I often work with clients to create customer surveys to get valuable feedback from customers about the way they do business, ways to improve, what is working, what isn’t, etc. One of the most frequent discussions we have is around my guidance to avoid having a neutral response available for the respondent. I like to provide the following options for quantitative options…
- Strongly Disagree
- Strongly Agree
This forces folks to decide how they feel one way or the other. Think about it – if you ask someone about a movie or restaurant and they respond with “Eh, it was alright.” Do you really have any insight as to how they enjoyed it or if they would encourage you to see that movie or go to that restaurant? No, it’s vague. It gives them the comfort of being vague and neutral… which really gives you no insight to their true feelings at all.
When asking for feedback, you have to be courageous enough to ask for the good, the bad, and – yes – the ugly. If you are looking to only get glowing responses to lull yourself into a false sense of tranquility, then you really are sticking your head in the sand and eventually you’ll be outpaced by your competitor that truly wants relevant feedback on how they can keep their customers coming back for more.
You’ll be MUCH better off when you ask folks to tell you directly, no sugar coating it. You need to know what your customers like and what they don’t like. You need to know what will drive them away to your competition and what will bring them back to you. You need to find out what you are doing well and what is simply not working.
Now, here is what separates the men from the boys / women from the girls – – you MUST have a comment section included somewhere for folks to give comments in free form… meaning they can explain any of their reasoning for responding as they did for any of the questions, or to add any additional thoughts they feel you should know. This is actually the secret sauce… you are getting the customer to articulate EXACTLY, in their own words, their thoughts on the way you do business.
Using customer surveys with both quantitative AND qualitative (free form) responses gives you a complete picture as to the true state of the customer experience with direct customer input. Who better to tell you how your business is running than the people that are currently working with you? You’ve already marketed to them. They’ve already put their trust in you. Now is your chance to continue to earn it and reap the benefits by making improvements suggested by those that are already keeping you in business.
Coming soon… The importance of a WELL WORDED survey – it can make or break your results.
Be sure to leave your thoughts and comments below…