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Customer satisfaction questionnaire: 4 commandments

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A customer satisfaction questionnaire is a double-edged sword. Companies need customer feedback in order to make better products and guarantee better service. But they also don’t want to annoy loyal customers with yet another survey. The gist of it is this: if you’re going to do it – and you should! – do it right …

So what is the “right way” of conducting market research in general and customer satisfaction research in particular? Here are four key principles companies should stick to when conducting a customer satisfaction questionnaire:

1. Act quick and be to the point

Always send a survey based on a customer interaction, such as a visit to your store, a phone call to support or a registration on your website. In other words, make sure you have a good reason to “bother” customers. When you do they will be more willing to answer your questions. Near real-time feedback, as it is called, has another advantage, namely that the data quality will be very high. Remembering all the details about a shopping experience you had last week may prove tricky. However, we all remember what we did yesterday, right?

If you are going to send out an online customer satisfaction survey be to the point. Internet users generally don’t like to click a lot and they certainly don’t like to read a lot. So make it easy on them and limit both. How? By starting the survey directly in the email invitation (so-called embedded survey questions), reducing the number of clicks from 4 to 1. Also force yourself to write concisely keeping text to a bare minimum – if that is a problem, consider hiring a professional copywriter to write the text for you. Yes, it’s that important!

2. Be personal

Companies nowadays know a lot about their customers – socio-demographical information, shopping habits, preferences, … Why not make use of that information to tailor a survey around the customer? Anything, from respondents’ names, to age, to recent purchases can be used to create a survey that feels as if it was created just for them. Clever use of custom variables, branching and page display logic makes it easy to do so.

3. Be professional

The way a survey looks is important. First of all, you want to create a design that is easily recognizable, in accordance with your brand’s use of colors and logos. Second, never use ads (ever!). A customer satisfaction survey is neither the time nor the place to be selling anything. And third, one in three use their phone or tablet to fill out a survey, so make sure your survey is up to it. Responsive survey design is a must.

4. Create an automated feedback program

The goal of any customer satisfaction questionnaire is of course to learn from customer feedback and grow as a company. To achieve that it’s important that the incoming data is structured and reaches the right people. Survey notifications are a big help here. They essentially give you a heads up when a respondent has provided an answer you want to know about. For instance, when one of your customers indicates being unhappy with the way they were treated by your support team, an automatic email or Zendesk ticket could be sent to the head of support. The next step would be for that person to actually contact the customer, apologize and find out what went wrong.

The real challenge of automated feedback processes is crunching the survey data for input in a local CRM system. Doing so requires powerful API that allows for tight integration with internal systems. It makes continuous monitoring a breeze, giving you feedback a lot faster and generally getting the most out of your data. Furthermore, API integration allows for transaction based research. Every time a transaction occurs, the system will automatically send out a survey. This increases the response rate and quality of the responses.

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