Customer satisfaction surveys for SME’s: How you can build your brand’s reputation while collecting vital data

For small business owners, creating a customer experience survey may at first seem overwhelming. To ensure the data is high quality and the process is worthwhile, the surveys need to not only be engaging, but also be delivered to the group of people who actually use the product or service you’re trying to improve. Many companies, particularly small and medium sized businesses, may not know where to begin when trying to achieve these goals. However, customer satisfaction surveys are one of the easiest ways for companies to get to know their customers’ needs and gain feedback on how to improve customer experiences with the brand. Additionally, they are a great way of showing your customers you care about them and want to provide products and services that deliver. So, how can SMEs optimize their customer experience surveys to encourage participation and gain actionable insights that will ultimately improve their business?

Send Cust-Sat surveys via email

Recent Phoenix Marketing International research shows that the preferred method of targeting consumers to take part in CX surveys is via email. 28% of respondents stated they would be most likely to respond to a CX survey in this format. Email surveys allow consumers the opportunity to take the survey whenever and wherever they feel most comfortable. Email surveys also provide businesses with a convenient and easy way to personalize the content to each consumer.

After email, the most preferred method for inviting consumers to take part in a CX survey is a prompt on a transaction receipt, with 18% of respondents saying they would like to be communicated with in this way. Although requesting feedback in this way is likely to target engaged customers, fewer people are opting to take a paper receipt when they complete a transaction, due in part to an increased concern for waste and the environment.

However, the rise of e-receipts provides an excellent opportunity for customers to be contacted via email, with the sure knowledge of reaching those who use products and services rather than disengaged database contacts, again with the opportunity for personalization.

On the other hand, the least preferred method of inviting consumers to take part in CX surveys is in app pop-ups, due in part to its lack of personalization. Many consumers also feel that this approach can be pressure -filled, as they have to agree to the survey immediately and this can be damaging to businesses.

Businesses risk losing engaged customers who would like to give their feedback but simply do not have the time. Although in app pop ups will target those who actively use your service or product, you risk irritating those you are trying to sell to which may have damaging repercussions for your brand.

Step into your customers’ shoes

When creating a CX survey, it’s important to remember that the target audience are your existing customers, so try to make the survey as much like your brand experience as possible. You can achieve this by using your branding within the survey to create a familiar atmosphere, using language your customers understand and when appropriate, using interviewers who are a similar age and demographic to your target audience. Moreover, the questions must be tailored as closely as possible to the experience your brand provides. Any irrelevant questions, or the inclusion of too many questions, risks disengaging or irritating your audience.

Provide incentives when necessary

Of course, in an ideal situation, customers would gladly provide feedback unincentivized. But the reality is that consumers are busy and often need an extra motivation in order to give up their precious time. However, these incentives don’t have to be huge. Providing just a small incentive, such as a $5 gift card or the opportunity to be entered into a prize draw, can make even a small rise in the respondent figures worthwhile. This depends on who your audience is; the more niche your audience, the more likely it is you will have to provide incentives for feedback.

Don’t rely on unprompted customer feedback

Our research found that 60% of people have taken a customer experience survey over the past 3 months. But how likely are consumers to provide feedback of their own accord, and what are their preferred methods of doing this? We found that 55% of people had provided unprompted feedback to a brand at some point and are most likely to provide that feedback via phone. The data also shows that consumers are 11% more likely to use social media to provide positive feedback than negative feedback, and 13% more likely to provide positive feedback than negative feedback on a platform such as Yelp. In fact, negative comments on Yelp was the least common way of providing feedback to a company out of any of the options provided, along with sending feedback via text message. While the internet and social channels are great sources of feedback, this data suggests that those relying on social media may not be seeing the full picture.

Without the full picture brands can not make better business decisions, therefore it is essential that CX surveys are part of their research and insights strategy. However, there is no point in issuing a survey unless it is engaging and targeted.

Regardless of what consumers have to say, whether they provide glowing feedback or are deeply critical, CX surveys are a great way for a brand to demonstrate that they care about their customers and are taking steps to continually improve.

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