Customer feedback surveys work! Business which regularly elicit feedback see big pay offs which include:
- Reduced customer churn
About three-fourths of all U.S. customers (73%) report switching companies as a result of poor customer service, making it the number one cause of churn. And while they will generally tell a business when they are happy, they will, unfortunately, rarely say anything when they are about to defect to a competitor, never giving the business an opportunity to do better. According to one study, a whopping 96% of unhappy customers never complain, with 91% of them simply leaving never to return.
But smart businesses – those who keep a close eye on customer satisfaction so as to reduce churn – use feedback surveys to identify at-risk customers, gleaning insights which enable them to make immediate and necessary improvements.
- Increased customer lifetime value
25% to 40% of the total revenues of the most stable businesses come from returning customers. And during lean economic times, steady customers help businesses stay afloat; businesses with 40% repeat customers generate nearly 50% more revenue than similar businesses with only 10% repeat customers.
But brand loyalty is one of the most difficult assets for a business to attain. The only way to ensure customers remain loyal is to provide them with a tailored customer-centric experience, delivering the features, services, and conveniences each customer values. Many businesses have figured out that regularly checking in with customers, asking them for feedback to map a clearer journey, is key to better understanding and improving each individual interaction and overall experience.
- Better word-of-mouth
In a study of 1,046 participants, an overwhelming percentage of customers – 88% – claimed online customers reviews influenced their buying decisions. This was true of both positive reviews (90%) and negative (86%). Moreover, customers acquired through positive word-of-mouth spend twice as much and make twice as many referrals themselves.
To garner positive reviews, reviews needed to establish a strong reputation that attracts new customers, savvy businesses follow up every transaction with a survey, using feedback to improve every customer’s experience at each step in the journey. A well-written follow-up survey enables these businesses to better understand multiple, smaller points in the journey, whether its customer rep availability, delivery, or website check-out, all of which could present problems which might lead to dissatisfaction and negative word-of-mouth.
Timing is everything
As an ecommerce business, you don’t have the advantage of face-to-face communication which means that you must take proactive steps to understand who your customers are, what they are looking for, and if you are meeting their needs. For all of these reasons, your business must have in place a real-time feedback strategy which enables you to communicate with your customers on the spot.
For maximum results, customer satisfaction surveys should be sent to customers right after they have an experience with your business, while the experience is still vivid in the their minds. And fear not that customers won’t respond to your request for feedback. According to the Accenture Personalization Survey Report, 90% of respondents say they are willing to provide a business with feedback if it helps a business deliver a better overall experience.
And they are especially likely to give you feedback just after an experience. SearchEngineLand reports that feedback solicited at the time of experience could see completion rates between 80% and 90%. The other advantage to gathering feedback when an event actually happens is that you can catch negative and positive trends as they emerge, limiting the chance a customer will publicly voice a complaint or, worse, leave you altogether. Small problems can be quickly identified and addressed while bigger issues can be flagged as they happen.
With real time feedback, you can make decisions and improvements quickly, enhancing your customer experience. In fact, an Aberdeen Research study has found that businesses which successfully leverage real time feedback accomplish year-over-year performance gains which include a 28.3% increase in annual company revenue, a 14.5% increase in customer satisfaction, and 87% customer retention rate.
Strike while the iron is hot
If your company allows too much time to elapse between an event and survey follow-up, you’ll miss out on a prime opportunity to reach customers while they still have specific details in mind. If customers wait too long to provide feedback, there is a good chance that:
1. You will lose the ability to detect—and begin diffusing—any complaints or service issues at the earliest phase, before it’s too late.
2. Their responses will be too general, even generic, not entirely reflective of their feelings about an actual experience. The feedback is, then, less useful, as you will not receive specific insights which could be used to provide better service in the future.
By making a few careful decisions about when to email a request for feedback, you will likely see a noticeable difference in both your number of response rates and the quality of your responses, factors which could yield big returns for your business.