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The importance of considering the customer in the feedback loop

13th Jul 2017

How much is customer experience a factor in the feedback process?

Like many households in America, I make a weekly run to the grocery store. Until recently, my grocery store, like many other retailers, provided a web address at the bottom of the receipt and asked customers to go home, log on to the store’s website, enter in their receipt code, and provide feedback. All for the slim chance of winning a sweepstake.   

I have had a bad enough experience at this grocery store that I filled out the survey.  I wanted to tell them about one specific thing that ruined the entire trip for me. 

The survey, like many other CX surveys, was long and clunky, asking for a variety of ratings on things that I, as the customer, really didn’t care about.  I wanted to give my feedback.  I finally got the chance to tell them about it in the one open-ended question at the very end of the survey.

Nothing happened. No one contacted me about my bad experience. My feedback didn’t change anything at the store. Nothing. Crickets.

Shortly after this, the grocery store started a new survey process. As part of the check-out process, the credit card kiosk asks me “Were you highly satisfied with your experience today?”  A simple yes or no response option is offered. 

I have clicked both “yes” and “no” (depending on my experience that day) and still – no follow up.  Now it is even worse though, because I have no opportunity to talk about what went wrong.  And I am always asked the question every time I go to the store.

Respondent experience matters

In the Q3-Q4 2016 GRIT report, companies were asked to rank the various factors important in the design of a research study.  Only 4% ranked the participant experience as important.

However, we know that without a good participant experience, customers are not going to respond to surveys.  They will drop out, not provide good feedback, or not engage with the survey at all.  It is crucial to design the customer experience survey with the customer in mind.

Here are a few things to consider about the customer’s experience with the CX survey:

Make it easy for the customer to respond

Being able to provide feedback should be easy.  Whether by asking customers to respond while in the store, providing a QR code to immediately access the survey, or including the survey in the loyalty app,  we want to reduce the burden on the customer to have to figure out how to provide feedback.

Let the customer tell their story

We live in an age where people want to tell their stories.  Folks post on social media constantly, talking about their experiences.  Providing customers an opportunity to tell their story is key as it provides companies with rich information needed to not just diagnose customer issues, but also gain insight into specifically what is needed to improve.

Show customers their feedback matters

Customers are bombarded with survey requests from every organization they interact with these days.  I’m even getting questionnaires from my doctor’s office after every visit – even if it is a 2-minute interaction to tell me that, yes, your child does in fact have pink eye.  Customers are more likely to respond to surveys if they think their feedback has a good chance of impacting their experience going forward.

Companies can demonstrate this through a variety of ways.  Individual customer recovery is extremely effective at showing concern with a customer’s experience, but may not always be feasible.  Posting results or even posting a list of the improvement efforts underway as a result of customer feedback would encourage customers to start to provide feedback.

Don’t take customers’ time for granted

A customer’s time is precious.  While it is tempting to ask a customer to rate their experience in each department of the store, it is not a good use of their time.  With too long of a survey, you’ll end up with customers who become frustrated, disengaged, or drop out of the survey.  A quality open-ended question paired with one or two overall ratings questions should provide the feedback needed to take action.

Additionally, it is essential that companies think about the customer and not ask for feedback too often.  For example, I’m not sure it is necessary for me to provide an open-ended response every time I go to the grocery store, as most times it is pretty routine.  The customer is already overburdened; asking for feedback too often will be more frustrating than helpful for the customer.

It’s all about the experience

In the end, considering how the customer experiences your survey will be key to getting the quality feedback you need to improve your customers’ experiences. Having a long and detailed survey isn’t being considerate of the customer’s time. Make it easy for them to tell their story and show the them their feedback matters by taking action. Doing so will foster a positive relationship with your customer and ensure their continued loyalty.

This article was originally published by MaritzCX

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