The Hows and Whys of Useful Customer Feedback Support Surveys

The Hows and Whys of Useful Customer Feedback Support Surveys

You might have noticed that your company is receiving an increase in negative comments on social media.  Or that calls into your support center are on the rise and customer attrition is on the rise.  These are all very concerning KPIs.  So, where do you begin?  Rather than assume you know the answer or fix, it may be wise to conduct a customer survey.

The beauty of a well-planned and executed survey is that it can help you prioritize any changes your company needs to make based on the data gathered, rather than stories filled with anecdotal data from a salesperson, for example. Now, we’re not disparaging what your salespeople may be reporting from your customers.  A customer support survey, on the other hand, will provide you with data points and trends that allow you to see what the common issues are amongst your customer base.  This allows you to prioritize the changes you want to make instead of assuming the issue being communicated from a few squeaky-wheel salespeople is where you need to start. And, it might be where you need to start.  But, there may be more impactful issues you discover via a customer support survey that could make a bigger impact.

As an example, let’s incorporate and consider the 80/20 rule in business to drive home why it’s important to hone in on the data you gather from your survey.  If you’re not familiar, the 80/20 rule says that only 20% of your entire customer base drives 80% of your revenues and commissions, according to CRM market leader Salesforce.  Therefore, if those squeaky-wheel salespeople have requests that are from a low-revenue customer that is not part of the 20% – you may want to put that request further down the list of priorities.  In essence, you want the changes you make to impact a combination of the following:

  • The customers that are important to your business or part of that 20%
  • A frequent request, such as a feature that may or may not be on your product roadmap, from many that will have a positive impact for many
  • Processes that improve customer service and in turn, improve retention or renewal rates

Also, you can report this back to internal teams and your salespeople, which will help them understand why you’ve prioritized post survey action items in the order that you have.  In other words, it’s helpful to share the why and how of the post survey priorities with your internal teams and external customers.  Transparency in this scenario can help to make your employees and customers more loyal and in turn, likely to stay with you.

Now that we’ve established some things to consider after your survey is conducted, let’s discuss some things to consider before you conduct a customer support survey.  

  1. Query your customer after they’ve had time to fully test and use your product. For example, don’t survey your customer after you’ve shipped them the product and they’ve had it one day.  Give it some time and then ask for feedback.  Or, if they request customer support or had the product repaired, you should immediately ask them for feedback.  More importantly, if a customer cancels or returns their product, ask them immediately after why and what you could have done to retain them.  For example, if they went to your competitor and bought their product, ask them which product they bought and from which company.  It’s always good to know who you are commonly up against and why your customers are leaving you.  Is it unhappiness with your customer service, product or service itself or price?   All of this information can help your customer service, product, and sales and marketing teams do their jobs better.
  2. If you discover that you have an extremely happy customer, ask if they are willing to share their story and be featured as a case study, testimonial or a reference.  This is an extremely easy way to extract customers that are willing to do this and your marketing team will thank you.
  3. If you discover you have an extremely unhappy customer, make sure the issue is assigned to your customer service team and that the customer is contacted immediately to address the issue.
  4. Keep it short.  Don’t make your survey too long or participants will leave the survey before finishing.  Use survey logic to eliminate questions in the survey that are irrelevant to the participant.
  5. Ask questions and provide a rating scale or consistent multiple choices that will allow you see trends in post survey data.  However, don’t forget to ask a few open-ended questions that allow the customer to explain why they made the choice they did.  The opportunity for the customer to provide answers in their own words may provide you helpful feedback for your customer service or product development teams.

While there are a number of free and paid tools online to help you design your survey, what many don’t offer is a strategy on how to structure the questions and answers in order to gather actionable data.  Your survey will do you no good if the data cannot be analyzed after the fact, which in turn will only frustrate your customers further.  If you need help planning, designing and implementing a customer support survey, contact us at [email protected].  We’re happy to help.