How important are customer surveys? Peter Drucker’s old saying comes to mind: “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” Those surveys can give you a lot of data that you can use to improve virtually any part of your organization. There are two important parts to a customer survey that we’re going to cover today:
- Asking the right questions on the survey.
- What to do with the answers once you get them. Here’s a hint. If you don’t do anything with the answers, they probably aren’t the right questions to use on the survey.
Asking the right questions should be easy, but it’s not. The right questions aren’t about collecting as much information as possible. It is about collecting the right information. Information that you can use. If you can’t use it, don’t ask for it. Otherwise, the data becomes clutter.
The second part of our survey topic is about doing something with the data you get from the surveys. This is a golden opportunity to validate your efforts or find areas to improve. And as mentioned already, if you don’t use or can’t figure out what to do with the information you get from the survey questions, the questions are probably irrelevant – a waste of time for both you and your customer.
While numerical surveys, like rating something on a scale of one to ten, give you great insight to overall satisfaction levels of your customers, there should be opportunity to get opinions from open-ended questions. If you’ve been following my work, then you know that one of my favorites is what I call The One Thing Question, which goes like this:
Is there one thing you can think of that will make doing business with us better?
If the customer gives you great ratings and still has a good “one thing” suggestion, then you have an opportunity to improve on greatness. Still, any “one thing” suggestion is potentially a great suggestion. Furthermore, it may give you some insight into what your individual customers might want or need, allowing you to customize their experience.
Here’s a story to illustrate this concept.
I recently stayed at the amazing Silver Baron Lodge in Deer Valley, Utah. I had a great chat with Mary Ann Empey, the manager of the property. We talked about surveys and she shared with me a great example of how she used information to impress one of her regular guests.
This guest had stayed many times at the Silver Baron for his family ski trips. After each stay he filled out the resort’s survey with positive ratings. Except the last time. While the ratings were still great, in response to one of the open ended questions he commented (or complained) that there weren’t any 20 pound dumbbells in the workout room.
Mary Ann, who reads every comment card, wanted to right what the guest thought was wrong. She immediately went out and bought two 20 pound dumbbells and kept them in her office – for over a year – until the guest returned. Upon his arrival she presented the weights as a gift to the guest, who was surprised and couldn’t have been happier.
Think about this. Good questions give you good information. It’s what you do with the information that’s really important. And, while the responses may give you insights to the general customer experience, sometimes it’s the extra comments that can give you the opportunity to create a customized experience, one that endears you to the customer and gets them to come back again and again.
Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, keynote speaker and New York Times bestselling business author. For information contact or www.hyken.com. For information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs go to www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken
(Copyright © MMXVI, Shep Hyken)