Developing Surveys to Boost Customer Retention Through Actionable Data

Develop surveys that will help you gather insights quickly so you can turn that data into focused action plans that accelerate your retention rates. 

Articles

Sara Staffaroni

February 1, 2020

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Customer retention is a leading critical performance indicator for companies in 2020, and for good reason. In fact, a survey by Brightback found that 97% of companies are prioritizing retention, proof of just how seriously businesses are taking this issue. Loyal customers drive increased revenue through referrals and repurchases, while the cost to acquire them has already been earned back. 

Developing surveys to capture customer feedback is the clearest way to surface actionable data points and target increased customer retention. However, many companies miss the mark in their approach to surveys and gathering actionable feedback.  Only one in four companies are growing their business at a rate above 30%, suggesting that many companies aren’t getting the data they need in order to retain customers.

The fact is, just gathering raw feedback is really quite simple; issuing quick surveys is certain to bring in helpful comments from customers. But finding insights that translate into actionable data points requires a more nuanced approach. By developing surveys with a clear focus on a valuable target demographic, digging in around negative feedback, and engaging customers over a variety of channels, you can create your own actionable data machine.

Leverage CSAT for retention with focused survey questions

A robust Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) questionnaire is a great cornerstone in any program. CSAT can highlight loyal, high-retention customers as well as those who are unhappy and about to churn. However, to highlight why those customers are upset, it’s time to go beyond the basic “please rate your satisfaction” approach. Think of that as the starting point – from there, build in questions that open up customer feedback to highlight the important context and access actionable data.

As you begin a CSAT collection cycle, take time to be sure you’re developing surveys that go beyond basic questions (and don’t ask too many either). Asking customers whether or not they were satisfied with their overall experience isn’t enough—you need to focus on a narrower point of interaction. Worse yet, a poorly designed survey may frustrate customers and cause them to skip the survey entirely, leady to potentially costly gaps in your actionable data. However, surveys that ask just two or three additional questions about their experience will increase the actionable data you receive.

For example, you might start by asking if customers were happy with the information provided to help them decide on your product. Next, ask for feedback on the purchase process before asking how comfortable they felt taking their first steps with your product. These might seem like basic questions, but the answers are important. 

Keep in mind that 33% of American customers admit they will switch products after a single poor service experience, so a customer who felt good about their purchase may sour quickly after having difficulty getting help later. That’s actionable data that will quickly highlight process improvements for your service team to work on. It’s also a signal to engage with the customer to prevent them from churning.

Customers will often use open text fields to provide important context to explain their feedback ratings, highlighting specific product pain points or the details of unhelpful service interactions. Therefore, any strategy for developing CSAT surveys should also include a text analysis component. Through text analysis, you’ll be able to tag, code, and quantify open text insights to inform action plans in Voice of the Customer (VoC) initiatives. In some cases, this process can even be automated, saving you valuable time in identifying actionable feedback points.

Engage with NPS Detractors to boost retention

While developing surveys around Net Promoter Score (NPS) results, it’s definitely important to engage with your Promoters (loyal customers with high retention rates). They can tell you what is going well and why they are so happy. But more importantly, a well-developed NPS program will guide you to an even more important segment—your Detractors. These are the customers who reviewed your product thoroughly, made an informed decision to purchase, and have been disappointed by their experience. 

Detractors are not just likely to churn, they’re also probably going to share their negative experience with other current or prospective customers. That’s why it’s critical to make sure you’re creating surveys that highlight the reasons for a Detractor’s frustration. While text analysis of your initial NPS survey can provide some context around their feedback, this is where you’ll want to dig deeper.

Reaching back out to Detractors will help you identify highly actionable insights with a wide-spread impact on your retention rates. In your follow-up, ask questions such as:

  • What was the customer’s desired outcome when using your product?

  • What is the top reason the customer was not able to reach their desired outcome?

  • What changes to your product would have helped them achieve their desired outcome?

Identifying the gap between what Detractors needed to achieve and what they actually achieved is like opening a buried treasure chest of actionable data insights. With this feedback, product and support teams can work with loyal customers to ensure they’re not facing the same issues, while marketing and outreach teams can help guide new customers through processes that may not be meeting their expectations. 

In a few cases, Detractors will appreciate that their feedback has been taken seriously and will reevaluate their decision to try another platform. But don’t rest on your laurels—frequent follow-up cycles will help you confirm that retention rates continue to rise as you implement product changes.

Maximize response rates With omnichannel surveys

The majority of customers are generally eager to give feedback, provided the questions are relevant and give them the opportunity to share important context. In fact, 70% of customers report they are happy to give feedback, as long as a company simply asks for it. 

When you’re building surveys, make sure you’re thinking about the customer’s experience with the survey. Emphasize their convenience over your preferences – use an omnichannel approach to meet customers in their preferred conversation channels, and don’t overwhelm them with questions. Response rates will be highest when a customer is able to provide clear, actionable feedback without having to significantly disrupt their workflow.  Some social media platforms allow integrations for auto-response surveys, which can be convenient for on-the-go customers who hop on-and-off social media dozens of times throughout the day.

Companies also have a great opportunity to maximize their reach through mobile-optimized surveys. Mobile phone use has risen sharply across all age demographics, meaning more work is being done almost exclusively on smartphones and other mobile devices. This means a strategy for developing surveys for mobile-focused customers is an absolute must. 

As a B2B International report suggests, businesses that don’t include a mobile survey strategy risk compromising their data because they risk losing the attention of customers who are critical stakeholders and decision-makers. Don’t overlook this critical audience – use a survey development tool that makes mobile optimization simple. 

Conclusion

To retain loyal customers, you need to get actionable feedback. With the right survey program, you’ll identify quick actions your company can take to correct issues while delivering improved customer experience. And building a robust omnichannel and multi-layered feedback collection program doesn’t have to be complicated. Gather insights quickly with powerful and intuitive tools for developing surveys, then turn that data into focused action plans to accelerate your customer retention rates. 

Learn how GetFeedback can help you exceed customers’ expectations—start your free trial today.

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