Entrepreneurs know that learning what your customers want (and meeting their expectations) is key to helping your business grow. However, getting busy consumers to participate in a customer satisfaction survey can often be difficult. Fortunately, TrueDialog, a leading SMS text messaging services provider, explains on it’s blog, that text messaging has distinct advantages that make it the ideal customer survey channel.
Why Businesses Survey Their Customers
Customers’ Views and Opinions
Customers are not shy about sharing their views on popular social networks. In fact, they will often post the same opinions on multiple sites. Invite those customers to provide valuable feedback directly to your business. Show them that you value their opinions about your products or services, and you want them to enjoy a top-notch customer experience.
Feedback on Important Issues
A well-designed customer satisfaction survey provides crucial feedback on issues that customers consider important. Learn what customers think of your products, including those hot new items that have not done as well as you planned. In addition, determine how customers regard the quality of your business’ service. The survey results will likely uncover hidden problems, which sets the stage for targeted action to correct those discrepancies.
Company Strengths and Weaknesses
By carefully studying your customer satisfaction survey responses, you will discover what your customers consider your business’ strengths and weaknesses. If one area carries a very low satisfaction score, it is time to dig deeper for details, and then design an improvement program. Remedial measures can include a business process redesign, employee retraining, or a combination of both strategies.
Snapshot of Customer Survey Methods
Overly busy consumers do not rank customer satisfaction surveys as a priority. To increase your chances that customers will complete your business’ survey, make it easy and convenient for them to do so.
As TrueDialog notes, finding the right survey vehicle provides your business with two important benefits. First, you will receive real-time feedback that tends to be more accurate. When you identify an issue, you can fix it immediately. Ideally, you will fix the problem before the customer reposts it on a popular review website.
Traditional Paper Comment Cards
Conducting a survey via paper comment cards is like throwing money out the window. When a customer is handed a comment card, they’ll probably file it right in the trash or pile it on the kitchen table with the rest of the unread mail. Either way, the result is the same.
Let’s say the customer somehow manages to uncover the little paper comment card, and takes a few minutes to answer your questions. Maybe they even remember to drop the card into the mail. When you receive their responses, you will be getting “old” feedback that’s less helpful in making timely business decisions.
Customer Survey Email Messages
Sending a survey via email will save you money compared to paper comment cards. However, consumers typically get numerous daily emails, and they might mistake your survey for a marketing email that goes unread. Or, they are simply too busy to respond at that moment, and then forget to revisit your message later. So, your email goes into that notorious virtual “black hole.”
If the customer does manage to retrieve your email from their Inbox, they must carve out a few minutes to answer the questions. Again, their answers will probably reflect a time lag, and will not provide your business with valuable immediate feedback.
Customer Surveys via Text Messaging
Your text-messaged customer survey will immediately arrive in a customer’s smartphone Inbox. In fact, TrueDialog recommends that you send the survey right after the customer has purchased a product or service from your business. Assuming the customer responds quickly, this real-time feedback reflects their non-filtered opinions about their recent encounter.
In fact, text-message customer surveys often have higher response rates than other survey media. That is a direct result of the text messages’ immediacy and convenience for both the customer and the business. To give customers an extra incentive to respond, your business can enter respondents’ names into a drawing for a store gift card or other desirable prize.
In addition to post-purchase customer surveys, businesses also send text-based surveys to opt-in mailing list customers. Typical message formats include open-ended questions, multiple choice questions, and carefully structured polling questions. Drug companies use these text messaging formats to gather information from physicians, and compile the resulting data for statistical use.
Customer Satisfaction Survey Implications
Leaving your survey results in a paper or virtual folder will not help your business move forward. Analyze the implications of the survey results, and act accordingly. In addition, know that there’s value in repeating the exercise at predetermined intervals.
Customer Retention or Migration
Simply put, very satisfied customers are more likely to keep patronizing your business, and will likely tell their family and friends. The converse is also true, with poorly satisfied customers becoming ripe to jump ship to your competitors while broadcasting their negative experiences during their exit. If your survey shows dissatisfaction on quite a few issues, you need to formulate a plan and take action to retain your customer base.
Progress on Important Issues
Remember, a one-time customer satisfaction survey tells you what customers think at a specific point in time. To gauge the effect of any relevant improvement programs, repeat the surveys multiple times during a preset time period. Use the same customer demographics, and ensure that each survey includes identical questions. Take time to study the results to determine your progress in resolving problem issues.
Quick Mitigation of Negative Survey Results
When a customer submits a potentially damaging text message survey response, your business can quickly address that issue by quickly responding to the message. “In many cases, says TrueDialog, “your customer service associate can resolve the problem before the sender posts that negative review on well-known review websites. This rapid response shows customers that your business is strongly committed to building positive customer relationships.”