The best way to make your clients love you and remain loyal is to find out if your products and services are meeting their needs. Sometimes, all you have to do is ask. All clients ever want is to feel appreciated, taken care of, and above all, heard! A well-crafted customer satisfaction survey can provide the feedback you need to rekindle your relationship with clients.
Gain valuable customer insight, from pain points to product feedback, and identify room for improvement or new revenue streams. Here are the six steps to creating, sending, and implementing an effective client survey.
A great, user-friendly survey platform we use here at Continuum is SurveyMonkey. We've included screen shots to show you how quick and painless a tool SurveyMonkey is.
We've also compiled each step into an easy-to-follow checklist to guide you through the client survey process. Customer feedback is fundamental to your business success! We’ll show you how to make your survey results actionable and execute suggested changes. Your clients will fall in love with you all over again!
Questions to Ask Yourself
- Do you have targeted purpose for your survey?
- Have you created a compelling title?
- What kind of questions do you want to ask?
- Who will you send it to?
- Have you followed up with a thank you?
- Do you have a plan to address feedback or make changes?
1. Craft Your Survey with a Clear & Targeted Purpose
The first thing you should determine, which will direct the rest of the survey process, is what kind of information you would like to find out from your customers. Remember, you want to keep the length of your survey as concise as possible so don’t try to ask everything all at once. There will be more opportunities to send surveys. You also don’t want to over-do the surveys, but we will get to that later.
Bottom line is that this survey should have one purpose, so keep it short and sweet, between 5 to 10 questions. You’ll see fewer responses if your survey drags on. Ask the questions that will give you the answers you want to learn. We will cover examples of succinct, valuable questions in step 4.
Sample Survey Purpose Examples
Have you added a new offering to your managed IT services bundle? Craft a post-launch survey! A survey like this could help you identify areas of improvement or design flaws in need of addressing. This kind of product development survey is especially recommended after you beta test a new product or service!
Do you have any brand champions that you can leverage? You may have dozens that you don’t even know about because you haven’t asked these customers, influencers or power users. A survey demonstrates that you value their opinions of your company and helps you learn what you’re doing right (or wrong).
2. Hook Clients with a Compelling & Relevant Survey Title
Don’t forget to give your survey a strong title that reflects its purpose. Your clients should know exactly what kind of questions they’ll be prompted to answer by the title. A title like “Client Satisfaction Survey” is boring and could be about anything. Instead, narrow your focus and try something like “Have We Met Our Service Level Agreements (SLA) with You?” This is more targeted and personalized. Clients won’t feel like one of the many.
3. Ask the Right Questions
The key to choosing the right questions is to keep in mind that every question should serve a purpose, your targeted purpose from above. Focus on questions that will get you actionable data and help you establish performance goals. Studies from Client Hearbeat have shown that the following 6 questions are recommended to work best when gathering customer feedback. We have also included screen shots of how to create a rating scale question in SurveyMonkey.
- To find out how prompt and effective your services are:
- How happy are you with the speed and efficiency at which we are able to respond to your requests?
- To find out how accurate your services are:
- How happy are you with our attention to detail and thoroughness?
- To find out how strong your partnership is:
- How happy are you with how we work with your organization?
- To find out how helpful you are to them:
- How happy are you with the extent to which we help you learn and provide recommendations that are in the best interest of your organization?
- Find out how to improve?
- What would you like to see in our products or services?
- Find out how loyal your clients are:
- How likely are you to recommend our product/service to a colleague?
- How likely are you to recommend our product/service to a colleague?
These are just a few that you can choose to word and specify to your individual products and services. Make sure you ask these survey questions again in a quarterly or semi quarterly email send. You’ll want to see whether your ratings have improved or declined.
The last, rating scale question in particular, is good to ask! We show you how to build it in SurveyMonkey below:
How to create a rating scale question:
Final version of a rating scale question:
What do these numbers tell you about your clients? They're either:
Promoters: This client is loyal, keeps buying and refers others, rates you at 9-10
Passives: This client is satisfied but vulnerable to competition, rates you at 7-8
Detractors: This client is unhappy and can damage your brand, rates you at 0-6
These ratings will give you your Net Promoter Score (NPS).
Best Practices When Writing Questions
Remember to be very clear and specific when creating questions. Stay away from lengthy or wordy questions and provide preselected answers. If you do want to ask an open-ended question, include an “I don’t know” option or don’t make it mandatory. That way, the customer has a choice, and it reduces the chance of abandonment. You can also position this question towards the beginning. You want to leave the easiest questions for last, like demographic questions. Only include one answer per question because otherwise, it can skew your data.
Don’t do this: The question below is unclear, open ended, required (questions with asterisk have to be filled out before submitting). The customer won’t know how or want to respond, which will increase the chances of abandonment. Furthermore, if they do respond, results will be difficult to track because you won’t get one answer.
Lastly, avoid leading question or hypotheticals. They can change your results and deviate from your survey's purpose.
4. Who Are You Sending It To?
Some people may think sending the survey to as many clients as possible is best because you’re increasing the odds someone will fill it out. These numbers won’t necessarily increase your response rate, however choosing a targeted segment of your clients that are most likely to fill out the survey, will. Most of the time, these are specific contacts you have a direct relationship with, within the company. This can increase your response rate by 35% according to Client Heartbeat.
It would be easiest to just send a link around, but if you want results, getting them this way is going to be harder. Do a dedicated email send to participants, and have it sent from someone they know, someone whose email they’d be likely to open. You can use email marketing platforms like HubSpot, Constant Contact, or MailChimp to personalize emails so they don’t come from "Company A - Customer Service Team."
Here is a sample email to give you an idea:
5. Send a Thank You Follow-up Email
So hopefully at this point, you have created and sent an effective survey. Now, follow up and show your clients appreciation for taking the time to send you feedback. Here's a sample thank you email to show them the love:
6. Transforming Results into Action
Now, you can make a plan with your sales, operations or management team to implement changes based on the feedback. You have all of this valuable data at your disposal, so make sure it doesn’t go to waste. Here are three actionable steps towards increased customer satisfaction:
- Training and awareness: Share the results with the appropriate departments and debrief about the major takeaways. Maybe your sales team needs to brush up on a certain skill or better train employees.
- Key drivers: Management can now pull key drivers and metrics from survey results to track across departments or roles.
- Ask for your employees’ feedback too: Your team probably has the most contact with the end user. They also have valuable feedback so keep them in the conversation. Motivate them to offer suggestions of how they believe customer service can be improved.
- Turn results into performance goals, and then offer employees incentives for meeting them. Team celebrations for shared big wins boost morale! You could have a company pizza party if by the next survey send, you see an increase in your NPS by 2 points, for example.
Once you have created, emailed, and analyzed your first customer satisfaction survey, next time will be a piece of cake. You can reuse a lot of the questions and thank you pages to track your progress. Surveys are an excellent and manageable way to get the feedback you need to grow and improve your products and services.
Ready to send your first survey? Act fast, and use one of our Valentines Day-themed email templates from this first blog post in February's Show the Love Campaign: Celebrate Your Clients with These Email Templates
Marry your marketing and client satisfaction efforts
By Gretchen Hoffman