There are six ways to turn a customer feedback survey into a colossal waste of time that consumes money and resources but tells your organization absolutely nothing useful. Without further ado, let’s get started!
Too many chefs in the kitchen
Marketing wants to know product preferences, customer service wants feedback on responsiveness, sales wants to know about competitive preferences. But if everyone just begins asking questions without keeping an eye on the overall objective, it will become too long and cumbersome. And lack focus. Multiple objectives are fine, but pay attention to questionnaire flow and synergy.
No end in sight
A survey should only collect essential information. A typical problem with too many chefs in the kitchen is the feast never ends. Responders get fatigued and eventually annoyed, which severely diminishes the quality of responses – or worse – can lead you to make false conclusions. Under 5 minutes should be the target completion time. If your survey takes longer than 10 minutes to complete, there should be a reward.
Leave important questions unasked
If you are trying to gauge satisfaction, make sure you ask specific questions rather than generic “thermometer” questions. Ask about accuracy, quality, courtesy, speed, selection. If your questions are vague, your responders might be able to hint that there’s a problem, (i.e. very dissatisfied) but they won’t be able won’t be able to tell you specifically why they are unhappy and give you some direction to recommend changes.
Use only closed-ended questions
Closed-ended questions are great for analysis as respondents must always select from a finite list of choices. But the problem with closed-ended questions is that they only allow the respondent to see the world through your eyes. What if there’s an answer they would rather give that is not one of the finite choices? For that reason, and open-ended “other” option at critical stages allows you to answer in their own words if they feel yours don’t fit. Although open-ended questions take more time to review and are subject to judgement, they often can provide a level of insight into the customer that is impossible with closed questions.
Hope that the right people will answer
The reality of research is that no one is sitting by their computer hoping to be asked their opinion. To make sure you get an adequate response rate, you’ll need to promote the importance of the survey in how (or why) their opinion is valued. Explain your objectives and be sure to mention how quickly the survey can be completed. Marketing the survey – not just communicating – can dramatically influence the quality and volume of responses you receive.
Hide the results
If you don’t like what the results are telling you, you might want to bury them on the back shelf. But before you do, take a moment to remember why you undertook the survey in the first place. Just as you can toot your horn about what your customers like about you, you can announce what changes you’re planning to make as a result of their feedback. Providing feedback about customer feedback is a vital step in closing the loop and should not be overlooked.