Welcome to 2019 and to my brand new series; Staying Classy! This series is all about the good, the bad and the ugly of handling complaints and feedback. Over the next five weeks I’ll be diving deep into how to manage complaints, all whilst staying classy. If your goal for 2019 is to dive into creating an amazing customer service experience than this is exactly what you need.
Let’s start at the start. Although it can seem intimidating, asking for feedback can have tremendous value to your business; here are some of my favourite reasons you should ask for feedback:
It helps you to learn what your customers like and don’t like about your products or services.
It shows your customers that you care about their opinions. This can help to create customer loyalty, and therefore help retain customers.
It helps you to improve your customer service experience.
It can motivate you to do better in your business.
The first thing you should do is make sure that it is easy for people to get in touch with you. They should feel like you welcome their feedback, comments and questions. So let’s talk about all the places that you should encourage feedback.
One of the best ways to encourage feedback is to ask via a survey. There are lots of free services that can let you create a survey, including Survey Monkey, Excel, Word and Typeform.
Want to build a survey? << Hubspot has put together a really helpful guide right over here >>
Before we dive into the different types of surveys you can send, I’m going to give some tips for creating the kind of surveys that people want to respond to:
Make every question worth the customer’s time. People have very little time on their hands and every question you ask costs them time.
Make the survey mobile friendly. Even the most conscientious customer will ignore surveys that have to be completed on a desktop.
Make sure the questions are linked to real human emotion. We’ve all been asked to rate our experience from ‘very satisfied’ to ‘very dissatisfied’ but do you ever describe yourself as dissatisfied? I doubt it! Use real emotions! Joyful, sad, happy, mad, whatever you can think of.
Tell them why you’re doing a survey, so they understand what purpose it serves.
Tell them how long it will take to complete.
Once a year you should send an email to all of your customers to request feedback. This will be a general survey that covers everything about your business and should be aimed at understanding how you can provide value more to your customers. Some questions you can ask are:
What do you need more of from me?
What do you need less of from me?
What would you like to learn from me next year?
What product/service would you love to me create?
Do you receive my email updates?
Do you follow me on social media?
Do you read my blog?
What would you love to see me talk about on social media/my blog?
Would you recommend my product/service to a friend? Why/why not?
What’s your favourite thing about my product/service?
What’s one thing you would change about my product/service?
You shouldn’t ask all of these questions, and you can adapt them to either be a score, a rating system or a written response (or a combination!). Here’s a quick example of how to ask people to do your survey!
As the year is drawing to a close I would love to hear from you (yes you!) about where I/we should take <<INSERT BUSINESS NAME HERE>> in <<INSERT YEAR HERE>>
I/We genuinely appreciate you wonderful people, <<INSERT BUSINESS NAME HERE>> exists to serve you, so it would be crazy for me/us not to ask you what you want me/us to do next year.
So - I’ve created a quick survey - about <<INSERT MINUTES HERE>> long - and I/we would be eternally grateful if you take the time to complete it. A few questions are about my products/services, a few are about my customer service, and I have a few that are about you (but you don’t have to answer those if you don’t want to).
<<ADD LINK FOR SURVEY>>
Love and thanks in advance
You can also share this survey on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook to give people who aren’t on your email list a chance to sign up and complete the survey.
It might sound overwhelming to send a survey to every single customer who purchases a product or service from you, but I want to let you in on a secret. Not every customer is going to reply, in fact, studies show that only about 10-15% will respond.
Unlike with your yearly survey which focuses on how you can provide value to customers (even ones who haven’t yet purchased anything from you) this survey is specifically aimed at getting feedback about their purchase so you can improve it in the future. This is also where you can ask for testimonials if it’s relevant to your business.
Some questions might include:
What can I do to improve my product/service in the future?
What do you wish my product/service included?
Did the customer service meet your expectations? Why/why not?
What did you love about your purchase?
Was my website easy to navigate?
Were you able to locate the product/service information without assistance?
Are you happy with the shipping options? Were there any options you wished I would offer?
What problem are you trying to solve with my product/service?
Well hello there!
Thanks so much for <<BUYING MY PRODUCT/HIRING ME>>. I love to learn what I’m doing well and what I can do better, so I’ve made a quick <<INSERT HOW LONG IT WILL TAKE HERE>> survey that I would love for you to complete.
<<INSERT LINK TO SURVEY>>
Love and thanks in advance,
Social media has changed everything about how we do communicate with businesses. These days you can share with everyone your favourite meal at your local cafe, your most recent flight experience and how you feel about your local supermarket. If you have a small business, it’s important to be checking in on all social media platforms (even ones you don’t actively participate in) to keep an eye on what people are saying.
Traditionally customers who have a bad experience tell at least 9 people about the experience. What this doesn’t take into account is social media. If someone has a bad experience, he or she can leave a message on your Facebook page which will be seen by his or her friends, your followers and (if it goes viral) potentially the ENTIRE INTERNET. There are endless examples of customer complaints on social media where the company responded badly.
This approach applies to any social media platform you aren’t actively participating in. You should still have a profile set up on all of those platforms so that you can do regular searches for your business name. This allows you to see what people are saying about your business, and to respond appropriately (whether it’s good or bad).
Remember to ask for reviews
Facebook Pages allow for reviews, and you should have it turned on. This will enable you to control reviews better and again - to loop back to my original point - make people feel like you want to hear their thoughts.
Review websites & Google
If you’re like me, one the of the first things I do when I want to know about a business is to do a Google search (and I’m not alone apparently). Google knows this as well and tries to make it easy for you by having the business website show up at the top, usually followed by the Facebook page. It also allows for people to leave reviews of their experience on Google (though currently, this is only for businesses that have a physical location).
There are two things to think about with Google. The first is to make sure to have a Google account set up for your business (if you have a physical business address that is separate from your home address) so you can check and respond to reviews.
How to set up a Google account for your business
Go to https://business.google.com/
Hit Start Now and fill in the information about your business. It’s all pretty straightforward (because it’s Google).
Once you’ve signed up, you will now be linked to that business and physical location. You can edit the information Google shows and respond to feedback.
The second is to set up a Google alert for your business to be emailed to you once a week. This lets you see what people are saying about your business.
How to set up a Google alert
Go to https://www.google.com.au/alerts
In the search bar up the top, it says “create an alert about”. Type your business name in there.
Click the drop-down arrow next to “Options”. It will let you select how often you get an email update (I would recommend once a week to prevent being spammed or stressed), sources to search (I usually leave it on Automatic because that covers everything), language, region and result types.
Hit Update Options, and you’re done!
Depending on your industry websites such as Yelp, Trip Advisor or FourSquare may or may not be relevant to you. If any sites are relevant make sure your business is set up with a profile to allow you to respond to reviews and feedback.
Lastly, it’s essential to make it easy for people to contact you on your site.
A Contact Me page on your website: Don’t just list your contact details, make sure to add a message that makes it clear that you’re excited to hear from them.
Chat: Chat is still very new, but it has so much potential to add value to your customers, but it does mean that you have to be available to answer questions. One way to manage this is only to have chat active during peak times for your business. If you’re a business that sells daily planners, this might be over the new year, and if you sell courses, this can be during your launch. When you aren’t “live” you can set the chat up to send an email for you to respond to when you’re available.