Online reviews drive those who are searching for your product or service right to your front door.
It’s great if your customers love your business, but it’s even better if they share that love by telling their friends and family, and posting about it online.
And just as a good online review can boost your business, a bad one can keep potential customers away.
What can you do to keep the good online reviews coming while preventing the bad ones from appearing?
The first step is to find out what your customers really think of your business by using a feedback survey.
These surveys are more than just a way of measuring customer satisfaction. When done right, they can lead to higher ratings, higher rankings, and more visibility to those searching for your product or service.
In this post, we’ll share how one family-owned business uses surveys to earn 5-star reviews, and how you can replicate their success (including suggested questions to ask).
Feedback Puts You in Control
The beauty of a feedback survey is that it puts you in the driver’s seat.
You can take negative feedback and turn it into positive action by taking steps to address the issues your customers raise.
Your customers will be impressed (and pleasantly surprised) when you follow up with them by going above and beyond expectations. Be sure to thank them for sharing their experience and for giving you the opportunity to improve whatever lead to their problem.
Exposing yourself to this feedback might be painful at first, but if you manage it the rewards can be great.
And if you have very satisfied customer? Then make it easy for them to share their experience with a testimonial that promotes your business!
Ask them if they would like to post a review, and make it easy for them to do so by providing the links to online review sites.
How One Company Boosted Reviews
Our customer ReplaceALens has had great success using feedback surveys to encourage customers to post favorable online reviews and prevent bad ones.
ReplaceALens replaces prescription eyeglass lenses, in addition to providing frames and eye exams.
Once a customer completes an order, a survey is automatically sent to their email address.
The survey starts by asking the customer how satisfied they were with ReplaceALens overall, followed by a comment box asking if there were any problems.
Next they survey asks the customer to select the types of service they received: an eye exam, lens replacement, and/or purchasing frames. Using question logic, the survey asks the customer to rate their satisfaction with each service received.
Logic keeps the questions relevant (customers only see questions related to the services they used) and reduces survey abandonment.
(You can read more about how to increase response rates in our article, Increasing Customer Satisfaction Response Rates.)
ReplaceALens then asks for input on how they can improve their services.
Finally, they ask if the customer would recommend ReplaceALens to a friend.
Responding to Feedback in a Meaningful Way
If a customer indicates that they are dissatisfied, the survey triggers an alert to the manager that immediate action is required.
Instead of sending negative feedback to an inbox that no one checks, the team at ReplaceALens recognizes it as an opportunity to improve their service.
They also understand the feedback is an opportunity to let their customers be their advocate. If a customer indicates they are very satisfied and likely to recommend ReplaceALens, their team follows up with another question asking if the customer would like to write an online review.
They make it easy for their customers to do so by providing links to their Google+ , Yelp, Yahoo, and Yellowpages profiles, inviting customers to review on whichever sites they prefer.
They also provide a link to their Facebook page and encourage customers to Like and Share their experience on social media.
Bonus Points for Referral Programs
ReplaceALens goes one step farther and asks satisfied customers if they would like to join their Referral program, which gives them credit for each customer they refer.
All of these things sound nice, but also like a lot of work. Do all these steps really help with online reviews?
For an answer, take a look at the ReplaceALens Yelp page. They have a long list of five star reviews, What’s more, the one negative review on the list was updated from one star to four based on great customer service.
Email notifications have allowed ReplaceALens to immediately follow up with anyone who was less than satisfied, ensuring that their customers have a memorable, positive experience they want to share.
How to Get the Most From Your Feedback Survey
The key to a successful feedback survey is to collect it on a regular basis so you can immediately act on the data. Correcting a less than stellar situation is how to earn those glowing reviews.
Timely action will also help prevent bad reviews from appearing on review and social media sites. Unhappy customers often need to vent; providing customers with a way to express dissatisfaction directly to you will keep them from posting elsewhere.
Using the right questions, you can gain insight into your customers’ experience, what they like and don’t like, and where your business excels or falls short.
Start broad with your survey, and then drill down into specific areas.
These five steps will help you set up your feedback survey:
1. Measure Your Customers’ Overall Satisfaction
Begin your survey by asking how satisfied a customer was, overall with the service or product they received.
A rating scale is a good way to measure satisfaction at a glance, because it’s easy for your customers to answer (and for you to understand quickly).
2. Identify Problems With Customer Satisfaction Questions
Get to the heart of the matter. Ask your customers directly and sincerely if any part of their experience with you was negative.
Stress that you will be acting on any feedback they give. This allows your customer the opportunity to express any negativity to you while feeling confident they are helping to improve your product or service.
3. Get Details So You Can Improve Your Service
With the important questions of overall satisfaction out of the way, now you can ask questions that address specfic aspects of your business.
Use skip logic to show only questions that are relevant to the services or products a customer received.
Don’t waste time by asking questions that don’t pertain to them. They will appreciate your foresight and will therefore be more likely to continue to the end of the survey.
4. Trigger Notifications
Setup automatic notifications to alert the appropriate people when there is a problem.
Trigger an email to fire whenever someone indicates they were less than satisfied, so you can resolve any issues before they escalate.
This step is very important if you want to prevent negative online reviews and posts about your business. Things will not always go smoothly, but the important thing is to recognize and resolve issues quickly.
5. Create Advocates
Ask highly satisfied customers if they would like to share their experience or post a review.
Keep in mind that this survey “question” doesn’t have to be phrased as a question. An instructional question type works well here.
Use the power of suggestion; let them know that they can post a testimonial or review, and provide the link to your social or review site.
Get More Positive Online Reviews
When thinking about which review and social media sites would be best for your business, consider where your target audience is.
For instance, if you offer professional services, you may want to consider LinkedIn as a place for customers to follow you and share their experiences.
If you provide contracting services, you might want to consider a link to Angie’s List for your customers to post their reviews.
Oh, and don’t forget about your own site.
I have seen surveys (SurveyGizmo does this, too) where satisfied customers are asked if they would like to provide a testimonial that can be shared on their website.
Authentic customer or client testimonials show prospective customers that your existing users are happy. And testimonials can be used and reused on landing pages, in handouts, and in other marketing and sales materials as needed.
Get the Most From Customer Satisfaction Surveys
If you are collecting feedback from your customers, consider how you can use this opportunity to not only improve your business, but to promote it.
Always remember to trigger an alert when you receive a dissatisfied response. It only takes one bad review to undo a handful of good ones!
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