Why are customer satisfaction surveys important?
Customer satisfaction surveys allow you to monitor your company’s performance consistently. By asking the right questions, you can see how well your company is doing overall, find out whether there are issues with individual employees, and sometimes generate new leads to expand your customers’ purchases with your company.
How should you conduct the surveys?
You can send out an email with questions about their experience, mail a survey, or call the person who was most involved with the purchase. The questions you ask are critical, however, in finding out whether there were any problems with the transaction. Ask for a rating on every critical points of contact (e.g., technical knowledge, turnaround time, follow up), and always offer the opportunity to provide additional feedback.
It’s important to ask whether the customer would refer your company to others, because that tells you, really, how competent they think your company is. The best time to contact customers is within thirty days of their last transaction, so the experience is still fresh.
What kinds of questions should you ask your customers?
Think about categories where you want to measure your company’s performance. If you’re a distributor, you’ll want to ask about turnaround time, for products and services, as well as what they think of the product or service they received. How helpful was your staff? What could they have done better? A rating system of 1 to 5 works well to quantify the results and make it easier to compare different time frames.
Always ask what the customer liked about their experience. They might give the name of a particularly helpful employee or provide concrete examples of what you could do better. This process will expose weaknesses in your organization quickly, which is valuable when the surveys are completed consistently. Finding your areas of weakness and quickly correcting them is vital to retaining your customers for the long term.
What’s the best process when you receive negative feedback?
Any sort of negative feedback should be followed up with a personal call from a manager, someone with the authority to provide extraordinary customer service. What we see happen over and over again is when we provide a negative score to our clients, and they respond quickly to the complaint, the customer becomes extraordinarily loyal and turns into one of the company’s most loyal supporters.
But you can’t turn someone around if you don’t know they are unhappy as quickly as possible. That’s why it’s important to conduct surveys consistently. An unhappy customer can have a huge influence on your company, particularly with the ease of posting negative experiences online through a variety of websites and forums.
Bad scores can also be an indicator of who or what in your company needs additional attention or training. If a specific employee is frequently named in surveys with a bad score, you can address those issues and train the employee to avoid problems in the future. When your customers rate a particular aspect of your service poorly, you can rethink how that service is being provided to ensure a more positive experience.
It's also nice to receive positive feedback, to see all the things you are doing correctly. With a few standard practices, too, you can see how you compare to your competition.
If you’d like to make sure your customer satisfaction surveys are conducted routinely every month, give Winsby a call! We have a proprietary system that lets you see both summaries and details of your customers’ feedback over a selected date range.
The importance of follow up
Customers are the lifeblood of any business. The best way to find out whether your customers have any issues when they deal with your business to ask them. What you think is a small change in your business can have a huge impact on the customer. The best way to avoid problems is to put a system in place where you are constantly receiving customer feedback. We think the most effective way to obtain feedback is with phone surveys conducted by an outside source. Customers will tell an outsider about an experience that they won't discuss with your organization directly.
Turn bad customer experiences into opportunities
Following up regularly with customers is critical, because you can hear firsthand what's working and what isn't working with your company before you start losing business. In addition to identifying problems to solve, reaching out to customers to ask how things are going and to address their negative or positive feedback will remind them you are working to produce the best possible solution to their issues.
Positive comments are great, but negative comments are the ammunition you need to really improve your operation. For large businesses especially, there is a potential for problems or issues every day, and it can be impossible to track each one that might occur. By following up and conducting surveys each month, you are able to learn where your team may be dropping the ball in the sales process or at any point during the customer interaction.
Following up with customers makes a difference
Regularly asking for feedback is directly related to customer retention and your revenue growth. With equipment dealers, for example, business metrics are significantly better for companies that conduct customer satisfaction surveys compared to those that don't. In fact, the retention of customers is 20% higher, the growth in the number of customers is 49% higher, and revenue growth is 123% higher for dealers receiving regular feedback through customer satisfaction surveys.
Third party surveys work best
At Winsby, we've found that the best way to understand what's working and what isn't working with your company is to have an independent party do the asking. If a company calls their own customers, they might be inclined to sugarcoat their issues or not be completely forthcoming about where they want to see improvement in your operation. When a third party organization calls them asking about products and services, they are much more likely to be candid.
Winsby Customer Satisfaction Surveys
Our process for Customer Satisfaction Surveys is simple. We develop a script, which you approve, then you send us your invoices each month, which we load into our calling system, then call until we complete a designated number of surveys. Our "take" rate is high: we talk to one in three people that we call, and if we reach the contact, 97% complete the survey.
If we receive a negative survey or even a negative comment, we'll send the details to anyone at your organization that you designate, so you can call and talk to your customers and fix the problem. If someone mentions an employee in glowing terms, we'll send that to you, too. Positive responses are just as important as negative ones!
Our customer satisfaction surveys allow your company to identify and resolve issues quickly, before they begin to impact your business negatively.
By Debbie Frakes
Customer satisfaction surveys provide insights into how everything is going operationally. In an equipment dealership
there are opportunities for issues every day, and it's impossible to track every problem that might occur, especially for
a dealer with multiple locations. By conducting customer satisfaction surveys every month, it's likely you'll uncover any
problems quickly. You'll hear about all the things that are going well, too.
A recent study compares growth metrics for equipment dealers that are conducting customer satisfaction surveys each month to those that are not. The results are based on analyzing data for over 150 equipment dealers. The data included 9 years of invoices and customer satisfaction survey results. Included in the analysis are over 500,000 customers and over 15 million transactions.
Surveys boost your bottom line
The differences in the two groups show that it is definitely advantageous to your bottom line to make sure you are receiving consistent feedback through customer satisfaction surveys. Here are how the two groups compare.
