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Encompass® Agency Insights

Customer Survey Tips

As a small business owner, you're likely looking for ways to improve your services. And while staying on top of industry developments and consumer trends forms a large part of that endeavor, another aspect of maintaining top-notch service is knowing what your customers want… and how well you're supplying them with it. That's where customer surveys could come in handy.

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When approached politely and in a timely manner, customers may welcome the opportunity to share their experiences, good or bad. And by taking their feedback to heart, you can continuously adjust your services to meet the needs of your clientele. Keep these tips in mind to help you get started.

  • Choose a convenient survey method. Approach customers in a flexible manner so they don't become irritated and opt out of the survey altogether. Though getting real-time, in-person feedback is optimal, consider providing an alternative. For example, you can use online or email surveys that people can fill out on their own time. For small businesses, these can be cost-effective solutions.
  • Set a clear goal and keep it short. Be mindful of your customers' time and improve your chances of receiving timely responses by keeping your survey short, sweet and to the point.
  • Include open-ended questions. Though ratings are important, you'll want to understand the why behind the ratings. Open-ended questions can help you receive specific feedback.
  • Avoid positive bias. If you include ratings, make sure to avoid positive bias, according to the Huffington Post. This can occur when, for example, you provide five possible answers, three of which reflect a positive range. To promote objectivity, ensure there's an equal division of possible answers ranging from very negative to very positive.
  • Follow up. Whether it's a phone call, a hand-written card or a personal email, take the time to follow up with survey participants. Thank participants, and for those who contributed very valuable insights—even if it was by means of negative feedback—it's a good idea to approach them personally and engage them in conversations about your service.
  • Review the feedback with your staff. Once you've received feedback, use it. Review it with your staff and make a list of the most important likes, dislikes and needs. Then come up with a strategy to improve your services and implement that strategy.

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