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  • 08 July 2014
  • Eric Michaels

Customer-satisfaction surveys: How to get the most out of these valuable tools

Customers are constantly reviewing your business in online communities. The slightest slip in quality of your product or service may create a wave of bad publicity when it happens to someone with a large social media following. While these events can prove instructive for any business owner, there are better ways to find out what your customers think without the online posturing and distractions. Customer-satisfaction surveys are an effective, low-cost way to get valuable feedback from your clientele. Here are tips on getting the most out of your efforts.

Address your business's problems directly and explore possible causes

If you have noticed a recurring complaint in customer feedback on Facebook or in person, the issue is worth exploring further. Insert a field for more information in your satisfaction survey to draw out comments on what you are doing wrong. In some cases, you may learn it is not the product or service itself, but rather the delivery method or how you handled the payment process — customers are very sensitive when it comes to financial transactions.

Customer-satisfaction surveys are an effective, low-cost way to get valuable feedback from your clientele.

Slow shipping services or the consequences of one employee's attitude may also affect the perception of your business in a lopsided way. Once you notice a recurring bit of bad feedback, you owe it to yourself to address the problem head-on. Many businesses that have offered great products have failed due to poor delivery methods.

Write and deliver effective customer-satisfaction survey questions

Without the correct format and method of delivery, you may have a hard time deriving value from a customer satisfaction survey. Keeping it short and simple shows customers you respect their time; however, allow for them to leave more in-depth feedback if they would like to say more. Overall, shoot for 10 to 15 questions maximum so you can cover all the areas you want to explore. Using a scale of "highly dissatisfied" to "highly pleased" (or 1 to 10) provides measurable results to determine how your company is doing. This scale provides customers with a framework that makes it easier for them to provide feedback quickly.

Delivering the survey at the right time factors heavily into customer response rates. An online survey sent out 24 to 48 hours after the transaction catches the customer at a time when your company and product are still fresh in the customer's mind. With an email address and the right online survey, you are likely to receive valuable feedback to grow your business. The UPS Store has partnered with Constant Contact to offer a cutting-edge survey system called Online Survey. A system like this can make the process seamless.

Connect survey participation to a business promotion to increase responses

If you have trouble getting a response from your customers, the problem may be with the delivery method rather with the questions you ask. After all, people are busier than ever with work, family, and constant Internet distractions. To ensure you receive the desired responses, connect participation in the survey to a business promotion. Although you will have to invest to get feedback and added sales, this technique can increase your repeat-customer base.

When you get a second chance with a customer, the ball is in your court. Improve upon the mistakes your survey indicates you have been making. Ultimately, getting repeat business is the goal of launching any customer satisfaction survey. You should consider the return of customers a success every time.

You have the opportunity to improve how your business performs when you know what customers really think. This way, you can address their concerns directly. Use online surveys as an affordable, effective way to gain key insights and grow your company.

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