By Shep Hyken
I’m all for getting customer feedback. There are different ways to go about it. Ask customers on the way out of a store, call them on a phone or send follow-up surveys via email. I wrote about surveys a few years ago. The gist of that article was about getting more customers to fill out those surveys. Two areas were covered: timing (when the survey was sent) and length (how long it takes customers to complete). Without rehashing the entire article, timing is important. Don’t wait two weeks to send the survey. And don’t make it too long.
Think about what you’re asking the customer to do when you send them a survey. Let’s say you own a restaurant. On the way in, you want your customers to be greeted warmly before enjoying great food and friendly service. At the end of their meal, you want them to experience genuine appreciation as they leave. That final part of the experience—the genuine appreciation as they leave—makes for a great last impression. The next day, you send the customer a survey.
Now, there is nothing wrong with that survey. After all, this is where you get feedback. But consider this. After that wonderful experience and that fond “farewell until next time,” this becomes the new last impression. Let me repeat, so it’s very clear:
The survey is your new last impression.
That is why it’s important that the survey is done the right way. Here are a few dos and don’ts to consider:
- Don’t send the survey too soon. I once received a survey before I even left the property of a hotel I was staying at.
- Don’t wait too long to send the survey. I’ve received surveys two weeks after my experience with a company. I can barely remember what I did yesterday, let alone two weeks ago. Okay, this is a slight exaggeration, but you get the point.
- Don’t make the survey too long, causing “survey fatigue.”
- Don’t send the same survey over and over again to the customer who visits you over and over again. Please, remember me as a person, not a repeat transaction.
- Do send the survey to the customer at the right time, which varies depending on your type of business.
- Do personalize the introduction to the survey. Make the customer feel like a valued person and not, as mentioned above, a transaction.
- Do thank the customer once they respond, and if they have a specific suggestion, let them know they have been heard.
We spend a lot of effort, and even money, to turn prospects into customers. We do our best to create a good customer experience. Don’t let the last impression be tainted with a survey that is improperly delivered. The last impression, good or bad, is a lasting impression.