Satisfied clients are the lifeblood of any thriving business. To keep yours happy with the service you’re providing, it’s important to know how they feel about your organization and the reasons underlying those feelings. Client satisfaction surveys that give you that information will allow you to improve your processes and enhance your customer service.
Here are some tips for collecting the candid feedback you need from your clients:
1. Define your goals for client satisfaction surveys in advance
To create successful client satisfaction surveys, don’t just jump in with questions off the top of your head. Start by knowing what you hope to learn. That means defining your objectives and crafting questions that will lead you to key information. Clients are likely to focus not just on the results, but also on such customer service issues as how well your office communicated with
2. Use an appropriate format and phrasing
Keep your client satisfaction surveys succinct and to the point. The purpose of each question must be clear, so it’s easy for respondents to give an appropriate response. Use the same full range of answer formats (open-ended, behavioural, etc.) you use in job interviews. Yes-or-no options and sliding scales are easy to tabulate and analyze, while a comment box allows your clients to explore their thoughts more fully. Avoid asking loaded questions. The exercise is about your customers’ opinions—yours shouldn’t come across in the survey.
Also remember that the goal is to gain an ability to work with the survey results. If you don’t see how the responses to some questions can really lead to actionable steps, try rephrasing or even eliminating those questions. You may be surprised to learn that relatively minor tweaks to your procedures could significantly improve your clients’ perceptions.
3. Persuade clients to participate
Clients will be donating their valuable time by completing your survey. To persuade them to participate, don’t ask more questions than necessary, and make the survey easy to complete. Online surveys are most efficient, with invitations sent by email. Of course, offering rewards can increase the number of replies. But if it’s too costly to provide a reward for each respondent, enter them all into a drawing for an attractive prize.
4. Ask the right people to respond to your client satisfaction surveys
You won’t learn anything by surveying only your happiest customers. Aim for as wide a sample of your current client base as possible with your client satisfaction surveys. For example, reach out to former clients to learn why they left. And motivate your team to approach clients even when there may be negative responses. Keep in mind, too, that allowing customers to respond anonymously will improve their level of honesty. Some customers with a critical opinion may be less likely to share it if they can be identified.
5. Report your findings
To keep response rates high for future surveys, show respondents when you’ve taken action as a result of the findings. If your company maintains a blog or sends out an email newsletter, consider sharing a summary of results, or write an opinion piece on what you have learned and how you plan to change. If you don’t use survey results to make changes for the better, you’ll have wasted your clients’ time.
If you make client satisfaction surveys straightforward and worthwhile, you’ll gain insights you can use to create even more positive feedback in the future.