Business metrics are significantly better for dealers conducting customer satisfaction surveys than for dealers that do not. The retention of customers is 20% higher, the growth in the number of customers is 49% higher, and revenue growth is 123% higher for dealers receiving regular feedback through customer satisfaction surveys, compared to those that do not conduct surveys with their customers.
Correct problems quickly
Why would customer satisfaction surveys create such a huge advantage for an equipment dealer? When surveys are conducted across all types of purchases—parts, service, rentals, and equipment—and geographic areas, they allow you to spot any weaknesses in your organization quickly. When you are aware of problems, you can correct them quickly, before they impact more and more customers.
Most customers won't go to the trouble of complaining about a problem to someone in your organization. They will just take their business to another dealer. But when an organization calls and asks them what they think of your dealership, over 95% of the people contacted will take the survey. They will provide frank responses and elaborate, when asked, on the reasons behind those responses.
When you are aware of a problem, you can contact the customer to fix the situation, and you can correct it within your organization, so it doesn't affect more customers. If no one mentions the problem, however, it could persist, affecting your business dramatically over an extended period.
Address comments to increase retention
Comments that are provided during the completion of the customer satisfaction surveys are sometimes more revealing than the actual rating that is provided. When customers give a negative comment with a survey, over 30% of them leave within the next 12 months, regardless of the rating given.
When asked how likely they are to recommend the dealer, on a scale of 0 to 10, with 0 indicating not at all likely and 10, extremely likely, 75% of a dealer's customers, on average, rate their experience as a 9 or a 10, a positive rating. For 20% the rating is 7 or 8, a neutral rating, and for 5% it's 0 to 6, a negative rating.
Over 30% of the average dealer's customers are unhappy with their most recent experience, according to the comments they provide, regardless of their rating. A rating of 10 includes 100% positive comments and results in a 95% customer retention. Regardless of their rating, an average of 32% of the customers that give negative comments about their experience become lost customers over the next 12 months. Parts issues, staff knowledge and customer service represent 77% of all negative comments. While price represents 9% of these comments, they almost always include a reference to parts, service and mismanaged communication.
In contrast, an average of 20% of the customers that give positive comments about their experience with a rating below 10 become lost customers in the next 12 months.
Reaching out to customers to address their comments, positive or negative, makes a big difference in whether they stay or switch to another dealer. Even if their issue isn't solved immediately, they know you're aware and working on a resolution.
Higher growth with surveys
Dealers with feedback provided by customer satisfaction surveys experience significantly better growth than those that don't receive this feedback. The differences in the key metrics for the two groups are:
|With Surveys||Without Surveys||Difference|
|Customer retention||64.1%||53.5%||20% higher with surveys|
|Customer growth, #||+7%||+4.7%||49% higher with surveys|
|Revenue growth, $||+43.7%||+19.6%||123% higher with surveys|
Phone surveys provide better information
The average take rate for phone surveys is 97%. If a customer can be reached by phone, he or she will almost always take a survey, as long as it really does last just a minute or two. The difficulty is reaching someone by phone, so it's important to have cell phone numbers in your customer records, especially for equipment dealers' customers. Many of the decision makers are not sitting at desks in an office.
Receiving consistent feedback from email surveys, on the other hand, is not sustainable. The number of respondents tends to decrease dramatically with each month that passes.
The other advantage of phone surveys is the amount of detail that can be obtained if there is some sort of concern. A caller is talking with the customer and will ask questions until the explanation for the customer's concerns is clear.
Customer satisfaction surveys are an important component in an equipment dealer's growth. If you aren't using this method of obtaining customer feedback, it's time to start!
Debbie Frakes is managing director at Winsby Inc., a market research company that has been conducting customer satisfaction surveys for companies for over fifteen years.
Customer satisfaction is important for any business. There can be a big difference between your perceptions of your customers’ satisfaction with your products and services and what they really think about your company. Here are 3 reasons why customer satisfaction matters and what you can do to improve your customers’ experiences.
1. Customer Retention
Companies with high customer satisfaction scores have extremely high customer retention rates. Simply put, if your customers are happy, why would they look for another option? Do you know your retention rate and your customer satisfaction score?
Happy customers are complimentary about your products and services when they talk to colleagues and friends. Similarly, customers with bad experiences will tell others about those, too. When asked how likely they are to try a new company when referred by a friend or colleague, over 80% say they would. The lesson is simple—make sure your customers are happy. If you receive a negative score, call them and make it right. It’s usually much more difficult to find a new customer than to fix a problem with a current customer.
3. Purchase Frequency
When customers are loyal, they purchase more often from you … and less often from your competitors. It can take years, though, to build the kind of loyalty where your customers depend on you for all of their needs. And one misstep can erase all that goodwill that you've built up. Constantly monitoring your customer satisfaction identifies problems before they start affecting your customer base.
What’s Your Customer Satisfaction Score?
Most customers will contact you only when they are extremely upset, or they will just take their business elsewhere. The only way to find out what you are doing wrong—and right—consistently is to monitor your customer satisfaction scores through surveys. Random samplings of recent customer interactions is an easy way to keep your finger on the pulse of your business.
Winsby has developed a customer satisfaction survey process that provides reliable, consistent feedback. You’ll submit invoices for purchases for the past 30 days, and Winsby will call customers to ask a series of targeted questions about their purchase. The results are available in real time through an online password protected portal. Negative scores are emailed to your team within an hour, so you can follow up to ask about details and try to fix the problem.
You’ll have a customer satisfaction score, the Winsby Referral Score, which indicates how well your company is doing, compared to others in your industry. You’ll know exactly how your company rates.
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