When your business can turn insight into action, you have a recipe for success –especially when you can apply this insight to your product. And, since 65% of customers are looking for greater experiences when they purchase products, you need to be on the lookout to continuously improve what you are offering to your customers. Luckily, there are tools out there to help set you up for success.
One particularly powerful instrument many businesses use to improve their customers’ experience is surveys. After all, once you have a customer, isn’t it the best practice to do anything you can to keep them? Increasing customer retention rates by just five percent increases your company’s profits from 25 to 95 percent.
But, many companies are not using the data to its maximum potential. Why? Honestly, it’s because they do not know how to sift through the data provided by surveys. Or, they do not know how to apply the information they’ve collected to improving the product.
Understanding Survey Data
Structured Data vs Unstructured Data
As the name implies, structured questions have a reasonable degree of structure to them. They come in the form of multiple choice, list selections, or radio buttons. These questions are developed after your staff does a good bit of research. If you want this customer data to be usable to your company, make sure the items are not written with inherent bias.
Unstructured questions are open-ended. They ask that respondents openly express their thoughts.
Both types of questions are riddled with opportunity. But keep in mind, 95% of all survey data is unstructured. And, it’s your obligation to your customers to examine what they are saying and use their comments to improve what you are offering. If they are taking the time to share their thoughts, you need to reciprocate and use the information to enhance your digital products.
Many times SaaS customers are savvy enough to provide specific and well-thought-out advice on how to improve your product or service. Even though it takes time, it may behoove you to read all of those customer comments, even if that means you have to filter through the unhelpful feedback to find valuable nuggets of information.
Improve Your Product
Here are five ways that you can use surveys to improve your digital products.
Make Data-Driven Decisions
Use your survey results to decide which features need to be tweaked or added in your app or software. If your customer surveys show that a certain feature on your app is used and enjoyed, while another feature is not, you may want to take stock in what your customers are saying.
One example of a company turning customer feedback into a new business policy is Verizon. Verizon listened to customers complaining about having to change phone numbers each time they switched carriers. Verizon became the leader in promoting the idea of keeping the same cell phone number regardless of the carrier.
Set Performance Goals
Some of the easiest data to collect are the data from a brief survey your customers take after they’ve interacted with one of your customer service representatives. The thumbs up or thumbs down or the happy green face or the angry red one allow customers to give feedback regarding their experiences quickly.
You can use the data to set goals for your customer service reps to achieve positive feedback. Make the goals reachable and reward the best employees for doing a great job. This is the growing trend in every industry. According to a 2017 survey, 43 percent of companies base a portion of the employee’s pay on feedback ratings.
Improve the Customer Experience
Customers are able to forgive a company for imperfect products or high prices as long as they have an excellent customer experience. In fact, some studies show that 73 percent of customers point to these experiences in making purchasing decisions.
There’s better coffee in the marketplace than Starbucks, but they are masters in providing excellent customer experiences. Just hang out in Starbucks on any weekday morning, and you will see hoards of people running in and grabbing their pre-made and already paid for coffee that was ordered through the Starbucks app—the consistently and continually developed application based on customer feedback. In fact, it is estimated that in 2018 23.4 million people used the Starbucks app to make a purchase. Starbucks may have good coffee, but they are selling customer experience more than anything.
Develop New Products
Once you sort through your customer feedback, you may find a niche in the marketplace that is not met yet. Instead of starting from scratch to meet this new need, you may consider developing a new product that exists independently from your previous idea. Netflix is the most famous modern example of a company changing tactics in the midstream. The Netflix from 1998 looks nothing like the company now that boasts 125 million customers and 11.7 billion dollars in revenue.
Assess Customer Loyalty
Since 60 percent of customers tell a family or friend about a brand they are loyal to, making sure your customers feel loyal to your product or service is integral. Don’t feel that customer loyalty is only important for companies making dishwashers and cars. In fact, in a survey of the top brands ranked by customer loyalty, technology companies ruled the list.
Ok, so now you know how you can use data from surveys to improve your digital products. But, how do you create the polls so that you can gather the information you need?
Points to Ponder When Creating Customer Surveys
Make it Easy for Customers to Answer
Consider limiting your information gathering to one or two survey questions. This allows the company to gather data on how efficiently the delivery department is working, but it also makes the customer feel that the company cares about their feedback.
Also, consider telling respondents how long the survey will take to complete up front. When you do this, you are telling potential clients you respect their time.
Creating Surveys to Improve Your Product
There is hardly ever an article written about using customer surveys without mentioning Apple. One of the reasons Apple has grown to be the largest name in technology is because at the beginning of the smartphone wars, Apple quietly introduced the Apple Customer Pulse.
The 2011 online focus group participants were sent two surveys a month to complete. These online surveys were quietly analyzed, and the results were kept away from the public. Apple learned that one of the significant drawbacks of their devices was that it was difficult for customers to transfer music and data among different devices. Based on this feedback, iCloud was introduced.
Create Targeted Questions
A 2014 study found, 80 percent of retail shoppers stopped taking a survey half-way through because the length of the survey was too long. The lesson your digital company can take from this brick and mortar data is choose your survey questions carefully. If you are only interested in questions revolving around the technological application of your product, make sure the questions are written about that topic.
If you hire a company to write, distribute, and analyze survey questions for you, make sure the company understands how you want the items targeted before they begin the process.
Offer Incentives for Answering Questions
Restaurateurs and retailers have it easy. It is common practice to print a phone number or website at the bottom of the receipt and customers earn financial rewards for answering survey questions regarding products and services. Technology companies have it harder.
You can offer financial incentives such as gift cards. But be sure to make your expectations clear. For example, you may want customers to answer closed-ended questions and then require the customer to write a minimum word count to become eligible for the monetary incentive.
The incentive doesn’t have to be pricey. DocPIE began offering a Redbox movie rental coupon as a survey incentive which led to a 77% increase in click rate for their email invitations.
Thoroughly Analyze Your Data
While full articles, websites, and books can be written on how to analyze data drawn from customer surveys, the important thing to remember is to do something with the information. While traditional survey results can be invaluable, don’t forget to pay attention to all the communications you receive from customers. You may receive information from support tickets that customers open, live chat conversations they have with customer service representatives, or messages they send via social media.
Besides customers responding to in-app surveys or emailed communications, you may also consider monitoring your customers’ behavior in your help centers. See what topics are searched for the most. From this information, you can determine what aspect of your technology is most confusing for the user. You can also decide what other features of your product should be developed based on what the customer is seeking.
Regardless of how you gather it, customers can provide invaluable information on how to make your product better. At the end of the day, you want your company to be more profitable, and by taking the time to analyze your survey data, you can put your company on the path to success.
Author bio: Anastasia Sviridenko is a content marketing specialist at TextMagic, a bulk text messaging software provider. It allows businesses, big and small, to conduct SMS marketing campaigns, send notifications, alerts, and reminders. When she’s not working, Anastasia likes to curl up with a book at home or play tennis with a friend.