Keys to a Successful Customer Satisfaction Survey Campaign

Over the past 15 years, Opinionmeter International has distributed thousands of customer satisfaction surveys through its wide-range of interactive survey devices. Here are some ‘tips & tricks’ we’ve learned over the years.

Placement – When using an unattended survey system, such as a Survey Kiosk or counter mounted touch screen tablet, it’s important to carefully consider the optimum placement of the device. You’ll need to consider the transaction or service flow of your lobby environment and at what point in the flow you wish to capture feedback. Do you want to capture spontaneous feedback at the Point-of-Sale, or after the transaction or service? What are the objectives of your survey? Perhaps a table-mounted Opinionmeter adjacent the cashier can take advantage of the customer’s wait-time during checked-out and capture a short, spontaneous survey on their shopping experience. Or perhaps you may want to place the a Survey Kiosk by the exit or discharge area in a healthcare setting, for exit surveys. If on the other hand you wish to gather pre-visit data relating to the overall experience from repeat visitors, place the device in the waiting area or adjacent the queue line and take advantage of your customer’s waiting time.

Signage – Along with the placement, signage can significantly help draw attention to the unattended survey device. Signage can also be used to effectively communicate the importance of the data being collected, along with any incentives being offered, if any. Another great use of signage is to communicate to the customer the changes that are being implemented based on previous survey’s feedback. This creates a strong sense of ownership and participation on the part of your customers and results in higher customer loyalty. Signage doesn’t need to be static! With Opinionmeter’s digital signage feature, you can run a sequence of videos or images during idle-time between surveys to communicate your messaging.

Staff Involvement – The single most powerful driver of response rates is staff involvement. At the conclusion of the visit, if staff ask the customer to provide a “minute of their time to give us their feedback” – a high percentage of customers will do so. It’s also important that staff be educated about the purpose of the survey so they don’t feel intimidated by the data being collected (e.g. that they’re being judged negatively by the customer’s responses). If employees are not engaged in the process, they are likely to view it with suspicion or cynicism. This can lead to lack of motivation and in some cases even attempts to manipulate the customer survey.

Survey Length – The shorter the survey the more likely you will have a higher response rate. This is always a challenge, balancing the need to ask the required questions to achieve your survey objective, yet keeping the length of the questionnaire appropriate to the environment in which you are soliciting feedback. This is especially the case in highly-trafficked areas. For example, if you are capturing feedback after a customer’s visit, or have a kiosk adjacent a queue line, the questionnaire should be quite short. On the other hand, if your customers are waiting for services, a longer survey instrument may be appropriate.

Using Incentives – There are many ways to use incentives to encourage survey participation and increase response rates. In fact, Opinionmeter provides several incentive options within the SurveyManager software (Winning number and Winning Quiz). In many cases simply explaining why you’re conducting the survey and the value of their participation, provide far more benefit than an incentive. If you plan to use an incentive, you should test the incentive to see if it results in a higher participation rate without sacrificing quality of the data. On the other hand, the more complex and taxing you make the survey (“survey friction”) the more likely you’ll need to incent your customers to participate.

Feedback resulting in Action – It’s critical, especially in environments where you have repeat customers, to inform them of the actions being implemented based on previous customer feedback they have provided. This can be done through simple signage placed at the survey station, even on the introductory screen of the survey itself or through a company newsletter, website, etc. Customers need to know their feedback is not only being recorded, but is resulting in actions taken to implement change. Customers are imbued with a sense of ownership when they are included in the feedback-loop process: Feedback -> Discovery -> Change -> Re-Evaluate. By including the customer in this process it communicates a very strong message: “We’ve heard your concerns, we’ve understood your opinions and now we’re going to act.” This is an excellent method for building customer loyalty.

Where does the 360-degree feedback loop begin?

A great deal of attention has been paid to the importance of the customer feedback loop process – it goes something like this: gather continuous customer feedback, forward data to employees in real-time, analyze the data for the underlying root causes, identify areas in need of improvement, implement change, continue listening!

Although the continuous improvement process is well understood, and the value of real-time data is appreciated, not enough attention has been paid to the importance of how the process itself begins: when and where the customer feedback is gathered. No matter how sophisticated your feedback process, your conclusions and change implementation will be handicapped by the quality and freshness of the incoming customer feedback. I would argue the most important step in the feedback look is how the process begins.

Capturing real-time customer feedback as close as possible to the time and place the customer experiences your business is critical to ensure fresh, spontaneous and accurate feedback data. We at Opinionmeter refer to this as the Point-of-Experience (POE): the time and place of the customer forms a purchase decision or experiences your business’s products and services. The goal is to get as close as possible to the POE when soliciting customer experience feedback regardless of the touch point – be it on the shelf, at the cashier, online or in the waiting room, feedback can be solicited using a variety data collection tools. All these touch points should be capturing continuous, real-time feedback creating a rich stream of input to initiate the feedback process.

In addition to ensuring quality input into your feedback process, when you have a spontaneous real-time POE data stream directly from all touch points across your enterprise, you then have an extremely rich conduit directly to the customer: Voice of the Customer from the POE!