LE BLOG BY SATISFACTORY
What’s the future for customer satisfaction surveys ?
Until very recently, customer feedback consisted of internal company data collected from various surveys, either anonymously or in person. This data was not communicated publicly, or was presented only in a strictly controlled way, in the form of selected customer testimonials, for example.
Since the advent of Web 2.0, there has been an online proliferation of customer feedback in all its forms, from reviews and scores on the quality of the product purchased, to comments on delivery times and on the services of companies.
Every customer is now a potential content creator, a one-person media source, read by hundreds or even thousands of other internet users.
This type of feedback, commonly known as “customer reviews”, is to be found scattered throughout :
such as Fram, Darty and Direct Assurance. Comments may be administered either internally, or generated through third party reviews providers such as Reevoo and Bazaarvoice.
Specialised collection sites,including :
- Independent review sites
Ekomi, Fia-Net, TrustPilot, Avis Certifiés, Avis vérifiés …
- Specialist review sites
Travel and tourism: TripAdvisor, Zoover, HolidayCheck, etc.
Car repairs: Allogarage
Insurance: Assurland, Le Lynx
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Foursquare …
Asking customers for their opinions
In your opinion, what kind of customer feels sufficiently motivated by their purchase or holiday to go back to the company’s website or to a review website, create an account and post a comment ?
If you do not adopt a proactive listening approach with your customers, negative comments from dissatisfied customers will dominate positive ones. Most satisfied customers are not motivated enough or do not think to take the time to give their opinions on the internet.
Furthermore, any company that does not ask for its customers’ opinions directly faces a tedious task: having to analyse random customer feedback scattered around the web on comparison and content sites, blogs, Facebook and Twitter.
While e-reputation analysis solutions do exist, they have many limitations: few or no comparable scores, problem of representativeness of data, difficulty in associating a particular comment with a particular experience, no information on the person writing the comment, understanding comments in foreign languages, constrained by the limitations of keyword analysis
The goldmine of customer reviews
Many studies have demonstrated the power of customer reviews on purchasing decisions.
Take, for example, the results of a global Nielsen survey conducted in 2012: “Consumers have 12 times more confidence in the opinions of their peers than in traditional advertising”.
In cases where reviews are posted directly on the company website, the expected gains are as follows :
- Improved organic SEO ranking thanks to the frequency and volume of user-generated content
- Increased conversion rates
- Increased average shopping basket
- Increased time spent on the site
- Improved community activity through facilitating exchanges between customers
Should the company choose a partner site specialising in collecting opinions, the goal is to improve paid-for rankings (e.g. Google Adwords programme) and go through a trusted third party to improve the credibility of customer reviews.
In the world of tourism, an opinion-gathering partnership with a global reference site such as TripAdvisor clearly aims to achieve greater visibility on that site, and therefore generate traffic to the site of a tourist establishment.
In addition to commercial benefits, the organised collection of opinions lets companies channel customer feedback more efficiently, and, based on this, makes it easier to analyse feedback and respond if necessary. Replying to a review is a tremendous opportunity to provide answers or apologies, and to show that the company is listening and is proactive in replying to customers.
Facilitating feedback from all online customers is not an obvious business decision, as companies must be prepared to allow negative feedback. A Reevoo study shows that 68% of customers have increased confidence in reviews when there are both good and bad comments present.
We must remember that online customer feedback is generally positive: TripAdvisor reveals that the average rating on its site hovers around the 4.08/5 mark.
And finally, any company that posts the opinions of its customers is providing full transparency in relation to its products and services, and will win their trust for the long haul.
Is it always necessary to make customer reviews readily available online ?
We do not recommend making customer reviews fully available in the following cases :
- When no steps have been taken to ensure continuous improvement in the company, and/or when the company has no desire to differentiate themselves from the competition through the quality of their services and products. In these cases the volume of negative reviews is potentially too high.
- When no internal mechanism is in place to manage review moderating and to support customers’ complaints, and when no process to capitalise on feedback has been implemented.
Companies should not only post customer reviews online
Whether customer reviews are hosted on external review websites or posted on the company website itself, they should not replace post-experience satisfaction surveys, for the following two reasons:
The richness of the collected content
An effective questionnaire sent following a customer experience enables the company to ask questions relevant to its business, and adapt these questions based on the customer’s experience. Review websites often offer questionnaires that are very short, sometimes too short, with no opportunities for customisation.
Better data analysis
Online survey management solutions let you monitor results in real-time and perform advanced analysis including cross-referencing with customer data. Online review sites offer review interfaces that are poor in analytical and collaborative sharing functions.
The rating scale for review sites is usually out of 5, which certainly has the advantage of standardising the scoring for users, but does not give the analytical accuracy of a score out of 10. Scoring out of 10 has the advantage of placing greater emphasis on development and of measuring more accurately the feedback on actions and investments to improve services.
See our article for more information :
Posting online reviews and customer satisfaction surveys are two very different, but complementary things
Customer surveys should identify areas for improvement and establish a continuous improvement policy for products and services offered to customers. The focus here is on implementing an internal company policy.
For most companies we encounter, posting online customer reviews is primarily aimed at achieving business goals, and centralising customer feedback from the web is secondary.
It would therefore be wise to set up tools for measuring customer satisfaction in advance, before trying to make your customers’ task of expressing themselves online easier.
Customer feedback is useful to organisations for internal use, and also in the form of reviews posted on the internet. But how do we reconcile the two ?
Between the temptation to canvas customers twice (as happens with standard surveys and opinion surveys) and the mistake of not canvassing at all, lies an interesting alternative: ask their opinion once.
This involves sending a single, two-part questionnaire by email: the first part an online feedback form and the second an invitation to “share your opinions online”.
This approach has 3 advantages :
- It avoids canvassing customers too frequently, and thus does not lower the rate of survey participation in the long term.
- It ensures feedback collection from real customers only, and therefore complies with one of the requirements of AFNOR Standard NF Z 74-501.
- It reduces the costs of collection.
Even if the overall tone of the feedback stays the same, customers do not express themselves in the same way when speaking to a company directly as they do when posting in public spaces on the internet. You can learn a lot by analysing the differences. It would also make a good subject for an article on this blog !
It is not possible to build a customer strategy on simply analysing comments from the most aggressive customers on social networks, even with an effective one-to-one customer response mechanism.
Your e-reputation is first and foremost a matter of reputation, full stop. It is earned through a shared wish by the whole organisation to give customers the best experience over time.
It is essential to effectively analyse typical customer feedback through well-constructed satisfaction surveys, and to follow key indicators and initiate the necessary corrective measures. It’s vital that this is accomplished before implementing any strategy to post customer reviews on the internet. Satisfaction rates will increase, and this will have a positive and measurable impact on online customer reviews.
SatisFactory offers the following solutions to these problems
Our tool allows us to send a single, two-part questionnaire by email :
- Questions are tailored to the customer experience, for internal use by the company.
- They include non-compulsory questions (score + comment) that invite customers to share their experiences publicly on the internet.
To circulate customer feedback on the internet, we offer three possible solutions for posting feedback collected in the form of a review :
- Directly on your site
- Moderated with our Sharing-Data solution
- Via review collection sites: we have recently set up partnerships with three leading players in this field -TripAdvisor, Zoover and eKomi