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Generating actionable insights from customer satisfaction surveys

Customers now have incredible power. They are the ones truly in the driver’s seat when it comes to making brand decisions and deciding where companies ultimately go.

Generating actionable insights from customer satisfaction surveys
[Blue Planet Studio/Adobe]

Customers now have incredible power. They are the ones truly in the driver’s seat when it comes to making brand decisions and deciding where companies ultimately go. The reality within this shift, however, is that you have to make an intentional effort to hear what your customers prefer and need. Customer satisfaction surveys can be a highly effective tool for this purpose and can generate actionable insights if you approach them the proper way.

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1. FIGURE OUT WHAT THE CUSTOMER JOURNEY REALLY LOOKS LIKE

All types of surveys can be helpful or relevant. Even so, if you survey customers at just one point in their journey, then you’re not getting a full picture of their experience. They might feel or think very differently or want very different things at other moments in the journey. So to really generate ideas about what to do, be sure to survey customers and analyze your results at every point. This will give you a higher-level, big-picture view of what their journey is like. This way, you see how everything connects and have context for what they tell you.

2. IDENTIFY THE KEY MOMENTS IN THE JOURNEY THAT NEED ATTENTION

Once you’ve mapped the customer journey more broadly, drill down into specific touchpoints. Start looking at the frequency of the interaction and the influence it has on everything else. For example, if you see that scores are low in a given experience but it only influences 5% of customers, it might not be a huge problem or require more work. If you have low scores in an experience that 80% of your customers go through, however, that could be devastating. That’s the touchpoint where deploying an additional questionnaire is likely to be beneficial. So try to resolve whatever you can, but fine-tune where you issue questionnaires based on your data, and assign priority to the points that are really going to influence the business.

3. GET YOUR FEEDBACK

This is the point where you collect more information on your key moments. You can use a variety of surveys for this depending on the circumstances, but stay out of the weeds and only ask questions that are relevant to the answers you’re trying to get. Make the surveys as easy to complete and submit as possible so your response rate is higher as well.

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4. CONDUCT A SENTIMENT ANALYSIS

With your surveys in hand, conduct sentiment analysis to determine whether the feedback is positive or negative. Once you have a general idea of tone, dig deeper to figure out why you got the feedback or scores you did. Throughout this process, technology can help you clue into what the customers are trying to tell you. One area where many companies are advancing, for instance, is natural language processing. Software programs can compensate for issues like grammar mistakes. But they are now also providing the capability to group different keywords into specific categories so it’s easy to recognize when people are identifying the same problem, even if the way they express the problem is a little different from customer to customer. Engineers are developing ways to tag the concerns, as well. No matter which tools you use for sentiment analysis, it’s understanding the “why” that will allow you to decide what to do next.

Another consideration in this step is that your company probably has a lot of existing data you can analyze, such as customer service phone calls. If you can categorize and access your data well, then you can ask people on your team to look at the conversations or events that happened around the same time your feedback became negative. Listening to and reviewing those conversations can give you a better sense of exactly what the experience was like for your customer. You also can tap your customer database to reach out to specific groups to ask more questions. The larger point is that once you know the pain points, you can develop very specific processes to make sure you’ve identified the problem correctly in a more objective way.

YOUR CUSTOMERS ARE ALWAYS TALKING, SO GO AHEAD AND LISTEN

Serving buyers well means seeing the big picture and responding appropriately to whatever their pain points might be. Customer satisfaction surveys are an easy way for you to do this. With proper analysis, they allow you to translate feedback into real operational strategy. Apply them to the entire customer journey to ensure that your business always has the direction and relevance it needs.

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Sumit Aneja is CEO of Voxco, an omnichannel software survey platform and a global market leader in the multi-modal survey software sector.

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