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The Best Feedback Question

“Please stay on the line to answer a short, one-question survey at the end of this call.”

That’s what I heard just before the agent picked up the phone to help me. Just a one-question survey? Sounds short enough. Sure, I’ll give them an extra minute of my time. So after the call, I stayed on the line. What came right after the call was the promised simple question. It may be one of the best feedback questions I’ve ever heard. I put it right up there with the NPS (Net Promotor Score) question, which I’ll share later. Here it is:

“The next time you call us, would you want the same person to take care of you? Push 1 for yes and 2 for no.”

That’s it. It’s that simple. In one quick question, the customer gets to grade the support rep that took the call. It sums up if the customer was happy and if the agent did their job. No, it doesn’t tell you if the problem was resolved or not, but that question could be for another day. I started to think about other one-question surveys that can give you a snapshot of what a customer thinks about a company. Here are a few questions to get you thinking—and each of these questions can be answered using the keypad of a phone.

  1. Let’s start with the one that prompted me to write this article: the next time you call us, would you want the same person to take care of you? Push 1 for yes and 2 for no.
  2. The Net Promoter Score: On a scale of one to ten, what’s the likelihood you would recommend us to a friend or colleague?
  3. Was the question answered or the problem resolved to your satisfaction?
  4. On a scale of one to ten, how would you rate our customer service?
  5. On a scale of one to ten, how would you rate the quality of our product?

The secret to the success of the survey is the simplicity and speed by which the questions can be answered.

In the perfect survey world, I like to follow up one of these questions with an open-ended question. Obviously, you can’t answer that on a telephone dial pad, but if you email or text, you can follow up a simple question with a, “Why did you give us that score?” kind of question.

I’m often asked by clients how to get more responses from customers who are sent surveys. You now know the secret: simplicity and speed. Just promise that it won’t take a lot of time – a minute or less – and watch how many more surveys your customers take.

Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, keynote speaker, and New York Times bestselling business author. For information, contact 314-692-2200 or www.hyken.com. For information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs, go to www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken

 
  1. I’ve seen a few companies adopt this approach, and I think the jury is still out on this one.

    The positives include:
    *It’s nice to boil things down to a simple metric.
    *Anecdotally, reps have told me they like getting the kudos when the feedback is good.
    *Any “no” votes could be flagged for research and review, so even without additional feedback a supervisor might be able to diagnose what went wrong

    The negatives include:
    *There are so many issues outside the rep’s control that negative feedback can feel unfair.
    *There’s no option to get additional input, so it’s hard to know why a customer said Yes or No.
    *I’ve heard many stories where companies try to scapegoat employees for poor products, services, and policies. I worry this could be part of that type of approach.

    So it’s definitely intriguing!

    • Thanks, Jeff – The simple question isn’t the total solution. Just one of many. And your comments about the possible negatives are spot on. Short surveys are one way of getting some information. And yes, outside forces beyond the rep can still cause a negative response from a customer. All that needs to be taken into consideration.

  2. When you rely on only one type of customer experience measurement tool, you miss the boat in my opinion. Surveys are great and the shorter the better in my 20 year experience. When mixed in with social media intelligence, online reviews, mystery shopping they can give you an outstanding snapshot of your service levels.

    I agree with Jeff, a “no” response should always be flagged for review. Listening to recorded calls and grading them by a third party is one way around this. Another would be to target the employee with a recorded mystery shop (if the company doesn’t record calls).

    So…. like any other form of research, more is better than less. I am a fan of this question and hope others adopt it. As a consumer, it gets so boring being asked the same NPS question over and over again. This leaves me with the impression that marketing really does care what I think and it’s not just an anonymous metric.

    • I agree, too. This was just a great question to get some quick feedback. NPS is similar. I’ve always believed in both qualitative and quantitative responses to get better feedback. Still, we must always be concerned with the length of surveys. Thank you, Kathy, for taking the time to comment.

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