How to Get the Most Out of Your Customer Surveys

Posted by Linda Caudle

3/19/14 10:20 AM

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One of the most basic concepts in all of business is that to be successful, your product or service has to give people what they want. But like many ideas or strategies, the fact that it’s easy to explain doesn’t mean it’s simple to execute.

Obviously, the best way to find out what your customers want is to ask, and that typically means conducting a survey in one form or another. But conducting these inquiries requires investing resources, meaning you’ll want to make a concerted effort to maximize the information you gather. With that in mind, here are three tips for getting the most out of your customer surveys.

Invite Your Customers to Tell a Story
Even in a survey that primarily asks for ratings from 1-5, be sure to include some open-ended questions to invite detailed explanations of what a customer did or didn’t like about the product or service you provided. In a vacuum, a number ranking has limited value because you can’t actually adjust—whether that means correcting a problem or replicating a positive experience—your practices based on a single numeral.

Never Forget
Business managers typically have quite a bit on their plates, so evaluating voice of the customer data the moment it comes in is not always practical or even possible. But if you do need to put the information aside, make sure you come back to it. Tucking it away in some dark corner is a waste of both resources and the opportunity to improve your practices.

Always Follow Up
Research from Inc. Magazine shows that acquiring a new customer is at least five times more expensive than making a sale to an already existing customer, so you’ll want to do everything in your power to secure the business you have already generated. Follow-up communications help you keep those customers in two distinct ways. First, having a phone conversation often provides deeper insight into whatever a customer’s thinking than a mail or online service. Second, simply placing a follow-up call shows you care and increases customer satisfaction.

Do you have a handy tip for getting the most from a survey? Let us know!

Topics: customer surveys