How satisfied are your customers today and are you already doing what they don’t like with those prospects in your pipeline?
Reinforcing bad behaviors and issues that cause customers to complain are life-threatening to a business. You need to know how customers feel and how to improve operations to keep them happy. The best way to do that is to perform customer satisfaction research. So, we’re looking at the five main steps in performing that research and analysis to help you get the right info with the right survey and use it to make smarter decisions.
Define Metrics and Goals
Happy customers matter to every business, but why does having your current customers happy matter to your business?
It’s a straightforward question but can be answered in many ways. You may be trying to validate a business model. You could see new revenue opportunities and want to know if people trust you to offer those. Or you want to know how well you’re doing and where to improve so customers in your funnel now can become lifelong buyers.
Define what you want to learn so you can then look at how to track it. Instead of trying to tackle everything at once, prioritize the metrics most important to you and your business. Having a list of 12 items can make it difficult to track and analyze data, and even harder to make decisions.
So, match the metrics you want to track to your specific goals. For example, if you’re aiming to increase how many customers make repeat purchases, you can focus on how they view your customer service and ability to resolve issues.
Create Your Survey
When you have a handle on what you want to learn, it’s time to build out a way to get the information you need. There are a variety of different customer satisfaction surveys available, and they’re designed to give different levels of information and detail.
Customer Satisfaction Scores (CSATs) are a straightforward way to get a general look at your audience. They usually ask about overall performance and overall satisfaction. Typically, these are limited to one or just a few questions such as “How was our service today?” and give you a ranking of 1 to 5. Customers click a number and then can leave a comment.
The way you get targeted data from a CSAT is to limit when you ask. So, if you’re worried about help desk performance, then you ask it at the end of a customer service chat. Ecommerce companies usually send these out via email after a purchase or a short time after an order arrives. It’s a great starting point and may help you discover a need to dive further.
If you’re in the B2B space, among the most popular tools is the net promoter score (NPS). The NPS survey is also typically brief and asks how likely your customers would be to recommend you to a colleague or friend. Using a scale of 1 to 10, people responding 9 or 10 are considered “promoters” and most likely to recommend you. People lower than a six are most likely to not work with you once the current contract is finished, while those in between are unsure.
Methodologies and techniques can depend on your goals, customers, and business segment. Because customer satisfaction is so common a need, there are plenty of survey builders available to you. Solutions like Zonka provide direct help before you create a survey to guide you to the right questions to ask, how to deliver surveys, and suggest times to send your survey. That takes a lot of guesswork out of the process and can help you gather more results.
Finalize Policies and Gather Results
The tool you use to create your survey will give you options on how to collect the results across all of your customers who answer. Determine the option that works best for you and run a test to verify that the data is collected and stored properly.
Before you send it out to your customers, you’ll want to walk over the survey with your team. Discuss what it will collect and who should get the notifications or other details. This impacts the management of how you gather results. For example, if your virtual assistant is a contractor from another company, there may be data privacy concerns around using their email address to get results or notifications.
In many cases, it can be best to create a specific email address for survey results. This makes it easy to control access and assign specific people or teams to gather and use your data.
It can ensure customer privacy and make it easier for you to look at data in the aggregate as well as drill down to how you’re doing with different customer segments.
Standardize Answers and Information
Before you start analyzing the data itself, you’ve got to get it in the right shape for comparisons. Some services will help you rank and sort your data, though you may need a team to go through different elements manually, too.
Just be sure to always keep a clean copy of your data so you can try different analytical techniques — thankfully, most tools will create this copy for you!
If you had open-ended questions that generate unstructured data — such as asking someone “Why?” and then letting them write in a text box — determine how you want to handle these items. Either manually or through analytics programs, you’ll generally want to at least capture the topic and sentiment, then grouping these items around those.
It’s okay to use broad categories such as positive/negative or praise/complaint. This makes it easier for high-level stats, such as overall satisfaction for different areas, while giving you a chance to drill down as needed.
Cleaning out blank spaces, non-answers, and other mistakes can help your team quickly look at data and avoid errors in any analytical tools. Assigning things a value, such as positive/negative categories, also makes it easier to sort your data and perform analysis.
Look for Patterns of Problems
Actually working with and reviewing customer sentiment runs the gamut. You might be able to just focus on NPS numbers and determine your next step. Or, you could have enough data and variance that you need a strong analytical team and toolset to generate understanding.
At its heart, you’ll be looking for patterns. Knowing what people love can be refreshing and help you feel like you’re on the right path. Understanding what people don’t like is just as useful because it’ll know where to make changes.
It’s worth having the right talent in-house or hiring someone to review this data to help you establish patterns, trends, and warning signs.
Build a Plan to Address Issues and Follow Up
Once you’ve generated the insight, it’s time to work on a game plan to address them. You’ve got to do something with what you learn for this whole thing to be worthwhile. In the end, it’s a company and leadership decision on what will happen and how to prioritize each step.
The one element that tends to be universal is the need to thank customers who participate and let them know they’ve been heard. If you’re taking a step to address their specific concerns, let them know that, too. It gives you a great chance to follow up with their worries and potentially increase their customer lifetime value.
There’s a lot of work to be done, but it can be the thing that’ll help you break revenue and service goals for the rest of your year.