“When it comes to learning about a company’s client base, there is rarely anything more effective than a customer service survey. For decades, these surveys have given customers a chance to voice their concerns and sing the praises of the industries with which they deal,” – National Business Research Institute
The information age that pervades our lives prizes transparency and customer choice. The modern customer is most likely a digital native that has access to an ever wider range of customer brands, consumer products, and a plethora of services. Market observers and thinkers note that fundamental shifts are underway in certain industries that may irrevocably change the business landscape. The rise of the almighty mobile app, the global Internet, ride-hailing services, crypto currencies, electronic banking, digital wallets, Internet of Things, e-coupons, etc. point to an altered landscape in the future. In this scenario, brands and businesses have realized the centrality of customer service surveys because these can decisively mold business outcomes. We will examine some of the critical points of such surveys in the following paragraphs.
The execution of customer service surveys can proceed through customer focus groups and face-to-face interviews. However, these methods remain cost-prohibitive and consume a lot of time in terms of gathering information from customers. Consequently, industry players and market research professionals have fashioned telephone surveys and e-mail driven surveys as alternatives to paper surveys and other old school methods of gathering customer information. Telephone surveys hinge on voice interviews and remove the cost of sending survey personnel to the premises of customers. Paper-driven surveys allow customers to think about answers before indicating their responses in a sheet of paper. This method also allows surveyors to send out significantly large numbers of questionnaires to customers via ‘snail mail’. However, the survey organization has to wait for the actual responses.
E-mail driven customer service surveys, on the other hand, offer stellar convenience for market researchers and commercial organizations. If we assume that only 5% of the target population responds out of 10,000 transmitted questionnaires, the surveyor gains 500 returns in a single campaign. Similarly, large volume surveys, which need high response rates, must proceed through the online survey method. In light of the above, we may state that modern electronic and connectivity technologies have enabled faster and more accurate response rates from surveyed populations. In line with this, technology designers and software architects are driving ongoing efforts to create convenient survey platforms enabled by Internet technologies.
The importance of customer service surveys stems from the fact that “successful organizations perceive that retaining customers is more cost-effective than finding new customers.” A survey can inform a commercial operator whether its customer service practices are finding resonance with its clients and customers. This is important because gaps in customer service may lead to revenue leakages, sub optimal business outcomes, and dents in corporate reputations. The ideal customer service surveys should help business managers and corporate strategists to explore the mindset of the customer through his or her responses. We note that customer service surveys should center on intelligent angles of probing customer attitudes. These surveys should work to extract every single perception from the minds of customers; this data can be invaluable in effecting course corrections in customer service paradigms and practices.
Customer loyalty forms a central plank in modern business practices. Business strategists opine that brands and businesses need to “earn the loyalty” of the customer. Customer loyalty assumes higher importance because business organizations can lose “up to 45% of their customer value” when clients or customers remain dis-satisfied with the standards of customer service. This situation can be addressed by deploying customer service surveys at regular intervals with the intent to sample customer feedback. For instance, a manufacturer of custom leather products can elect to poll customers with regard to the quality of customer service and business interaction. The feedback generated by this exercise can uncover deficiencies in customer service. Subsequently, the business can initiate remedial actions with a view to address customer concerns. This instance spotlights the necessity of undertaking customer service surveys at regular intervals.
Excellent customer service can enable a business to achieve positive branding. Commercial organizations may elect to implement superlative standards of customer service in both online and offline channels with a view to win accolades from clients and customers. This is critical in the age of all pervasive social media; the feedback or electronic acknowledgment from a happy customer can help a brand to elevate its public image.
In a similar vein, brands and businesses can activate customer service surveys through social media platforms. This technique is very cost-efficient and optimized for the hyper connected world we live in. Any brand that operates a social media handle can conversationally engage its customers with the intent to gauge their mind. Surveys can ‘live’ forever in cyber space; this enables brands to extract incremental information from users and customers in direct proportion to the ‘life’ of the survey. That said, we note that social media-powered surveys also enable customers to speak their minds exempt from the constraints imposed by time and space. In light of the above, we note this technique enables brands to save money, achieve faster response times, and interact with all manner of customers in real time.
Designing customer service surveys demands an investment of time and thought from brands and businesses. A business can design a questionnaire with the intent to plumb consumer reactions to its customer service standards. Beyond that, the intelligent business should provide ample space to every customer to offer suggestions to improve upon current customer service practices. This device enables the business to pick the brains of every customer at zero cost to itself. We note that the feedback and insights harvested from customer service surveys can help the brand to implement course corrections and improve its public persona. In addition, astute business operators can work to expand the reach of customer service surveys beyond regions and geographies. Multiple techniques can be deployed to achieve this; the outcomes of such initiatives should be qualitatively richer than data that emanates from surveying narrow customer segments.
The best customer service surveys should set out to collect actionable information from customers. Telephone surveys, mated to interactive voice response technologies, can help conduct brief voice-driven questionnaires that do not weigh heavily on the customer’s time and patience. This approach, when automated, can gather responses from customers and members of the public. The information, when aggregated and collated, can help businesses to construct a picture. The action points must be sent to top management for their views and these can be implemented to improve business processes.
In the preceding paragraphs, we have examined customer service surveys from multiple points of view. Every brand and commercial organization should invest time and effort to design such surveys and seriously assess the outcomes. This is important in light of the fact that customer service has emerged as a key differentiator between businesses that earn and conserve the customer’s trust and those that fail in the mission. The survey operators must bear in mind the refinements that are emerging in modern customer service paradigms. The net outcome of a forward mindset can empower businesses to attain the goal of creating and sustaining finer customer service standards.