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surveys can help
you improve
customer retention

Author: Amrita Singh

To improve customer retention, businesses must offer not only an excellent product but also an exceptional customer experience. According to PwC, “One in three consumers (32%) say they will walk away from a brand they love after just one bad experience.”

The right technology can help your business deliver a higher standard of service, but the human touch still matters. Conducting a customer satisfaction survey can help to improve customer retention. 

What is a customer satisfaction survey?

A customer satisfaction survey measures how satisfied people are with your company’s products and services. High levels of satisfaction are often a strong predictor of customer retention. When businesses conduct customer satisfaction surveys, those customers feel valued and heard, and they will often give useful feedback. 

Customer feedback influences customer retention

Once customers provide feedback, listening to that feedback is critical for customer retention. Take your local car dealership as an example. Perhaps they sold you a terrific car. In fact, you still enjoy driving it today. But your relationship with the dealer veered off course after you took the car back for servicing. The service itself, while not meeting your expectations, wasn’t necessarily terrible. So what turned you from a dissatisfied customer to a disappointed one?

Each time you received service, the dealership sent you a customer satisfaction survey asking for feedback. You responded to each one. You even took the time to include comments explaining the reasons why you didn’t rate the dealer at the top of the scale. You also asked them to call you so you could provide constructive feedback, human-to-human.

The call never came. Nor did an email response. Nor any kind of acknowledgment that you had made the effort to answer their survey questions to help them improve.

In the end, the customer satisfaction survey was about collecting a number, not understanding your feedback and taking appropriate actions to improve the experience. As a result, you came away with the perception that the dealership didn’t care enough to respond to your feedback.

One of the fundamental elements of an effective Voice of the Customer (VoC) program is the need to “close the loop.” When a customer makes the effort to respond to your customer satisfaction survey, you owe it to them, at a minimum, to acknowledge they took the time to share their opinion and to thank them for it. Anything short of that leads them to doubt whether you’re truly listening to them, and they are likely to think twice before filling out another customer satisfaction survey in the future.

Close the loop with your customer satisfaction survey

It may not be practical or even necessary to acknowledge every customer satisfaction survey returned by customers. Someone who rated you a 10 with no written comments, for example, probably doesn’t want another email from you in their inbox. You should, however, establish a standard by which you will close the loop in situations that most warrant it.

Here are some situations when circling back can be valuable:

  • A customer rates your product or service below a predetermined threshold.
  • You have offered an incentive for them to respond to the survey.
  • A customer invests additional time to write meaningful comments—positive or negative—especially if a customer specifically asks you to contact them.
  • A customer shared feedback you’ve never heard before or has commented on an aspect of the customer experience you weren’t aware needed improvement.

In these types of cases, your response should be personal—“Dear Valued Customer” is not personal—and should come from a real person, not an automated, “no-reply” email address. It should also include contact information for that customer to reach you if more follow-up is needed. When you personally reply to customers, they will be more likely to believe you truly want to hear what they have to say. To further strengthen customer retention, you can even invite customers to join you for a fuller conversation with your organization. 

Listening to the Voice of the Customer (VoC) is a Strategic Play

When executed properly, surveys and other VoC tools help turn products into solutions that customers truly want and will continue to use—they become a strategic necessity through:

  • Providing actionable insights, which can lead to measurable change.
  • Distributing that insight to relevant departments, teams and individuals.
  • Mixing structured and unstructured data from various parts of the customer journey to provide a holistic view.
  • Allowing dissatisfied customers and ineffective processes to be addressed quickly.

Research into VoC programs has consistently found that first-contact resolution is a major driver in customer satisfaction. Engaging those customers immediately with a post-interaction survey from the contact center can help drive CSAT and other mission critical metrics.

Discover how Verizon can help you improve customer satisfaction by engaging customers, empowering agents and building personalized experiences that help set your business apart so your customers feel valued and heard.

Amrita Singh is Manager, Product Marketing Customer Experience and Contact Center Solutions at Verizon.