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Are customer service surveys effective?

A customer satisfaction survey is a questionnaire built to help businesses and customer service teams understand what their customers think about the experience they’ve had with the brand. This can encompass the product or service, the brand overall and/or the customer support team. Customer satisfaction surveys allow companies to work on problem areas and amplify the processes that work within a business.

Information gathered from a customer service survey can help in guiding business decisions. It also serves to demonstrate to your new and existing customers that you are interested in serving their needs. Customer service surveys are important tools for improving your business and ensuring your customers remain with you. This is supported by independent consumer research.

For example, according to research conducted by Gladly, 68% of consumers say they are willing to pay more for products and services from a brand known to offer good customer service experiences. The same research concluded that 92% of customers will leave a brand after 3 bad experiences. Further research, by NPS creators Bain & Company, shows that increasing customer retention rates by just 5% can increase profits by between 25% and 95%.

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But how can you uncover whether your business has good or bad customer service without using a customer satisfaction survey? One place to look is your Google Reviews. Google is still the top review site. Zero-click searches, which rose to 65% in 2020, mean more users than ever are reading Google reviews directly from search results. What’s more, 79% of customers put as much weight on online reviews as they would on personal recommendations.

This is good and bad news. If your Google Reviews are non-existent there's a huge opportunity for growth there. The bad news is that if you have a Google Review score that doesn’t reflect your business’s actual service then you might be losing customers before you have a chance to prove otherwise.

But what does all this have to do with customer satisfaction surveys? Well, surveys allow you to find out what people really think, without being the last person to hear about it. You can intercept negative experiences before they’re publicly shared and do your best to put them right. You can also use positive experiences to reinforce team attitudes and processes. Modern marketing automation can even enable you to follow up your customer service feedback requests with requests for public reviews.

The customer service survey

Customer service surveys are best deployed after an interaction with your customer service team. They focus on several key points:

  • Speed of resolution
  • Effort required
  • Suitability of suggestions
  • Expectation management

When someone reaches out to your customer service team they are likely suffering a frustrating and inconvenient issue. They may be agitated and flustered when engaging with the support staff. The ability of the customer service team to turn this situation around can be assessed, and measured, with an effective customer service survey.

When constructing a customer service survey you may want to consider categorising the questions based on the distinct elements you’re trying to drill down into. These may include:

  1. The service agent
  2. The process
  3. The solution

Service agent-based questions

These questions are trying to unlock how the service agent performed during the interaction. You may want to ask whether the agent was helpful, knowledgeable, constructive or maybe they were confusing, unclear and unsupportive. Measuring how well an individual can support your customers might uncover rising stars in customer service, and it may also help you find areas for improvement and training opportunities for team members. It’s good to use sliding scale style questions for service agent questions. Common questions include:

  • How would you rate your service agent’s communication during your interaction?
  • How would you score your service agent’s ability to understand your issue?
  • On a scale of 1 - 10, how would you rate your service agent’s attitude during your interactions?

The key is to understand that the rating is subjective. There’s very little opportunity for a quantitative measure of attitude, communication and comprehension. Different people communicate in different ways and people’s expectations may not match reality.

Process-based questions

These questions seek to uncover how the process of finding solutions went for the customer. For example, you might want to learn what avenues they explored before engaging with a customer service agent. You may wish to determine whether the channel they used for support worked well, or if there are other channels they’d prefer to use. It’s possible to use a mixture of answer types with these questions, including ranking answers (where respondents reorder the answers to suit their preference) and multi-select fields. You may wish to ask:

  • Which of the following service channels are you most likely to use? Please arrange in order of preference (website chat, email, phone, Slack…).
  • Which of the following had you tried to use before contacting our support team? (Multi select from Google search, FAQ, help icon…).
  • Do you prefer to use our support team to fix issues or use support articles and videos to do it yourself?

Solution-based questions

Ultimately the customer contacted you for a solution to an issue. The suitability of the outcome and the satisfaction the customer felt with it is of paramount importance. A branch of questions that explore the solution and its perceived suitability can help you see whether the customer service team are directing people to the right outcomes. You may want to analyse the success rate of outcomes, the ease of implementing the solution that was recommended and whether the customer is happy. Questions you might ask could include:

  • On a scale of 1-10, how satisfied are you with the solution that was suggested?
  • Has the solution solved the issue you were experiencing?
  • Is there anything that could have been improved during the process of arriving at this solution?

Customer service surveys enable you to take a holistic view of what’s happening, find patterns and hone in on trouble areas to improve customer satisfaction. By reducing friction, increasing efficiency and successful outcomes you can retain customers and grow your business.

If you’re interested in implementing a customer feedback strategy, but don’t know where to begin then download our free digital guide on how to implement a customer feedback strategy.

Free guide