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Who Said What About Us?

Collecting and acting on customer satisfaction data can be a powerful tool
2_COFFMAN

Regularly measuring customer satisfaction helps companies in many ways. You can pinpoint needed improvements to the sales and service experience; rapidly identify and address issues of dissatisfied customers; find satisfied customers to recruit for advocacy and further research; and forecast retention rates and future sales.

Surveying your customers should be part of how you conduct business, not an isolated event. Typical customer satisfaction surveys are sent approximately 30 days and then 300 days after purchase. Subsequent annual surveys will help identify durability and performance issues. A properly conducted customer satisfaction survey program can be an extremely valuable tool for strategic business planning.

When building your survey, focus on the most important questions to ask; how the questions are relevant over the long term; how much of the survey should focus on product, sales or service; the ideal delivery method; and incentives to increase survey response rates.

A response method is how you collect the answer from the respondent or customer. Often, these response methods are broken down into two types: structured and unstructured. Structured formats help the customer respond more easily and provide data that is already normalized. Generally, unstructured responses are written, free-form text.

Surveys can be distributed in a variety of methods, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. This includes postal mail, telephone, email, point of sale and text message.

Customer experience products often include built-in tools to help manage the satisfaction process. These tools include hot alerts and survey notifications. Hot alerts are often used in the reporting process, and they are typically generated based on scores given to key questions in the survey. For example, a principal of a dealership may want to be notified of a negative survey response immediately, providing the ability to take care of customer concerns as they’re collected.

Issue resolution and ticketing tools allow the OEM service team, dealer and consumer to have visibility and insight into the escalation of the customer issue. Empowering the customer to initiate a dialogue with both the OEM and the dealer at once creates a better customer experience and provides transparency.

Taking Action

Manufacturers should establish detailed guidelines and procedures for acting on satisfaction data. Some ways to use the satisfaction data include product quality remediation, sales and service improvement, strategic planning insight, generating advocacy, marketing and employee motivation.

Satisfaction data can be used to identify and remedy product design, engineering, or manufacturing issues that can lead to customer dissatisfaction. Ideally, product design, engineering, and manufacturing management will review satisfaction data on a regular basis and create issue lists that can be prioritized and addressed.

Sales and service satisfaction are also critical to developing high levels of customer retention. This data should also be reviewed on a regular basis, prioritized and acted upon by respective management. Too often, management is driven solely by customer service complaints, and so many companies miss the big picture by failing to analyze sales and service satisfaction data.

Survey data can help make strategic business decisions for future efforts. For example, you may be able to forecast sales over the coming months or years based on changes in your customer satisfaction index. Or, your marketing department could act on survey results by promoting aspects of a product that customers find most satisfying.

Advocates are perhaps the most powerful influences on how others perceive your product. Customer satisfaction data is an ideal way of identifying satisfied customers who are willing to promote your product. It’s important to identify and approach advocates in a delicate way, ensuring that their endorsement can be spread as far as possible.

Online reviews have a proven impact on sales. Reevoo, a company that collects reviews and other customer content, says reviews can produce an average 18 percent lift in sales. This is why marketers should actively seek out highly satisfied customers and encourage them to post product or service reviews on their social channels or brand website.

In addition to sales, there are significant search engine optimization benefits when implementing a ratings and reviews strategy. This includes supplying your website with fresh user-generated content, and increasing your chances of ranking higher on search engine results pages. This strategy also improves the likelihood that consumers will find your website when searching for your “product name + reviews.” And, finally, it will likely lead to improved conversion rates.

The product team, whether design, manufacturing or engineering, works hard to make your product perform well for your customers. Product satisfaction data should be shared beyond the executive suite, allowing all employees who directly contribute to product quality to know how well they’re doing in the customer’s eyes. Closing the feedback loop empowers employees to take actions that can directly affect product quality, ultimately improving customer retention and advocacy.

Measuring and acting on customer satisfaction data can be a game-changer for your company. I’d love to hear other ways you use this valuable information with your brand or dealership. 

Jeff Coffman (jeff.coffman@rollick.io) is senior vice president of enterprise solutions and marketing for Rollick (gorollick.com/company), which aims to transform the outdoor recreational product retailing experience.

Jeff Coffman (jeff.coffman@rollick.io) is senior vice president of enterprise solutions and marketing for Rollick (gorollick.com/company), which aims to transform the outdoor recreational product retailing experience.

This article was originally published in the July 2022 issue.

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