Surveys are often dismissed as a subjective instrument. However, a carefully crafted survey can be a useful instrument for the discovery of insights, behavioral patterns, and public opinion. Finding out the right way to engage with customers is vital to maintaining customer loyalty. According to a report on customer engagement by Salesforce:
- 80% of customers say that their experience with a company will determine their commitment to a product
- 72% of customers say they share their good experiences with others
- 84% of customers say that being treated as a person, and not as a statistic is vital to gaining their loyalty
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools share a similar function with surveys. They help businesses to understand customers through the analysis of received information. This analysis reveals the driving forces behind customer decisions and attitudes. Unlike CRM tools which may be wrongly interpreted or implemented, surveys present rich feedback from customers, through various pathways used to elicit specific responses.
This article will share four ways that surveys can function as a CRM tool and why your business should take advantage of them.
1. They can function as an effective tool to aid marketing strategy
Good businesses aim to understand their consumers, and how best to reach them to turn potential leads into sales. Creating an effective marketing strategy requires a deep insight into consumer patterns, behavior and opinion. This is one of the benefits of adopting a CRM tool: to aid the development of marketing strategies.
Surveys give you the opportunity to ask direct questions or employ open-ended questions to evaluate your current marketing strategy and judge its efficacy. A focus group is ideal for this type of inquisition.
Focus groups present the most effective way of gaining candid responses. This subset of the market can provide an avenue to truly interact with customers and understand what they want from your business and product. Not only can you analyze and interpret their verbal cues, but non-verbal cues can deliver the honest perspective you’re looking for.
Focus groups are composed of a careful selection of participants across the market demographics. These individuals are guided by a skilled researcher to answer a variety of questions around the product or the brand. The freedom with which these individuals can speak often grants this research method the relevance it has in learning about people groups.
2. They can help to assess your performance and refine your business operations
Businesses often make mistakes, doing the wrong things or doing the right things at the wrong time. For this reason, businesses need to evaluate their performance from time to time. Take for instance, a startup company in the agricultural industry, automating their processes when their products are low in quality. Process automation is important, but product quality is better.
If this company continues to spend funds purchasing and implementing this technology they think they need, but fail to improve on their product, what will eventually happen is a withdrawal of customer support. No manner of advertising gimmick will make a bad product good. As frustrating as the outcomes of this situation may be, no one can tell the business what’s wrong with it but the customers.
This is where customer satisfaction surveys come in. An expertly crafted questionnaire can guide customers into giving accurate feedback on product quality and design. A client management tool may be able to show customer preferences on social media, but they won’t be able to give as much detail as surveys can. Surveys can help customers to:
- Rate product design
- Rate product satisfaction
- Make suggestions for improvement
Although a lot of people are averse to answering questionnaires, businesses can draft engaging, personalized questions to get the right answers. Suggestions gathered from survey interpretations can help to refine your business processes and ensure that you’re doing the right things to maintain customer success.
3. They can help to improve your communication strategy and customer support
There are textbook ways your business can interact with customers, and there is the productive (practical) way your business should interact with customers. Markets are different, and what works in one part of the world may not be suitable for your own market demographic.
Again, social media might be a veritable means of feeling the pulse of your customers, but finding out what type and channel of communication you need to interact with your customers might not come from the networking tool.
Customer cancellation surveys and post-event surveys are useful means of finding out the impact of your communication efforts. These surveys can reveal:
- If the frequency of your communication is inadequate or excessive
- If the content of your communication is invaluable, inappropriate or repetitive
- If your communication is clear enough, timely and presents a specific call-to-action
- Costly misconceptions about your brand, product and services
- The risk percentage of product decisions
- If your tech tools are fitting for your business communication
Discovering this information will help to ensure that your communication content and strategy:
- Are clear enough to improve brand awareness and reputation
- Are persuasive enough to generate sales and leads
- Are productive for increased customer engagement
- Are detailed to avoid mistakes in lead generation
It will also help to ensure that your contact center is adequately trained to meet the needs of customers, communicate with them more effectively, and provide alternative ways to resolve customer complaints.
4. They can help to ensure customer success
At the root of any customer-oriented tool or strategy is customer success. Customer success guarantees the satisfaction of the customer at every level of interaction with your brand and product. This process spans the time before the product is purchased, when the product is purchased, and after.
Because customer success is a process, your business might be ignoring a part of the process that ultimately leads to customer dissatisfaction. Quick online surveys can help your company to pinpoint trouble spots in your business process and improve customer satisfaction. For instance, your mobile app, website, or email marketing can include automated, scheduled surveys to check that customers have not become dissatisfied at any point in time. Surveys can also be used as a persuasive tool to generate leads. Take this example from Grammarly that induces customers to click an emoticon that causes them to engage with the product.
Is your cost per lead in proportion to sales inflow? If it isn’t, perhaps you need to answer the following questions:
- Are customers satisfied with your eCommerce tool?
- Are your marketing tools helpful for selection among a wide range of products?
- Are your payment methods stress-free?
- Is your technical support responsive?
- Does the product work as advertised?
- Is your contact center service able to resolve complaints speedily and with the right amount of empathy?
- Will your customers easily refer your business to someone else?
With online surveys, your business can gain these insights and keep track of your customer success.
Surveys are generally cheaper than CRM tools and are especially beneficial to start-up businesses trying to minimize expenditure. If you’re looking to build and maintain your customer base, gain marketing insights, and improve your business performance, you should consider using surveys.