As digital marketers and entrepreneurs, we have grown more and more accustomed to the customer-centric business philosophy. We understand first and foremost that delivering outstanding customer experiences is key to growth. But as much as we and other professionals might struggle to capture satisfaction with the products or services that we are developing and working on, sometimes it seems difficult to properly assess these metrics. This is where customer surveys come into play. With options as varied as Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Effort Score (CES), or Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT), businesses have all the tools they need at their disposal to measure perception, satisfaction, or potential problems for their customers.
But before we start dwelling on why companies need such projects and the data they produce, let's get one thing out of the way first. Let's explain what each of these terms means and how these types of surveys can help identify issues, streamline products and services and paint a clear picture of its performance.
In general, NPS and CES are focused on the process of identifying issues in customer experience while CSAT tries to assess satisfaction. Both NPS and CES help identify the reasons behind customers' loyalty or lack thereof. They both allow for a better understanding of what drives people to make a purchase decision and how they perceive the products or services they are using. On the other hand, CSAT aims at assessing customer satisfaction with specific aspects of your product or service.
As you can see, these metrics are very different from one another. They serve different purposes and offer different insights. So it's important to understand what they measure and how they can help you optimize your products or services. Before you can make any decision regarding which type of project you want to invest resources into first, it is important to analyze how the data extracted from there will be used. Furthermore, it is important to also consider some client-facing issues that your company is dealing with currently. When everything is clear, deciding on what kind of customer survey to run will come naturally.
How to use email for customer surveys
A customer survey project such as an NPS or CSAT implies different departments working together for a common goal. First of all, you have your customer success people or your Customer Experience team. Secondly, your Marketing team would also be involved. Lastly, your implementation team, either developers, manufacturers, or partners. All of them will have to contribute to the customer survey success. Because you will be dealing with different skill sets and different insights, it is critical for the project to get their buy-in from the get-go.
Once you have the entire team ready, the next step you will be focusing your attention on will be on figuring out how to best engage customers and how to best gather their responses. On the marketing side, things should be pretty straightforward. There are multiple tools that you can use to create and send out surveys, but email remains the best channel to do so. Regardless of the approach that you will be going with, either by sending out email marketing campaigns or by communicating with customers on a one-to-one basis, email will be your best friend when planning and implementing a customer survey project.
The planning stage
The complexity level of this stage will depend a lot on the number of people involved and the number of customers surveyed. As much as some people would like to believe that email is dead as a form of communication within companies, that could not be further from the truth. Use your company email to set up meetings, get buy-in from stakeholders, and implement your communication plan, so that everyone involved is constantly up-to-date with progress and milestones achieved.
The execution stage
After you have managed to plan every step of your customer survey project, it's time to implement it. Below you will find a list of 7 steps for collecting customer feedback, all of them having email front and center.
Steps for gathering customer survey responses:
1. Send the survey invite
Most often than not, customers are inclined to respond to surveys if they care about a product or service. Emphasize their benefits in the email copy and help them understand how providing honest feedback will have an impact on their experience as users or consumers. If that doesn't work, never shy away from offering incentives to those that take their time and submit responses.
2. Encourage responses
Getting an email might not be enough for some customers to motivate them to open it and take action. In this situation, involve the members of your team that is working most closely with customers to engage them and convince them to provide responses.
3. Send the survey reminder
It's common for customers to take their time to respond, so send a reminder after a few days or even a week later. If you still don't receive any responses, reach out to the same members of your team from the previous step and ask them to share the survey link and invite more people to respond.
4. Look at non-responders
Customers who don't respond may have had a negative experience or were never really interested in your product or service in the first place. Identify them and find out why they didn't respond by asking for feedback on other channels such as social media or even sending an email directly. This will help you improve your customer experience moving forward.
5. Close the loop with respondents
Those who did respond should be given some sort of reward for taking their time and sharing their honest feedback with you. A discount code, coupon, free shipping offer, etc., can all go a long way toward keeping them happy about doing business with you in the future.
6. Communicate results internally
If you don't have a system in place to share survey results with your team, it's time to start. Your internal teams will benefit from knowing how customers are responding to the products and services they're working on. This can also help them understand what customers want and need, which is especially important when developing new products or services.
7. Communicate results externally
Customer feedback is valuable for any business, but it's especially so for startups that are just getting started. If you plan on scaling your business or raising capital, having survey results to show potential investors and partners will help give them confidence in your business and the people behind it.