So you’ve got a list of customers, and want to get some customer feedback? Here’s the five questions you need.

A SIMPLE CUSTOMER FEEDBACK PROGRAM HAS FIVE KEY QUESTIONS

1. A big picture rating – so you know how you’re going overall

2. A couple of specific element ratings – so you can get a read on your website, your products or services or your staff

3. A freeform question for customers to give you reasons behind their ratings

4. An offer to follow up

5. A request for the customer to provide their name so you can undertake a more meaningful analysis once you’ve finished collecting your survey data.

Let’s look at each of these in more detail.

QUESTION 1: YOUR BIG PICTURE RATING

Your customer feedback form should start with an overall rating. There’s different options but here’s my top two – you only need to pick one.

How satisfied are you OR

Would you recommend us? (known as the Net Promoter Score or NPS)

Let’s check out each of these in a little more detail.

Option 1 – Customer satisfaction

This is the most common style of question, and is typically measured on what’s known as a ‘5 point scale”. For most businesses, it’s the simplest question to use.

The wording to use is: How satisfied are you with (insert brand)?

And here’s the scale. It’s important to make sure you’ve got the numbering in the right order (with the lowest score for the poorest performance).

This makes it easier to interpret the results when you’re looking at your data.

You may have seen much shorter scales (ie – a 3 point scale) or longer scales – 7 or even up to 11 points.

We’ve found a five point scale is the easiest to analyse for you, and straightforward for your customers to answer.

Option 2 – Likelihood to recommend, or the Net Promoter Score™.

The Net Promoter Score™ was developed back in 2003 by Fred Reichheld. It was created to address a perceived shortcoming of the “customer satisfaction” metric – this being a lack of correlation to repeat purchase.

That is, customers were saying they’re satisfied, but they weren’t coming back! So Fred developed a new question which is believed to be better correlated with revenue and repeat business.

The key advantage of this question is there are many publicly available databases that let you to compare your score against others. This is because the question and answers are standard across the world, so you can review NPS scores for other organisations, and be confident that they’ve asked the question in the same way (and using the same scale) as you.

The question is this:

How likely are you to recommend (insert your brand) to family or friends?

And the scale looks like this:

From here you group your customers depending on the score they gave you.

If they gave a 9 or 10 rating – nice one – they’re a promoter.

If they gave you a 7 or 8 rating, they’re a passive.

And if they gave you a 0 – 6 rating, well, they’re a detractor.

Your Net Promoter Score is simply

% of Promoters minus % of Detractors = Net Promoter Score

Which one should I use?

Advocacy is a really important metric for growth – the more people talking about your brand in a positive way, the better.

And, there’s dedicated benchmarking websites such as this one that let you compare your scores to others.

However, one criticism is that the criteria for “detractors” is particularly broad, meaning those who might really just be “middle of the road” in their opinion (ie – give a rating of 5 or 6 out of 10) are classified as a “detractor” rather than simply being “passive”.

Use this if you’d like to compare yourself to other major brands, otherwise it might be easier to stick with the satisfaction measure.

QUESTION 2: RATING OF SPECIFIC ELEMENTS

The next set of questions will ask the customer to rate specific elements of your product or service. I suggest selecting no more than three of these.

Again, we’re using a five point scale, only this time the labels have changed.

The question is simple – it’s Please rate …

The elements shown below are examples only – you might want to include different ones based on your business.

For example, if you’re predominantly a service based business, you might want to remove the item “the quality of our products” and replace it with “The responsiveness of our team”.

You’ll notice we’ve also included a “not sure” column.

This is because there may be times where customers haven’t had experience with a particular element, and forcing them to give a rating would be irrelevant.

QUESTION 3: WHAT CAN WE DO TO IMPROVE?

Your third question is simple – it’s what’s called an open-ended question that reads:

What can we do to improve?

The data you’ll get from this will be rich in insights – you’ll get an idea of opportunities for positive change.

It’s also an indication of how well you’re doing – if you have lots of people saying “nothing” or “I don’t know”, this suggests things are ticking along well, and you’re next step is to consider how to not just satisfy but to delight your customers.

If you’ve decided to use the NPS question, you might want to consider a different question – which is “In the question ‘how likely would you be to recommend’, why did you give a rating of “insert the rating”? This enables you to capture positive feedback as well as constructive direction.

QUESTION 4: AN OFFER TO FOLLOW UP

The next question is give customers an opportunity to have a follow up discussion with you.

Now this is an optional question, but there’s value in extending the opportunity for a two-way conversation about issues which may be affecting customers that you’re not aware of.

The question is reads:

Would you like us to contact you to discuss any concerns you might have?

Customers can answer ….

No, I’m ok thanks OR

Yes please – (here is my name and best contact number/email)

Make sure you enable capture of contact details for follow up, and most importantly, make the effort to actually follow up (super important!).

QUESTION 5: ASKING THE CUSTOMER TO IDENTIFY THEMSELVES

Unless you’re providing an individual survey link for each customer, chances are you won’t know which customers are completing your survey.

It can be particularly helpful to be able to connect customer feedback with other data, such as purchase history or web analytics – by connecting pieces of data together, you get a better idea of the context for the feedback your customers are giving you.

To encourage people to provide this information, you can make an offer to follow up with customers with a token of appreciation for their participation – such as a code they can use to obtain a discount on their next purchase.

The wording would go something like this:

That’s it! Thank you again for your feedback – we look forward to helping you again in the future.

By providing your name and email address, we can better understand your survey responses. If you provide your name and email address, we’ll send you a small token of our appreciation for doing this survey. But this is totally optional of course!

Customers can then provide their name and email address – thereby enabling you to match back where appropriate.

ASKING FOR FEEDBACK CAN BE HARD – THE FIRST STEP IS THE HARDEST

Without actively listening to your customers, you’re essentially flying blind. Asking for feedback signifies to your customers that you care and are willing to adjust what you do based on their needs. And, it’s an invaluable opportunity to learn what you’re doing well.

33 ways to learn more about your customers

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