Service is never as simple as fixing a toilet, mowing a lawn or networking computers. When the service request has been fulfilled, follow up with a customer survey. Only then will you learn whether you met expectations.
You Need to Ask
It is critically important to know what your customers really think. And the best way to find out is to ask. Yes, survey every customer, by phone or Internet. The information you get is well worth the time and expense involved.
What will a customer survey tell you, and how will you use the information?
- Identify weak links in your service. Mentally follow a customer through every interaction with your company, from initial call through invoicing. You may have an obvious trouble spot to focus on. Or, include a question in your survey to measure the success of a fix. When you have identified an area for improvement, involve your staff in designing a solution. Then set a monthly or quarterly goal, with an incentive for all over improvement.
- Find out what you are doing right. If you have an area where you outshine the competition, promote that in your marketing. Use it as a gauge to measure performance in other areas. If you have specific workers that are giving outstanding service, recognize them on a regular basis, and ask them to share their methods with co-workers.
How do you get customers to participate?
Most customers are pleased to be asked. Let them know they will be getting a follow-up call or email. You can mention it when the service request comes in, have a statement on your invoice, and your field worker should mention it before leaving the job. Of course, respect requests not to call or email.
How to conduct an email survey
The most basic email survey is a simple message thanking the customer for the business and asking for any comments or suggestions.
There are some great free services available that guide you through creating a more structured survey. You simply include a link in your email and collect the information. You can give customers the option of replying anonymously. Survey Monkey is one of the oldest and best-known services. Another is Kwiksurveys.
How to conduct a phone survey
This responsibility can fall to someone in your office, a team lead, or an outside service. Try at least three calls, at different times of day, before giving up on a response. Leave a message with a call-back number, the reason for the call, and mention that you will be calling again.
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