Every week I am faced with examples of how to get good feedback from
customers. These days it’s a popular trend. It seems more companies
than ever are surveying their customers. But many do it badly.
Most attempts to engage me (as a customer) are surveys that are
either too long, not relevant or inflexible. They usually require too
much of my time and fail to let me say what I really want to say. They
do not allow me to offer feedback in a way that is easy and convenient.
(And if you fail the “easy and convenient” test, then you need to start
Customer feedback is priceless if you do
something with it. If you use it well it can help your company more
than any other information. And, if you ask for it in the right way,
you’ll engender more customer loyalty, because people like it when you
ask their opinion. And they like to help.
Good feedback produces customer engagement. It builds stronger
relationships with your customers. It draws them closer to your
Zappos engages customers better than almost anyone. They encourage their employees to have conversations
with customers. They do not time their calls or have them use scripts.
And they do expect them to talk like real people and get to know their
customers (at least as much as you can in a short, one-time phone
call). According to Jane Judd, who manages Zappos Customer Loyalty
“…are encouraged to “use their personal, emotional connection on
every call.” For example, she said they might ask about the dog barking
in the background or send flowers to a bride.”
The best feedback from customers comes from genuine conversations
that happen naturally as your employees interact with customers. But if
you do use a survey or form of some kind to get feedback from
customers, keep it short, flexible and relevant.
Last week I had a survey form sent to me that was 35 questions. And
every time I answered “less than expected” another question opened up
for me to answer. I left the survey and never went back.
On the other hand, when I survey my customers I usually get a
response rate of 20% to 40%. But my “surveys” are easy and convenient.
They are typically an email with one or a couple questions that can be
answered quickly and easily. And that can be done by replying to an
email rather than going to a web form. They are focused on one topic
only. And they offer people the opportunity to add more comments (or
call me) if they want.
When your feedback is a natural and ongoing part of your business it
will produce better results. When you engage customers as people, not
account numbers, they will respond like people. They’ll help and
they’ll remain loyal.