Customer feedback is essential for any company, but when your only real interaction with customers might be a delivery or service appointment, getting their feedback quickly and honestly becomes crucial.
Yet, eliciting honest and prompt customer feedback can pose a significant challenge. Gathering valuable feedback is all about timing and communication. So, how do you get the feedback that really matters (and get it when it matters most)?
Why is Customer Feedback Important?
First, let’s cover why collecting customer feedback is essential in the delivery and service sectors. Customer feedback provides a clear window into what works for your customers and what doesn’t.
Feedback can help you cut out the guesswork to make changes that address customer concerns and create more positive experiences. It can help to highlight team members performing to a high standard and recognize those who may require more support and training.
Gathering feedback is easier said than done. Many customers feel uncomfortable reporting their complaints to drivers face-to-face, and some are unwilling to relay their displeasure over the phone. To make things even more challenging, feedback quality decays quickly — the longer it takes to request a response, the less accurate that information is, and the more likely it is to reflect a negative experience.
Surprisingly, many companies need to take the important step of asking for feedback. According to research by Descartes, more than half the respondents (55%) do not send post-delivery surveys, and only 20% send surveys immediately after a delivery.
So, how do you go about collecting accurate, actionable feedback?
Customer Satisfaction Best Practices
When it comes to collecting customer feedback, it’s best to be intentional in your approach. There are numerous ways to skew or otherwise negatively affect the quality of the information you receive. When paying close attention to your feedback, inaccuracies or unconscious persuasion can throw your strategy off the mark.
Here are some best practices to ensure the feedback you gather is of high quality and genuinely helpful:
1. Always Request Feedback
People are most inclined to volunteer feedback after experiencing an extreme experience, whether very good or bad. They are less likely to provide unprompted feedback for experiences that went exactly as planned or were merely satisfactory.
To encourage feedback, don't wait for it to come passively. Automated feedback requests can streamline the process, such as sending a request via text when drivers cross a geofence or after a set time following a delivery. Promptly asking for feedback conveys your genuine interest in the customer's experience.
2. Initiate Feedback Promptly
Feedback collected from customers loses value over time. People tend to forget details, and negative aspects of an experience may become more prominent in a customer’s memory.
Aim to collect feedback shortly after a job or delivery is completed. Waiting too long diminishes the likelihood of addressing any negative experiences and impacts your ability to effectively handle service recovery.
3. Avoid Putting Customers on the Spot
Directly asking customers for feedback during in-person interactions with your drivers can lead to awkward situations, particularly when something goes wrong. Customers may withhold details or provide higher ratings to avoid appearing overly critical or confrontational.
Automating the process by sending a survey after the driver leaves can prevent discomfort and lead to more honest feedback.
4. Keep Questions Simple
While it may sound straightforward, crafting questions that generate useful, actionable feedback is perhaps the most challenging aspect of the process.
Simplify matters by using star ratings and straightforward questions. Keep questions short, with phrasing that intentionally avoids biasing responses toward specific answers.
You can utilize yes-or-no questions or scale-based questions (e.g., on a scale of 1-5) to help customers provide insights quickly.
5. Allow Opt-Out for Follow-Up Calls
Digital feedback surveys can help you to recognize customers who don’t need additional contact. By identifying these happy customers, you can save time and resources that would otherwise be spent reaching out to them.
Enabling customers to select "no thanks" for a follow-up call frees up your customer service team to focus on other tasks. This approach allowed Welsh Water to reallocate 83% of resources originally dedicated to follow-up calls.
6. Avoid Overwhelming Customers with Questions
Extensive questionnaires can overwhelm customers and often lead to partially completed surveys or complete abandonment.
Structure your questions to be as user-friendly as possible. To reduce the length, eliminate unnecessary questions wherever feasible. For instance, you could dynamically display specific questions based on responses to previous questions.
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7. Personalize Feedback Requests
Leverage the information you already possess to personalize feedback requests. For instance, your feedback request might address the customer by name and reference the type of delivery that was just completed. This personal touch can enhance brand affinity and boost customer lifetime value (CLV).
8. Track Feedback Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
While gathering data is crucial, measuring your success is equally important. Use direct customer feedback channels, online reviews, and social media to gauge what customers think about your brand and how it impacts their overall experience with your company.
Establish KPIs such as the average customer satisfaction score (CSAT), Net Promoter Score (NPS), volume of reviews, overall satisfaction with the service, first-time response (FTR), and any other relevant metrics for your business. Importantly, make this information readily available for review so that your staff knows where improvements are needed.
9. Act on the Feedback You Receive
Some businesses invest significant time and resources into gathering survey responses but struggle to harness customer feedback effectively.
Establish a standardized process for taking action based on feedback responses. Define who should be notified of feedback, and the steps required to implement changes.
Real-time feedback notifications can help staff to action feedback quickly and meaningfully.
Key Takeaways on Collecting Customer Feedback
Collecting feedback isn't solely about gathering information; it's about doing it effectively to foster engagement with your business. Look for solutions that incorporate the best practices listed above, featuring capabilities such as:
- Automated post-appointment SMS messages
- Configurable rating systems with emojis, stars, or number ratings to measure sentiment
- Configurable forms to gather information about customer experiences
- Tailored follow-up questions based on positive or negative responses
- Operational transparency to enable teams to view feedback
- Negative alerts that notify customer support when unfavorable feedback is received
By implementing these best practices and leveraging the right tools, you can unlock the power of customer feedback to drive positive change within your company's operations.