Wednesday, January 22, 2020

The diminishing value of Customer Surveys

Survey Fatigue - It's Real

See the source imageIt's something everyone can relate to - SURVEY REQUESTS.  It's impossible to avoid them. Whether you do business in person or online, survey requests are inescapable.  They clutter receipts, flood inboxes, and popup on websites. Even routine doctor visits are followed up with a request to fill out a survey.

Intense competition across all business sectors has raised the importance of keeping customers happy.  Not doing so is the quickest way to jeopardize a business.  Surveys have long been the defacto standard in how companies measure themselves when it comes to customer satisfaction.

There's just one problem - surveys no longer work as a reliable proxy measure of customer loyalty.  Their overuse and misuse have decreased the value of the information they produce.  Incentives offered to entice customers to take surveys have only introduced noise in the data.  For a sample to be valid, it must randomly represent a cross-section of the population (all customers). If it does not, the inaccurate metrics can inflate the true measure of satisfaction.

How many surveys a year do you take?

If you're like most folk, time is your most precious asset and filling out surveys is not how you wish to spend it.  So it begs the questions, who are the folks filling out all these surveys.  The answer is that most businesses don't know beyond a few demographic details. The fact that survey requests seem to be a ubiquitous part of every transaction increases the likelihood that they are ignored by the very customers whose opinion you value most.  If the individuals filling out surveys have an agenda other than accurately reporting their experience, such as reacting to an offered incentive of some kind, their data may only be adding distortion to overall findings.

When the expected is represented as the exceptional

Most transactions involve routine purchases; groceries, dry cleaning, gas, pizza, etc. and are nonremarkable by nature.  Customers expect hassle-free transactions - that's the minimum customer expectation that must be met.  The fact that a customer can get in and out efficiently with the items they're after is hardly an event that they are going to "recommend to friends and family" - think of the absurdity of applying common survey questions to these run-of-the-mill transactions. 

The opportunity to deliver exceptional service

The chance to shine in the eyes of customers comes when they have a question or encounter a problem, or submit a complaint.  It is through these opportunities that a customer's loyalty is cultivated.  All too often customer complaints and inquiries submitted through the corporate website (contact us page) receive a canned response or worse go unanswered.

The age of Customer Communication Management (CCM)

Today's consumer has a surplus of communication options at their disposal; email, texting, the contact us link, call center, numerous social media options (Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Tripadvisor, etc.) -- and new channels emerging all the time.   

Addressing customer inquiries and concerns on a timely basis is too important to manage via email and Spreadsheets.  New platforms like Guest-Note (GN) are specifically designed to help organizations manage, address, and benefit from all communications with customers.  Unlike CRM, Guest-Note is easy to set up and administer. Most importantly, there are no user licensing fees, just one monthly fee and anyone in the organization (that is granted access) can access it.  This is an important difference, license based systems can be very costly to allow company-wide access.


What it means to be a Customer-Centric organization

CCM platforms like Guest-Note make it easy to place the customer in front of the entire organization.   To be Customer-Centric means everyone in the organization is focused on the customer and GN does that.  With GN features that can automatically route customer input to those within the organization closest to the issue - like the store manager of the location where the problem occurred.  When those closest to an issue are responsible for making things right with a customer they are more likely to address the root cause of the problem, reducing the chance that future customers experience a similar issue. 


Stop Surveying and Start listening to your customers

Customers committed to your brand take the time to let you know when they have an issue or question - they represent your most valuable customer.  Responding quickly is a major step toward ensuring that customer remains loyal.  Even companies without a designated team of customer service agents can effectively manage all customer feedback like rock stars.  Check out www.Guest-Note.com today.

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