Four Ways Surveys can Improve your Customer Experience

By: Clarabridge Team

October 22, 2014

Sentiment Analysis
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When asked whether they thought their companies provided superior customer service, 80% of CEOs responded with a resounding “yes.” However, when their customers were asked the same question, only 8% responded similarly.[i]

Survey imageThis gap is worrying. It means that organizations are simply not in touch with how their customers feel about them.  Organizations that truly provide excellent customer experiences are those that listen to and analyze what their customers are saying, so that they know exactly where their brand experience falls short. These are the companies that live and breathe the Voice of the Customer (VoC).

There are many ways for customers to tell you what they think of your brand experience. Recently, social media has been an increasingly popular channel for customer feedback, and rightly so, with 53% of Twitter users recommending products in their tweets[ii].  But social media is not the only (or the most important) source of customer feedback. Channels such as contact center notes, online reviews, emails, and chat transcripts all provide valuable insight into the customer journey.

Surveys are one of the most traditional ways of eliciting feedback. And while they may not currently be as “trendy” as social media, they do achieve a few things that other channels of feedback aren’t able to provide.

Here are four unique things that you can do with surveys that make them a critical element of customer experience (CX) and Voice of the Customer (VoC) programs:

1) Ask specific questions about the topics you want to know more about: How do your most loyal customers like the new product design? What do your customers like best (or hate the most) about your website redesign? What are customers saying about your front-line staff? With surveys, you are able to ask the burning questions that keep you up at night. Do not assume your customers feel one way or the other; ask them.

2) Track specific metrics over time:  Focus on questions that provide you with feedback to track key metrics over time, such as NPS. With unsolicited feedback channels such as social media platforms and online review sites, customers can say whatever is on their mind. With surveys, you are able to harness the customer feedback to track specific trends, or measure the success of a program before and after it is launched.

3) Reach a segment of your customers who prefer surveys to online discourse:  Generation Y is most likely to interact with a company over social media than Generation X and Boomers.[iii] Surveys enable you to tap into the segment of your customers who don’t like to tweet.

4) Conduct second-level research:  Maybe you noticed online reviews or social commentary about a particular topic, but you need a bit more information in order to figure out your next best course of action. Use your survey to dig deeper.  When these topics pop up, use your survey to confirm or deny your suspicions and to give you the hard evidence you need in order to make confident decisions on what to do next. For example, perhaps your customers are occasionally talking about the struggles they have with one of your coupon programs.  Insert a survey question that asks specifically about the program and that leaves room for open-end responses.  This way, when you recommend changes to the owner of the coupon program, you have the data to back it up.

Surveys provide a few key benefits that you are not able to find through other platforms. That said, it is imperative to remember that there is no single platform that can provide all the necessary insight you need in order to make informed, confident business decisions. In order to leverage the full potential of your survey feedback, you need to ensure your survey program is built into a broader Customer Experience Management (CEM) initiative, where you are listening to customer feedback across multiple feedback channels. Only then can you be assured that you are capturing the holistic, 360-degree voice of your customer.

To learn more about how to take advantage of customer survey feedback, download our complimentary CEM Tip Sheet: 5 Rules for Building a Survey Feedback Program.

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