still project positivity by trying to build relationships with detractors. By meeting them where they are, you lower the customer effort score in how hard they have to work to have their problems solved.
Check out our guide to the best CRM software options available for businesses to find one that integrates with your current setup.