Posted on: March 8, 2022
It’s getting harder to motivate customers to give feedback via surveys. The sheer volume individuals currently receive, and the length of time they have to invest in them, are often cited as the key reasons. There are two other factors at play though.
One is that the customer doesn’t feel that invested or particularly interested in the supplier. The other is that they don’t expect their views will be listened to or make a difference. Of course, when customers are unhappy they are more minded to give feedback, but no business wants to gain customer insights that way.
For customers that do value you as a supplier, there are more opportunities to build on that goodwill and seek their views on issues such as:
- how well you are supporting them
- any improvements you can make to the business offering and/or customer experience
- how they perceive you against your rivals
To encourage customers to support any feedback project you are running it is important to ensure the activity takes the minimal amount of effort for them. Ideally, you want a small number of short multiple-choice questions but also a small number of open text fields so they can say in their own words what’s on their mind. For more tips, see our article – How to gain more meaningful and useful customer feedback.
The other important element is to be ready to show you’ve listened to customer feedback. Here are 10 ways to achieve this so they:
- think the effort they’ve invested has been worthwhile
- feel more aligned to your organisation’s development and success, and
- are more likely to give feedback again, as long as you don’t pester them too frequently.
10 ways to show customers you’ve listened
1 Get permission
Firstly, it is important to get the customer’s permission to keep in touch after the survey, so you can update them on the progress you’re making as a result. Build-in something like the following to help you keep them updated…
Would you be happy for us to contact you to find out more about a point you’ve raised in this survey – Yes/No
Would you like us to keep you up to date of the changes we make as a result of your feedback – Yes/No
2 Respond quickly
Whether you have a survey with a fixed closing date or one that runs continually, it is important to review submissions and respond quickly. Use notifications in your survey software to be alerted to completed submissions. Alternatively, review the results and comments at least weekly. While you should set up an automated thank you message that is seen when completing the survey, it will make more impact if you can send a more personalised one later. This is particularly important if the person has raised any points of concern they have, or suggested helpful points or great ideas.
3 Drill deeper
Use this opportunity to contact the customer and drill deeper into a specific point – perhaps arranging a time to call them, or fix an online/in-person meeting so there can be a more detailed discussion. This interaction should be handled so you come across as enthusiastic, encouraging and gathering more information, and not being defensive!
4 Make sure customer-facing teams are aware of specific customer feedback
Avoid someone putting their foot in it or doing something which contradicts or jars with the feedback the customer has given.
5 Publish prize-winners
Businesses often wrap a prize draw around a survey to motivate people to complete it. With their permission, be sure to publicise the happy prize-winners so other customers know the draw did in fact happen.
6 Publish your plan of action
Customers love to know what you’re doing as a result of their input. One software company we supported regularly publishes its product development roadmap with a timeline of enhancements it will be working on and introducing in response to customer feedback. The publication of this (typically every quarter) gains a lot of customer engagement.
7 Let them be the first to try the new enhancement
When you’ve improved or finessed a part of your offering in response to feedback, invite those customers who gave you the idea to be the first to try it. Thank and invite them to test it out and make a big fuss of them in doing so.
8 Publish stories of the changes you’ve made and the benefits they’re having
Be vocal and visibly demonstrate you have listened to customers and are implementing their changes. This will make a positive impact on your social media channels, e-mail marketing and website. Where possible include plenty of visuals or even video to show you actively listened. If customers are happy to do so, include them in the stories too.
9 Make the ‘one year on from your feedback’ a big deal
One year (or even six months) on from the survey, celebrate with customers all the differences their feedback has made. You may want to mark this with an event, as an opportunity to thank them further and demonstrate the new aspects of your approach.
10 Use forums instead of surveys
If your business needs to gather feedback on a fairly basis, you will gain less engagement if you repeatedly send out surveys to the same people. Instead, consider bringing together a small focus group or forum of customers who are genuinely keen to support you. Use regular gatherings with them (for example quarterly or half-yearly) to test out ideas and get their feedback on particular aspects. In doing so, don’t forget to report back on the progress you’ve made as a result of what they’ve said before. See our article Building a community around your business.
Reports on customer survey engagement levels indicate businesses should expect between a 5%-30% response rate. As more businesses automate surveys and customers receive constant requests to complete them, it will get harder to reach the upper levels of that response range.
Being mindful of people’s time, and building goodwill with customers will motivate them to support you with any information request. More importantly, actively demonstrating you’ve listened and the time they’ve invested has been worthwhile, will strengthen the bond between you and help to secure their loyalty in the years to come.
For more advice on how to gain customer insights for your business contact us or tel. 01483 429111.