Customer Experience News & Trends

5 steps to win love for (and responses to) your surveys

Customers don’t give feedback at the pace you’d like because surveys aren’t as easy as you think they are. It’s time to change that.

You probably design customer surveys with ease in mind. But customers often trash surveys because they look like too much work, there’s little to no explanation behind them and/or you ask for too much information, one survey found.

So survey response rate is low, and your ability to make customer-centric decisions is limited.

But you can turn your feedback program around (or get it off on the right foot) if you focus on the survey experience as much as you focus on the customer experience you’re trying to measure.

That was the key to success for Kristin Brickey, research manager at Anheuser-Busch, who spoke at the 2017 CXFusion Conference in Las Vegas.

Here’s how Anheuser-Busch improved its feedback loop to get more and better customer responses — and ultimately equip itself to make more customer-centric decisions.

1. Survey on the survey

The beer maker had surveyed its business customers a couple of times a year for many years, using a dated paper survey.

Instead of just revamping that survey, Anheuser-Busch asked customers (yes, via a survey) how they’d like to give feedback going forward and the topics they’d like to give feedback on. There was no sense in changing survey channels or frequency to something customers wouldn’t respond to any more, or ask questions on topics that weren’t all that important to customers.

While it was still a limited amount of feedback, it was enough to give the survey team a road map on where to go next.

2. Get buy-in

To create a customer-friendly survey, and gain some early buy-in on the updated surveys, Anheuser-Busch invited some business customers to be part of an advisory panel.

It asked them more in-depth questions on the parts of the customer experience they cared about most so it knew which areas to continually gauge with surveys.

3. Design it for fast action

If Anheuser-Busch wanted customers to respond robustly, quickly and frequently, it seemed only fair that the company respond to their feedback in the same manner.

So when the team sat down to design the survey, they included a service recovery plan. That meant adding “hot alerts” for surveys that came in with negative feedback. Someone would be notified immediately that a customer complained. Then that person could find out what happened and get to fixing it.

4. Empower more people

Anheuser-Busch also increased the reach of surveys. More people — such as distributors who would be interested in end-user surveys — were given easy access to the feedback so they could use it.

Then the bigger audience was offered training on how to respond to red alerts and use feedback to do things such as identify trends. The survey team also sent a regular “tips and tricks email” with a refresher idea on gathering and using feedback to improve the customer experience.

With more people interested in the feedback, and equipped to act on it, customers would see that their feedback was being monitored and used — which encourages them to continue completing surveys.

5. Set a bigger goal

While it was important to respond quickly to negative feedback, it was vital to use the increased feedback to make improvements and changes to the overall customer experience.

So Anheuser-Busch set goals on what to do with the data and candid feedback. Then they offered training to people who could use the information most to improve experiences.

That way, the information that came in was almost always relevant. If they had a goal in mind — for instance, eliminate friction points — they knew what to look for from surveys and what to do with the data they received.

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