This is a cringe-worthy conversation for some companies. If you already know that people are unhappy with your products or services, then you have a huge opportunity to remedy this issue. However, this is not what this post is about. We are talking about the companies who think they have a pretty good idea of what their customer satisfaction levels are and are merrily going along with those assumptions.
Remember that old saying, Assume makes an ASS out of U and ME. This is truth. Thinking you know what other people think about your brand, your products, can be deadly. You want to actually improve your customer loyalty, sell more boots and shirts, and create brand champions that shout on your behalf. Yes, it can be scary to find out some things that may be negative, but look at the whole picture.
Best case scenario, the recent Zappos coat return story trending right now. A perfect example of allowing customer support to make a decision to make the right decision. And look, it all went viral. You can’t go wrong when you decide to make the world a nicer place.
If you are in touch with your social media audience, and by in touch, I mean having conversations, not just posting your next product launch or which trade show you are attending, you have a much better idea of what is happening. I see brands, even the big ones, that don’t acknowledge issues or complaints and don’t follow up. This has been noticed by other marketing experts as well, so it’s not just me. Nothing creates a negative impression like not addressing an issue or concern.
It’s always smart to have a plan before you create a social media calendar, as to how you will handle complaints or problems. You naturally don’t want to get into a pissing contest online, but discuss with your stakeholders (or if you are a company of one, think about a non-inflammatory way to handle these). Some people are just born to complain, we all know at least one of these. However, there may be times where someone has a legit complaint about something that went down. Maybe it was a poor customer-service event, or the expectation did not match the product performance. Either way, it’s up to you to find out (calmly) what happened, and find a solution quickly. If you can take the conversation offline and talk one on one, that is best.
Another, better way to get ahead of things is to reach out to your customer list and ASK. This information is gold, people. Gold. One of my all time favorite marketing tools, which is also underrated, is Survey Monkey. (I do not rep for them, just am a user fan) Surveys allow you to give people a platform to vent, shower you with love, or just give some detailed feedback on how you are doing in general. You are the only one that sees their answers, so ask them to be honest.
Set up a survey, select decent bait, such as a $10 Amazon card for the first 30 people (or whatever your budget can handle). When selecting bait, think about what it would take for you to stop what you are working on, and spend 5-10 minutes working on. Is that $10, $20? Gift cards are the best and can be digitally sent out quickly after the survey closes.
Writing your survey is not that hard. Keep in mind you want no more than about 10 questions. And you don’t want to lead someone into an answer. Keep it neutral. Give them a range to select from 1-5, most to least, miserable to fantastic. You should give people a place to explain their answers – this is the best place to learn what is going on. Multiple choice questions are great for overall questions, but ranking type questions are going to give you more detailed responses. I have found that a question combined with a place to add comments gives you the most specific feedback.
You may need to mark some questions as mandatory, some may ok without. Be sure to capture all of the information you need to make this exercise worthwhile.
What to ask. There are lots of dummy surveys out there to base upon, but here are some of my favorite questions to ask regarding customer satisfaction in general:
Overall, I am very satisfied with the way [Company] performed (is performing).
– Strongly Disagree
– Somewhat Disagree
– Neither Agree nor Disagree
– Somewhat Agree
– Strongly Agree
Overall, how satisfied were you with your purchase:
– Not at all
– Very Satisfied
See what I am doing here? Five selections, one is neutral. You can play with answers to make them more fun, but be sure they are still weighted the same.
Remember when you send this to your customer list, you are slightly biasing the answers as it’s not anonymous. That’s ok, just keep it in mind. If you are doing a branding type of survey that really needs to not skew answers, find a media channel to send this on your behalf. Chances are they have a larger readership than you do, and then the invitation is coming from them, not you. There is normally a flat rate charge for this service and they will be happy to help you out.
If you are offering bait, be sure to capture contact information at the end or that gets embarassing.
Last, but not least, write the invitation. You may want to send out a personal email with a link to the survey. Be sure your Subject line does not use spammy flags, or nobody will even see it.
Dear [FIRST NAME]
Thank you for giving us the opportunity to serve you better. Please help us by taking a few minutes to tell us about the service that you have received so far. We appreciate your business and want to make sure we meet your expectations.
Sincerely, [MANAGER_NAME] Manager
Spell check, hit send, get your coffee and watch the returns come in like it’s election day. If you send out your rewards within 24 hours, you’ll have even happier customers.
If you found this information helpful, and are interested in working with me on a similar project, please contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hi, I’m Amanda! As a life-long equestrian, I understand the importance of keeping our horses healthy, happy and well-appointed. And with over 15 years of experience in marketing, I can help you to translate that shared goal into a brand that drives sales. I’ve mastered marketing strategy, branding, website production and digital media marketing, and led successful teams to bring it all together. So it’s a pleasure to offer my services and knowledge to those who make my life more enjoyable, and to bring new products and services to others to keep our horses happy and healthy. Connect with me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn!