If you want to deliver stellar customer experiences, you need to give customers a voice.
Why is that?
Because your customers want to see themselves on your website: Their pains, the solutions that will alleviate those pains, and their aspirations. And modern customers won’t settle for anything less than a perfect experience. With the amount of competition in today’s markets, if you don’t deliver delightful customer experiences—that are resonant and easy to use—it’s safe to bet someone else will.
But that’s not the only reason to seek out customer feedback. Customer feedback also helps you get out in front of bad PR that comes when unhappy customers turn to social media to vent about what your company is doing wrong. And vent they do: Zendesk data indicates that as much as 95% of customers will share their bad experiences with others, both online and off.
You should also keep in mind that customers not only desire A+ customer experience, but they’ll pay for it, too: RightNow research shows that 86% of shoppers say they are willing to pay up to 25% more for a better customer experience.
So how do you approach customer feedback in a way that’s both strategic and effective?
One simple method is to look to customer surveys and polls. These feedback sources are a direct line to your customers that make them feel heard and valued—and that provide you with rich customer data at the same time.
There are a variety of approaches and options around this type of data collection, which we’ll explore in detail in this post.
Decision-making: What’s happening behind the scenes?
Before we jump into the nuts and bolts of how to effectively gather customer feedback, let’s first take a moment to understand what’s happening behind the scenes when customers make buying decisions, as well as what influences those decisions. This will provide some context on why gathering customer feedback is so crucial.
The “BJ Fogg Behavioral Model”
The Fogg Behavior Model explains that three elements must come together at the same time for a behavior to occur: motivation, ability and trigger. When a behavior does not occur, at least one of those three elements is missing.
Bottom line: Behavior = motivation x ability x trigger.
There are two sides to this:
- The ability side, which makes it very easy for the customer to take an action by reducing cognitive load, AKA mental strain.
- The motivation side, which is having the right copy, imagery, persuasiveness, and effectively communicating the benefits of your solution.
To create the necessary synergy, companies strive to strike a balance between making it easy for customers to buy and appealing to a buyer’s inner desires at the same time.
Casper does this well. Take a look at this landing page that nicely executes both sides of the equation:
Not only is the page clean and easy to navigate, but appeals are also made to the motivation of a customer shopping for mattresses (i.e. features, elements social proof, etc.)
Before you can execute an effective sales-driving resource like this for your own company, you need to know what motivators to touch on when constructing it.
So how can you tap into the science and make sure you’re connecting with customers so that it’s both easy and compelling for them to make a purchase?
That’s where polls and customer surveys come in.
Why use customer surveys and polls?
Surveys offer an opportunity to ask questions while a visitor is in a shopping mindset and help uncover pain points within the customer journey. They allow visitors to put their “ability” barriers into words that you can then translate into experiment hypotheses and/or improved experiences.
But that’s not all customer surveys do. These helpful forms of customer outreach also take customer research a step further and help teams get answers to specific questions that can inform processes and decisions moving forward.
Here’s what conversion expert Els Aerts, Managing Partner at at AGConsult, had to say about using customer surveys:
“Everybody realizes by now that customer-centricity is crucial when it comes to growth. For me, that means listening to customers. That listening can take many forms. Surveys are one of the easiest and cheapest ways to reach out to your customers. With so many free and inexpensive tools out there, you don’t have an excuse not to use them.
Surveys help you learn about your users’ drivers and triggers and give you great insights into where you’re already doing okay and where you need to improve. In our conversion optimization projects, qualitative customer surveys have been an invaluable tool. Not only for discovering the ‘why’ behind issues we discovered through other research methods, but also as a source of inspiration for copy and A/B testing.”
Surveys and polls are also effective as a proactive CX measure. In fact, data shows that most unhappy customers won’t take the time to reach out and share feedback on their own.
With this in mind, you can see why it makes sense to be proactive and to instead reach out to them via polls and surveys that anticipate customer concerns (before they start using said voice to shout angrily on social media.)
Types of customer surveys you can deploy
The next question, then, is: What types of customer surveys should you use to gather customer feedback? You have many options to choose from, but let’s look at a few popular types of surveys and the information they provide.
Voice of Customer Surveys
Voice of Customer surveys include insights collected directly from your customers and website visitors about your product or service.
These often come in the form of reviews or testimonials, focus groups, insights from in-house customer facing teams, or one-on-one customer interviews. In reviewing the data you collect through these surveys, you can spot patterns and trends that indicate which areas of your customer experience may need improvement.
If you had some magic power and were able to discover exactly what customers are craving, and if you also knew how to produce their dream product at a low price, then you would be guaranteed to get rich! Therefore, capturing the exact Voice of the Customer is like striking gold.
— Kai Yang, Author of “Voice of the Customer: Capture and Analysis”
The great thing about these surveys is that they help you harness the actual voice of the customer, which you can then put to good use in a variety of ways.
How to leverage your findings from voice of customer surveys:
- Pinpoint value propositions you may not be aware of
- Identify how customers talk about your product/service and mirror that back in website copy
- Make marketing materials more persuasive by matching your customers’ language and tone
Expert copywriter and Copy Hackers founder Joanna Wiebe said of these surveys:
“As a conversion copywriter, I’ve found that voice of customer data is the foundation of a high-converting message. The reason is complex but kinda simple too: people want to see themselves on the page. When visitors see themselves on the page, that’s good for reducing bounce, increasing engagement and ultimately converting more people. When they don’t see themselves-as in, when you dream up copy in your head or ‘collaborate’ on it around a boardroom table-they then have to do the hard work of figuring out if they’re in the right place, if you get them, if you have what they need, if their life will get easier in continuing to consider and/or buy from your brand, etc.
And when the visitor has to do that work, well, only the most motivated, driven visitor will move forward. Everyone else bails or gets frustrated and then bails. tldr: give your customers a voice and use what they tell you to help others say yes to you.”
Net Promoter Score
Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys measure customer experience and helps predict business growth. Essentially, they help you keep a finger on the pulse of your company’s customer satisfaction at a high level.
Bill Macaitis, CMO of Slack, told SaaS Office Hours he thinks NPS is one of the most valuable marketing metrics that is often overlooked:
One metric that most marketers don’t measure frequently, but should, is Net Promoter Score. NPS is a leading indicator of future growth. The larger the number of advocates for product, the lower the customer acquisition costs for the company, and the more effective customer success team will be.
— Bill Macaitis, CMO of Slack
How does an NPS survey work?
This type of survey uses a simple 0-10 rating scale to answer the question: How likely is it that you would recommend [brand] to a friend or colleague?
Responses are broken into three main categories:
- Promoters (9-10) are loyal brand evangelists who buy repeatedly and refer new customers.
- Passives (7-8) are satisfied but aren’t actively referring new customers. Not as loyal as Promoters, Passive are often susceptible to offers from brand competitors.
- Detractors (0-6) are unsatisfied customers who may spread the word about poor experiences with your brand, thus hurting your company’s reputation.
To calculate your Net Promoter Score, subtract your percentage of Detractors from your percentage of Promoters.
Net Promoter Scores can range from -100 to 100, but 2018 Temkin data shows the average NPS score is around 39.
How to leverage your findings from the Net Promoter Score survey:
- Monitor customer satisfaction and potential future growth
- Use it to spot unhappy customers (detractors) and follow up with them immediately
- Use it as a benchmark for progress around your CX efforts
Customer satisfaction surveys
Customer satisfaction (CSAT) surveys are used to understand your customer’s satisfaction levels related to your organization’s products, services, or experiences.
Rather than skimming the surface, these take a deep dive into customer satisfaction around different aspects of CX (like product, marketing, social, content, etc.) and can be used to help predict customer retention, loyalty, and product repurchase.
How to leverage your findings from customer satisfaction surveys:
- Build responses into marketing decisions, UX improvements, and prioritization of CX efforts
- Reduce churn by addressing common sources of turnover, frustration, or friction for customers
Frontline Solvers, a leading vendor of advanced analytics software, saw customer satisfaction surveys lead the way to impressive results. After partnering with WiderFunnel Strategist Michael St Laurent to launch online polls and customer surveys in conjunction with other research methods, they were able to boost registrations for the company’s software by 15%.
From the case study:
“Early in the engagement, Mike got permission from Frontline to run customer polls on the company’s product pages. He had a few initial ideas about problems that customers were experiencing. But he wanted to back this up with direct feedback from the customers themselves.
He set up several polls to try to answer the following questions:
- Are customers getting the information they need to choose a product?
- Do customers really understand which product is right for them
- How could Frontline improve their product pages?
- What are the differentiators that cause customers to choose Frontline over a competitor?
- How do customers feel about payment terms and commitment?
Put customer feedback to work
The bottom line here is: If you’re working to become a customer-obsessed brand, part of that process has to be listening to your customers.
Surveys are a key part of any solid optimization strategy. They help to automate feedback collection, making this an ongoing process that constantly informs decisions via real, concrete data.
In future editions of this series, we’ll continue to explore how different brands are executing customer-centric experiences via customer support insights, analytics, and experimentation.
If you’re curious about how to step up your company’s customer experience strategy and get on the level of brands making waves (and money), stay tuned and sign up to get future editions in your inbox.
In this 22-page guide, jam-packed with scientific theory and real-world examples, learn how to create an emotionally resonant customer experience.