The Listicle Issue
In This Issue
Writing a good survey isn't hard, but there are some gotchas if you've never done it before. Here are a few rules of thumb to help avoid the biggest mistakes:
Keep the survey short:
- Phone interviews should be under 5 minutes
- Online surveys should fit on a single screen without scrolling
- IVR surveys should be 5 questions or fewer
- Keep the questions short and use simple language. Avoid jargon or brand names, since there's a good chance customers won't recognize them.
- Always begin by asking the customer to rate the company as a whole, even if that's not what the survey is about. This gives customers who have a problem with the company a chance to get it off their chest so they won't penalize the representative.
- Put the most important questions (usually your tracking metrics) near the beginning. That way they are less likely to be biased by other questions and more likely to be answered.
- Be as consistent as possible with your rating scale. For example, don't switch from a 0-10 scale to a 1-5 scale.
- In the U.S., it's conventional for higher numbers to be better. Don't make "1" best and "10" worst as it's likely to confuse people. (This rule may differ in other cultures).
- Always have at least one free response question.
- Plan on making regular changes to the survey. You won't get it perfect the first try.
Following these rules won't necessarily give you a great survey, but breaking these rules will almost always make it worse.
A customer feedback process doesn't end when the survey is done and the report is generated. In order to be useful, the survey has to start other wheels in motion. Here are five other processes you should be triggering with your customer surveys:
- Service Recovery: When a customer has a problem which hasn't been solved, this needs to start a service recovery process to make things right. Usually this involves having a high-level supervisor or someone from a Service Recovery team reach out to the customer, find out the root cause of the customer's problem, and offer whatever resolution is appropriate.
- Coaching and Training: Customer feedback can be a powerful tool for coaching and training customer-facing employees if its deployed properly. The ideal is to get the feedback in real time, coach on the same day as the customer interaction, and use a combination of the customer survey and a record of the original customer experience (i.e. call recording, store video, chat log, etc.) to provide a 360 degree view of the event.
- Process Improvement: Survey data should be reviewed regularly to look for roadblocks to good customer experiences. Responses to open-ended questions are a great place to start, and tracking how those responses change over time can lead to great insight into what's becoming more or less of an issue.
- Quality Review: Quality review in a contact center (i.e. listening to call recordings and scoring them) complements customer feedback. The quality review tells you what happened and the survey tells you how the customer felt about it. Whenever possible, surveys and quality review should be performed on the same call, so that specific actions by the customer service rep can be correlated to higher or lower customer satisfaction.
- Survey Improvement: The customer feedback process itself needs to be continually evaluated. Decide which questions are useful, which are not useful, and what new things might need to be added. The survey needs to change over time to match the changes in the business needs and customer expectations.
All five of these are important for an effective customer feedback program, though the implementation will depend on your particular organization. Some companies have very structured programs, for example tracking all service recovery events and their root causes and resolution. This is very valuable data, but a smaller organization often can make an informal process work just as well. The important thing is that you do them.