One of the hallmarks of any good business is the ability to keep customers satisfied so that they keep coming back and recommend that business to their friends. A key to achieving that kind of customer satisfaction is finding out what they think about the business in the first place and to hear what they think needs to be improved. The ability to gather and act on customer feedback is crucial for any company that wants to stay in business.
Two reasons you need to collect customer feedback
The first and most obvious reason behind collecting customer feedback is that you get invaluable information about what you are doing well at and what you can be doing better. If you take this feedback seriously and try to do better to meet the needs of customers, you’re going to be continuously improving the level of customer service you give to your customers.
A second reason is that the mere act of asking customers for feedback tells them that your business cares about their customers and keeping them satisfied. It shows them that you’re the type of business that really makes an effort to provide the best possible service.
The best way to get customer feedback
There are many ways to go about gathering feedback but most are largely ineffective. You could have an employee approach people as they leave with a clipboard and a quick survey to ask about their experience. But when people have accomplished what they came there to do, they are probably in a hurry to get to their next stop or return home and will try to avoid the person with the clipboard as much as possible.
You could try to call your guests on their phones but so many people screen their calls these days so you’ll waste a lot of time listening to dial tones. When you do occasionally reach someone, they’ll most likely be annoyed at the intrusion and give a negatively biased response if they agree to participate at all.
The vast majority of emailed surveys get sent straight to the junk mail folder by the email service’s spam filter and if it does make it to the inbox, there’s still an 80% chance it gets deleted without being opened.
The best way is one that’s unintrusive and convenient for customers. SMS (or text messaging) is the answer. Customers can respond to survey questions at their convenience without pressure to do so at a certain time. Since the nature of SMS already implies conciseness, customers are more likely to respond to a survey sent via text because they already have an expectation that it will very short and easy. More than 90% of customers say they’d participate in a customer satisfaction survey if it’s sent to them via text.
Tips for getting the best response
Even if you’re already using SMS to conduct your survey, there are a few tricks you can use to get an even better response. The first is to use a 1-10 (or 1-5) scale for responses as much as possible. Survey questions that require participants to type out a longer response are much less likely to be responded to at all but if the participant only has to type a one digit number in response, they most likely will. Another tip is to keep the total number of questions to an absolute minimum. Five questions is probably the absolute maximum and you’ll probably see better results with just three or four questions. The final question can be an option catch-all question: “is there anything else you’d like us to know about your recent visit/purchase?” Finally, you can throw in an incentive for people who complete your survey and make sure to include the incentive in the invitation.
A word of warning
Text messaging consumers is regulated by the FCC (Federal Communications Commission. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) put out by the FCC dictates that you cannot send even one text to a consumer without first receiving their express permission to do so. If you want to text out a survey to customers you’ll need to already have their permission or else come up with a strategy for gaining permission to text customers.
Customer service and chatbots
One final note: many businesses are beginning to use chatbots to communicate with customers via alternative text-based channels like Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp. Programming your chatbot to initiate a customer satisfaction survey soon after a customer-chatbot interaction is a great way to get feedback about your chatbot and gather valuable information that you can use to improve your chatbot for future customer interactions.