Surveys are most efficient when they can be performed face to face with a customer because one question seems to always lead to another question. What the respondent perceives about an organization or even the level of service can not always be interpreted in answers ranging from excellent, good, fair, or poor. Most of our impressions when we walk into a store are non-verbal. Haven't most of us had great first impressions from the moment we opened the door? Was it the pleasant smell of the store, the welcoming, smiling appearance of the salesperson, or the overall appearance of other customers engaged in pleasant conversations just heralding the ambiance of a wonderful experience yet to come?
Now how do you put that in writing; no less how do you express that in a survey? How do you get people to respond? Surveys need to be kept simple, easy to complete, and easy to understand. Experiences are going to be different when visiting a brick and mortar establishment as opposed to an online store, but certain questions to judge overall customer service are quite universal. The following points should be considered:
- Don't get too personal in a survey. People are wary about questions that could compromise their privacy. Consumers are also concerned about spammers, advertisers, and general annoyances.
- Make the survey specific. Don't just ask blanket questions about a customer's experience. Ask what the consumer purchased, or ask about the consumer's first impression of the store.
- Make the survey convenient . Online surveys are the easiest for people to fill out, but postcards can be effective also.
- Cover all the bases, and that means ask about the greeting, the website, employees, the products, and product satisfaction.
- Ask for suggestions to improve your business. If you ask, you will receive.
Now how do you get people to respond? Be creative, and make the offer irresistible. Use special offers, percentages off the next purchase, or prizes. Feedback is worth a lot of money, since customers determine success. If you keep the survey limited to a manageable number, the comments, and feedback are apt to provide an abundance of information to improve customer experience and keep them coming back.