Tip 1. Use a third party

It’s a mistake to think that your customers will always let you know if they’re not happy. More often than not, they’ll just go to another supplier rather than bother telling you. It’s not that they’re lazy, they just don’t want the hassle or to have a confrontation.

Think of the waiter asking if everything’s okay. How many of us just say yes in order to get rid of them, even though the order may be wrong, the food may be cold, or you were in the middle of talking.

Tip 2. Ask the right questions, in the right order and not too many

This is really important. If you ask too specific a question, you could miss some important feedback. If you ask too general a question, they might just skip it because they haven’t the time to really think about it. And most of all, don’t ask too many. Depending on your customer, we usually recommend no more than 15 and that should include confirming name, position and business name.

Your best bet is to ask for the customer’s overall rating first and then drill down for some more detail in the questions that follow with some as score ratings (we suggest no more than 1 to 5) and some with the opportunity for them to pop in some text. You can get some great testimonial and marketing ‘bites’ here then too.

Tip 3. Keep things simple

Don’t ask your customers to work too much out. They’re more likely to skip questions that way or even not bother finishing the survey. Keep the language simple, not ambiguous. If you want numbers, give them options such as 1 to 5, 6 to 10, 11 to 20 rather than asking them how many specific ‘widgets’ they ordered last year. They won’t always remember and are unlikely to have the inclination to look it up.

Tip 4. Use language that makes sense to your customer when using scales

You can use ‘Excellent’, ‘Good’, ‘Satisfactory’ etc. But it may work better in some instances if you provide something more emotive like ‘loved it’, ‘it was generally good’, ‘it was okay’, ‘it could have been better’ etc

Tip 5. Be sure to act on any specific comments

If an issue is brought to your attention, deal with it promptly and keep them informed. If you get some specific praise, thank them for it. Send them a card, a discount off their next purchase. Something to acknowledge it.

Tip 6. Give them the chance to opt out of doing the survey

Avoid GDPR issues by sending out a pre-survey email, letting them know a survey will be sent to them by your chosen third party and giving them the option to opt out if they don’t want to join in.

It’s also a useful way of cleaning your data and means there’s been a ‘warm up’ sent before the actual survey goes out. Ones who don’t complete the survey through the email can have a call and have it completed with them over the phone. Another opportunity to connect with your customers.