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Making customers a priority by providing quality service, products, and a desirable shopping experience is a marketing strategy that will survive even the most dynamic and disrupted environment. It will lead to customer retention, particularly in a trembling economy where consumers can be expected to be more deliberate in how and why they make purchase decisions. Perhaps there has never been a more disruptive economic time in our lifetime than now, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact many important business and economic fundaments.
The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) measures and analyzes customer satisfaction with more than 400 companies in 46 industries and 10 economic sectors. It interviews nearly 500,000 customers annually and creates a numeric measure of how customers feel about life and the economy. Reported on a scale of 0 to 100, scores have been a national economic indicator for commerce for 25 years. Unsurprisingly, the COVID-19 pandemic has inspired the most significant drop ever in the customer satisfaction index. With two-thirds of the economy dependent upon consumer spending, it is more important than ever that businesses are aware of how customers feel about the company’s products and services. “The elemental factors that drive customer satisfaction have changed,” said Claes Fornell, Chairman and Founder of ACSI. “To a significant number of people, it is no longer just about a great shopping and consumption experience, but rather avoiding the risk of death, or at least minimizing the risk. Economic recovery is highly dependent on companies that can do that, and they are also the companies that will do well.”
Due to new technologies and the present state of the pandemic, personal behavior is changing almost daily, influencing consumers’ buying decisions. Fully understanding these shifts in consumer behaviors and beliefs helps unlock fresh insights to drive a business forward. Customer surveys can be an important tool to identify and implement necessary changes to products and services. Surveys also inform of customers’ likes and dislikes for products and services, which can assist in business improvements and drive innovation and growth. Research indicates that 90% of consumers have a more favorable view of companies that ask for feedback on a shopping experience, and more than 50 percent expect a follow-up to a purchasing experience.
“The insights and data derived from customer surveys should drive an overarching strategy that increases awareness for your business or the product and services you provide”, says Julie Gareleck, founder and CEO of Junction Creative Solutions. Customers are the best gauge for improving a company’s products and services. Listening and acting on the feedback they provide is essential to business success. So, what design elements make a customer survey more likely to attract consumers’ honest feelings about an experience with a marketer’s effort?
A world-wide survey by Survey Monkey found that surveys with just ten questions have an average completion rate of 89%. Survey participation rates diminish considerably as the number of questions increase. Similar to test taking in high school, multiple-choice questions are favored over open-ended inquiries. In short, to be most effective, keep the format short rather than long, and ask questions that are easy to comprehend and focused on the specific information needed. With 81% of Americans using smartphones, be sure to adapt the format for mobile devices and tailor the content to match the targeted audience through appropriate marketing channels. Be sure to include survey opportunities on the company website, utilize in-app feedback forms, and send customers text messages linked to online survey forms. Remember, time is money and real value comes with a price. Consumers value time and enjoy earning additional discounts, free samples, coupon codes, and preferred customer premiums. Incentives offered to customers are more likely to add value to the information collected.
Once received, publish the honest survey results and testimonials. According to a 2019 study, 91% of consumers say positive reviews make them more likely to buy from companies who have a positive track record. A critical fundamental in successful customer surveys is to acknowledge receipt of the taker’s response. It would seem to be a no-brainer, but more than 90 percent of marketers fail to inform the customer that the message was received. Once received and acknowledged, put that information to work by correcting problems and initiating innovations that favor customer retention and acquisition. Customer feedback data is rich with insights and can help a company sustain and grow.
For additional guidance and direction on developing effective and valuable customer surveys, contact Junction Creative Solutions today at 678-686-1125.