To avoid hurting anyone’s feelings, most of us do something like this all the time: “How was your meal?” “Fine.” “Is there anything else I can get for you?” “No, thank you.” Really, though, we were somewhat dissatisfied, but not enough to complain. … Is that customer feedback? Well, yes, technically it is. But it’s not enough. The best ways to obtain customer feedback would help your business improve and help you to identify possible downfalls.
5 Best Ways to Obtain Customer Feedback
1. Pay Attention
As you’re working with your clients or customers, pay attention to their mannerisms and behavior. Make note of something that they might have said or done that led you to believe something needs to change.
2. Talk with Them
If you see a look of concern on their faces, ask them what that’s about. If they look thrilled, try to find out what has them especially happy.
3. Send Surveys
Now here’s where things can get a little tricky. When done properly, however, sending surveys can be one of the best ways to obtain customer feedback. Here are a few things you should know first.
• Expect very few responses.
If you’re sending out surveys, expect only a small percentage of the recipients to respond.
The average response rate is 10-15 percent, but it can be more than 85 percent when the recipients are motivated, the survey is well-executed, and the ideal population is targeted to receive that survey.
If you’re sending them out through email, that’s great. Include a link to the survey in the email to make it simple to access. If you’re sending them out through traditional mail, make it so they do not have to pay for the return postage. Traditional mail might be more difficult, more expensive and less user-friendly these days, however, so consider using an online survey instead.
• Make them short, sweet and to-the-point.
Most people don’t have the time or patience to answer dozens of questions. It’s hard enough to get people to respond to surveys to begin with, so the easier you make the surveys, the better. Limit the survey to only a handful of questions, and your introduction shouldn’t be too long either.
• Focus on specifics.
While your surveys should include only a handful of questions, those questions must be relevant and important as well. However, you do not want so many varied responses to the questions that it all becomes overwhelming for you to track. A good way to do avoid this would be to send out only a couple specific questions for, say, six months, and then work with your team to come up with other relevant questions for the following six months and so on. You can go back and recycle the older questions as well to make up for changes in time regarding such things as technology and your clientele base.
• Send them to a small group.
Because your survey questions will be specific, they will probably be relevant to only a certain group of people. If you send them to only that group, you can personalize the survey emails and make the recipients feel like their responses will mean something to you. As a result, there’s a good chance you will get more responses from that small group than a wide range of customers. Besides, sending them to a broader group of people would lead to a waste of time and resources anyway.
It’s important to keep in mind that people are more likely to respond to surveys if they were disappointed, while people who are happy will just let it be. In order to get the surveys back from satisfied customers, make sure you give them some incentives and let them know how important it is that you respond. For example, tell them that you will rewarded by your supervisor if you receive a certain number of surveys back. They probably want you to receive praise from your supervisor, so knowing that you deserve it, they’ll be likely to help you get it.
4. Track your Results
Keep track of the results of surveys, phone calls, emails and even personal communications. See if you can discover patterns – both positive and negative. Keep up the positive trends, but work on improving what surveys show are possible negatives.
5. Consult with other Members of your Team
Don’t only analyze your own communications with your own clients. You might be the rock of the business, while your employees or coworkers are receiving more negative reviews. Regularly communicate with each other and share the results of your customer feedback.
Contact Trident QMS for Additional Information
If you need more information about the best ways to obtain customer feedback, let us know. We can be reached through our Trident QMS website or by phone at 520-314-4344. We will be happy to provide you with more specific tips that you can use in your business.