Customer surveys: Tell them what you heard

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…Close the loop on customer surveys

Last month, I wrote a post which suggested that you stop guessing what your customers were thinking and instead (dramatic pause for novel thought) you just asked them.   I offered up several different ways you could “survey” your customers from traditional surveys to secret shopping and advisory boards.

But… what I forgot to mention was this:

When you ask your customers (or employees, or vendors) for their opinion or assessments – be sure you close the loop by telling what you learned.  Let them share in the insights you gained AND tell them what you are going to do with this new knowledge.

Let’s say that one of the key pieces of feedback you got was that when your customers couldn’t get a hold of their normal account rep, they didn’t know who else they could talk to if there was a problem.

One way to handle that would be to create a contact sheet (headshot, name, title, phone number, cell phone number, e-mail, etc.) of the entire team that works on the client.  Write a letter, explaining that this was something you learned during the survey, so you’re sharing this contact sheet with them in case they were one of the people who wasn’t sure who to reach out to if there was trouble.

It doesn’t have to be fancy or formal.  A letter from your CEO with these elements would also work just great.

  • Thank you for participating in our survey if you did
  • Here were the things you loved the most (share the good news too!)
  • Here are the top 3 things we learned we could improve upon
  • Here is how we’re going to address those items
  • Again, thank you.  If you have more feedback, please feel free to call me.

You could also write a story for your newsletter or put it on your blog, website or Facebook fan page.  No matter what method — be sure you close the loop and let them know that you appreciated their time and that they were heard.

P.S.  The other plus of closing the loop is that it reinforces the message that you care about their opinion, you listen when they offer feedback and you are always trying to get even better.

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7 comments on “Customer surveys: Tell them what you heard

  1. What I think this post is getting at, and what I really like about it is this: being proactive. It’s not enough to just send out a survey; we have to think, as marketers, “what’s the next step?” No matter what action you’ve taken, there’s always a next action. In this context, replying to consumers with personalization is the next action. How does this apply to both traditional and internet marketing? What areas could you be taking proactive next steps in?

  2. Jim Amick says:

    Drew,

    I agree. Surveys are a great way to get input from your clients. However, sometimes survey’s are like putting a bowl of cookies on the table in front of people….. they wait to reach out and get one until someone else does first. By informing people of responses you’ve received from your survey will most certainly generate more responses! Thanks for all the great topics Drew!

    Jim

  3. Great post here. You make a wonderful point about making sure to let your customers know that you are actually using the feedback that they are providing you.

    Our company has been helping clients collect and measure their customer feedback for over 20 years and we always push our clients to share their results.

    Nothing frustrates a customer more than when they take the time to share their feedback only to see it archived and not utilized.

    Allen Bredeson
    http://www.service800inc.com

  4. I thoroughly enjoyed your post. It coincided with an article in our major daily this morning that said Toyota does a poor job of integrating customer feedback. The unwillingness to incorporate findings showed a structural problem within the company.

    If Toyota didn’t understand the value of listening before…they should now!

    Some companies are reluctantly accepting the fact that a customer-centric business approach is the only way to conduct business. This is not a trend but the new order.

    Thanks again for the post.

    You can view the article at http://www.chron.com.

    Lisa Alexander

  5. Nice post, Drew. I’ve given it a shout out on The Radical Ear. http://bit.ly/maxl1q

  6. Amelia says:

    Customers are the lifeline of all businesses and knowing what they think about you, your company, and / or your offered services should be one of an organization’s top concerns.

    The typical survey will not do. Your survey should be direct and effective enough. This is where closing the loop comes in handy.

    Closing the loop on customer surveys will save both the surveyor and the surveyee’s time. You’ll be more direct and you’ll get a more sincere response.

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