A big part of running a successful business is knowing what your customers think about it. Are they mostly satisfied, or are they often frustrated? Are they enthusiastic about your business, or indifferent? Are they likely to refer your business to others, or warn people away?
To truly know what your customers are experiencing when they interact with your business, it’s critical to gather customer feedback. Surveys in particular can give you the information you need to not only identify and fix problems but to also expand on what’s working well — all which can help increase customer loyalty and help you avoid losing out to the competition. After all, over half (59%) of customers will walk away after several bad experiences, and 17% will walk after just one.
There are two types of customer surveys you can use to get a comprehensive picture of the customer experience. We’ll take a closer look at both types as well as how to design and conduct them effectively to get higher completion rates and ensure more accurate answers.
1. Customer satisfaction survey
Customer satisfaction (CSAT) surveys dive into how satisfied or unsatisfied your customers are with a product or service you sell, or an interaction they’ve had with your team. CSAT surveys can be formatted in a variety of ways — from a single question to a multi-question survey — but all are intended to illuminate the sentiment or emotion at the center of the customer’s experience.
Why does emotion matter? Recent research by Gallup shows that 70% of customer decisions to stay loyal to a brand are based on emotional factors, and only 30% on rational factors.
You can use a CSAT survey when you want to uncover the potential weaknesses in your brand or business, or figure out what your strengths are so you can capitalize and expand on them. CSAT surveys help you pinpoint opportunities for change and improvement so that problems don’t turn into a ripple effect of bad reviews, fleeing customers, and lost revenue.
How to conduct a CSAT survey
- Come up with a goal for the survey: Before you get started, decide what you want to get out of the survey. That way you can avoid asking every question possible and risk over-complicating it — for yourself and your customers. For example, you could focus the survey just on a new service offering or how well your customer service team is performing (or not).
- Keep it simple and brief: When was the last time you voluntarily filled out a 30-question survey that involved a bunch of reading and deciphering? The truth is, most people won’t even bother. To respect your customers’ valuable time and help ensure they’ll respond to your survey, keep it brief — no more than four to five questions is ideal — and use simple, easy-to-understand language.
- Include open- and closed-ended questions: Open-ended questions invite customers to share their opinion about something without you guiding their response. While closed-ended questions are easy to compile into data — such as 40% of your customers said yes and 60% said no. Asking both types of questions in your survey will give you a well-rounded view into customer perspectives and experiences.
- Choose the right time to survey: A good guideline is if you have quick or frequent interactions with customers — e.g., they make a purchase at the counter and leave, or they call and book an appointment — then send the survey right after the experience or within a day or two so it’s fresh in the customer’s mind. If you have less frequent or more involved interactions with customers — e.g., they come in for an hour-plus meeting or appointment once a year — then send a survey every six months or so that focuses on their overall satisfaction with your business.
- Follow up as needed: Survey answers can reveal a lot on their own, but you may want to dive deeper into certain aspects of the feedback. At the end of the CSAT survey, ask if the customer is open to providing additional feedback. Not everyone will be open to it, but for those who are, you can get even richer insights from them since they’re likely to be genuinely invested in your business and want to see it improve or succeed.
2. Net Promoter Score survey
Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys are quick temperature checks that help you understand how likely — or unlikely — a customer is to recommend your overall business, product, or service to others.
NPS surveys typically use a scale of 0 to 10, with 0 being “not likely” and 10 being “very likely.” Customers that give scores in the 9-10 range are “promoters,” customers that give scores in the 7-8 range are “passives,” and customers that give scores in the 0-6 range are “detractors.” Promoters enthusiastically talk about your business while detractors speak negatively about it, and passives tend to behave indifferently toward it.
To calculate your NPS score, subtract the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters. NPS scores can be understood like this:
- -100-0 = Poor
- 1-30 = Average
- 31-70 = Good
- 71-100 = Excellent
You can use an NPS survey when you want to measure customer loyalty and enthusiasm. If your customers love your business, you’ll see it in the NPS score. If they don’t, you can look at it as a catalyst to make necessary business improvements and re-engage with passives and detractors.
How to conduct an NPS survey
- Make your question quantitative: Since you’re asking customers to give an answer on a scale of 0-10, the question you ask needs to be worded so that it can be rated numerically, which means wording it such as “How likely are you…” or “On a scale of 0-10…” Though not calculated into the NPS score, you can also follow up with open-ended, qualitative questions to get more insight. For example, ask why they gave you that score.
- Get specific: Understanding how customers view your overall business is helpful, but to get even more value out of the NPS survey, try being as specific as possible. You could ask something like: How likely are you to book [insert service] again? If you have a multi-location business, you can also get specific with branches and locations, such as: How likely are you to recommend our new branch at [insert location] to a friend?
- Use NPS surveys throughout the customer journey: Since NPS surveys function as a great customer check-in, you can inject them at different points in the customer journey. For example, you can survey customers right after making a purchase to understand how satisfied they were with the experience. Then, a few months later, you can check in again to find out how likely they are to recommend your business to others.
- Collect enough data: You want enough data to be able to draw significant conclusions. It’s harder to understand how customers really rate your business if you only get a handful of responses — even though your customer base may be in the hundreds or thousands. To maximize participation, send your survey on different days of the week and at different times until you can gather enough data. This will also help you set a benchmark for what works and how to get the most responses going forward.
- Don’t survey too often: Though you want enough responses to get accurate insights, there’s a delicate balance between not surveying enough and surveying too often. Remember, you want to give your customers time to form an opinion about your business, product, or service. After sending an initial NPS survey, wait several months to send the next one, and ensure you’re controlling for events like new branch openings and new product or service launches to avoid a biased score. Sending NPS surveys frequently enough can help you measure long-term customer loyalty.
How GatherUp helps you gather and analyze customer feedback
In an overly digital world where it’s easy to lose sight of people, GatherUp makes it possible for you to listen to, understand, and engage customers through the power of customer feedback. Customer surveys remain a viable way to understand how customers feel about your business so you can identify and implement the improvements that will win you customers for life — and keep your competitors at bay.
But surveys are ultimately meaningless without a good way to analyze the responses.
GatherUp’s comprehensive customer feedback and review management platform allows you to conduct CSAT and NPS surveys and gather, analyze, and report on the data — all in one place. You get powerful insights you need to fully understand the customer experience, come up with a road map for improving customer loyalty, and better promote the strengths of your business to help earn new customers.
How does it work?
You can listen to customers by gathering reviews, CSAT and NPS scores, and other survey responses, then analyze that feedback for actionable insights. You can act on those insights through review replies, widgets, social, email, SMS, and webchat to attract, engage, and retain customers – at scale, and all within one platform.
With GatherUp, you can turn the customer voice into customer loyalty and grow your business.
To learn more, schedule a demo.