5 Steps to Better Customer Listening - Internet Creations Blog

Are your customers happy? Businesses, and especially customer support organizations, continue to field challenges that have emerged due to COVID-19. A global crisis of this nature will continue to impact the way we work and the way we live for years to come. There’s one big question to continually ask if one of your goals is to continue to meet and exceed customer expectations. 

What do your customers want or need now?

At IC, we survey our customers regularly on their experience. We currently have a 9.66/10 cSAT score, and continuous feedback gives us the insight needed to meet our customers where they are. Now, more than ever, this is critical.

“A big crisis often alters the behavior of customers, employees, and partners. Perhaps you have reason to believe the customer preferences will stay the same, but often they do not.”

“Why Now is the Time for Open Innovation” Harvard Business Review

How to Get Meaningful Insights You Can Take Action on

Regular feedback will give your team data around what customers may want or need now, and any challenges they may be experiencing. Here are a few ways to ensure the feedback you gather is effective and actionable:

1. Be Intentional About Question Design

Less is more, so when in doubt keep it simple. Make your questions as simple and easy to answer as possible: 

  • Keep them short – should take less than 1 minute to answer
  • Create 1-click responses to get the Net Promoter Score (NPS); Customer satisfaction or Thumbs up/down
  • Limit the survey to under 5 questions
  • Keep questions multiple choice with only one open text box

Specificity sticks! The clearer your questions are, the more useful the answers will be. Really review if you’ve asked the exact question, or if there is any room for interpretation from the participant. 

Avoid asking leading questions, because you can inadvertently influence responses.

Example 
DON’T: “Your experience with our organization was satisfactory, wasn’t it?”
DO: “How would you rate your experience with us?”

2. Understand and Provide the WHY

What are you planning to do with the data you are collecting? “Start with the end in mind”, and be clear on your goal and intentions.  

Lead with Empathy

84% of customers say being treated like a person, not a number, is very important to winning their business, according to Salesforce Research.

Explain to your participants why this feedback is important to your business. The more people believe you care, the more likely they are to take time to provide feedback.

3. Keep Surveys Timely

Avoid survey fatigue. Just as you are going to be intentional about WHAT you ask, also be intentional about WHEN you ask. Do not randomly blast customers to take a survey! For the best response rates, send the survey right after a customer interaction like…

  • When a customer support case is closed or every 5th case is closed
  • Following an event or webinar
  • After you have closed a sale or lost a sale to find out why

The Simple Survey for Salesforce app has a mechanism to avoid over surveying people. From within the setup wizard, you can enable Simple Survey to track when you last sent a survey to a Case Contact, so you can consider it in your Workflow criteria. The sample Workflow rule provided has a default of 7 days, which can be changed within the rule criteria.

4. Consider Qualitative vs Quantitative Surveying

Quantitative research is about collecting information that can be expressed numerically. Qualitative survey questions aim to gather data that is not easily quantified such as attitudes, habits, and challenges.

An example of a quantitative survey question is a typical five-level Likert scale, which could be:

“My experience today was enjoyable.”

  1. Strongly disagree
  2. Disagree
  3. Neither agree nor disagree
  4. Agree
  5. Strongly agree

A qualitative question could be open-ended, for example:
“What could we improve on to make your experience more enjoyable”

5. Following Up Is Everything

Don’t let feedback go forgotten. Whether you are surveying customers or employees, be sure to follow up with participants to encourage future meaningful feedback. If you currently do not have a formal business process to ensure follow up, it’s likely time to create one. Following up with customers and sharing valuable information about customers will help everyone in the organization make better decisions that will best serve your customers. By capturing survey results in Salesforce we ensure that everyone has a 360 degree view and the ability to take action on things including:

  • Quickly find out about unhappy customers and mitigate the damage
  • Increase adoption and retain more customers by learning what improvements customers would like to see
  • Increase sales and shape your product roadmap by finding out what features are most important to prospective customers during the sales cycle
  • Gauge employee satisfaction and address problems, because happy employees deliver better customer experiences

Looking for more insights on how to leverage feedback to stay in front of customer expectations? Join our panel of Customer Service leaders on October 14th at 1pm ET as we discuss “Using Feedback to Inform What’s Next”. Register today! 

Peter Chmiel
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Peter Chmiel
Peter Chmiel
Peter is IC's Senior Product Manager, overseeing the development of several of the company's AppExchange apps. He has over 25 years of expertise building products that people love by applying technology to deliver innovative solutions to tough problems.