Customer Surveys: How They Can Help Boost Sales
When it comes to sales and business success, building, maintaining and growing a customer base is crucial.
Yet, while it’s more difficult to acquire new customers than maintain existing ones, you still need to balance the needs of existing customers with attracting new ones if you’re to keep moving forward. Fortunately, if you’ve discovered customer surveys, then you will have already uncovered a great way to achieve both.
In fact, studies have found that simply carrying out a survey with customers and asking them questions about your business is a great way of keeping existing customers happy, while helping to attract new ones.
How the psychology of surveys helps
So why is it that survey participants often appear to be more loyal and committed to a company than non-participants?
Well, in many ways customers like to feel like they’re part of a community around the products and services they love, and therefore if you survey them it helps to reinforce this and the sense that their opinion matters. In addition, more specific surveys like customer satisfaction surveys appeal to many customers’ desires to be pampered and helps reinforce any positive feelings they may have about the company surveying them, encouraging them to buy more of its products.
Surveying your customers is also a great way for them to share their thoughts with you about your product or services. That way, if your customers have any issues with something, it can enable you to address it more quickly and stop it from potentially escalating into something much more problematic.
How surveys can help increase sales
While the intention of a survey is to gather feedback from a particular audience, when you ask people for their opinion, it often causes them think about something they might not otherwise have thought about.
Therefore, when you reach out to a potential customer, it could be that they didn’t realise that they needed your product or service until you asked them what they thought about it. In addition, many of your existing customer base, may not have been fully aware of the full range of products and services in your portfolio – making both scenarios potentially beneficial for improving your sales.
However, at this point, it’s worth pointing out that you need to be a bit careful if you’re trying to encourage sales through research because there are laws that prohibit you from doing so explicitly. Therefore, it’s best to include a disclaimer on your survey link.
The surveys that you send to respondents should ensure that you explicitly mention that you will be informing them about new products and services while also getting feedback from them.
Having cleared that up, here’s some more ways in which surveys can help to improve your sales.
Helps you identify areas where you can improve
Online surveys provide a great opportunity for businesses to find out what is missing or lacking from their products and services. And for any customers who have had any issues with your products and services, surveys are a great way for them to talk about this.
Consequently, a survey can help you to identify:
- If there are any areas for improvement in your product or service?
- Any touchpoints that are providing a less-than-ideal experience for your customers
- Any issues with your customer service team and how they’re handling complaints
- How well you’re delivering your services
- How happy customers are with your products or services
Measures how many customers are likely to recommend you to others
If you include the Net Promoter Score (NPS)® question in your survey, it can give you a good indication of how satisfied customers are with you, by their willingness to recommend you to others. Then based on their answers, it can give you a better idea about how you should be communicating with them in terms of your marketing and sales moving forward.
NPS is based on asking your customers the following survey question.
“How likely is it that you would recommend this company to a friend or colleague?” (with respondents asked to rate them based on a scale from 0 to 10).
Respondents are then divided into the following three categories based on their answers:
Promoters: Are people who responded with a 9 or 10 and are extremely happy with your products and services.
Passives: Are those who responded with a 7 or 8. While not dissatisfied with your services, they’re not overly enthusiastic about it either.
Detractors: These are people who responded with a score of 0 to 6. Detractors are likely to leave your businesses and more likely to talk to others about the bad experiences they’ve had with you.
So, what can businesses do with the results?
Given that your promoters are really happy with you, you should put more efforts into retaining them.
For starters, they should be a part of your customer loyalty program, if you have one. And they can also provide you with testimonials that you can use in your marketing materials.
Your passives are more likely to churn at the first opportunity, as they’re always looking for something better that they can make use of.
Therefore, you need to identify ways of providing them with better offers. Get on a phone call with them and find out how you can give them a better service or deliver better products. Your objective should be to convert them into a Promoter.
Your detractors will be leaving your business as they’re extremely unhappy with it. For many, their expectations from you were completely unmet, making them more likely to issue negative reviews about you on internet portals and bad mouth you to their family or friends.
Consequently, your objective here is to convert as many of them as you can into passives.
Allows you to integrate loyalty programs
Loyalty programs are not only a great way to increase your retention rate, but also to improve your sales.
The thinking here is that customers who are already happy with your products will be more than happy to share your business with their peers, especially if they’re incentivised to do so. Loyalty programs provide you with that much needed push.
Make use of the help of a rewards program tool, that can make all of this integration possible. By putting your happy customers into a loyalty program, you can also use their information to understand them better and create more products and services that your prospective customers want.
Helps you to prequalify potential customers visiting your website
While it’s unlikely that everyone who visits your website will go on to be a customer, all of them will be a lot closer to becoming a customer than someone whose never visited it.
Subsequently, it’s imperative for you to capture their information through a pre-sales survey and use any information that you get as a pivotal tool for your business. Integrate web links to your survey and try to keep these surveys as short as you can.
A pre-sales survey enables you to ask questions on firmographics which will help your business to qualify leads. It will also help you to reduce the time spent on the wrong leads while increasing your conversion rate. You can also increase sales by creating a pre-sales survey that helps the targeting and effectiveness of your sales campaign.
Here’s what you can ask website visitors in a pre-sales survey:
- Information about the objective of their company in working with a product similar to yours
- The size of their company.
- Information about the visitor’s department, designation, responsibilities, etc.
- Collect pre-requirements.
- Identify their goals
Improves your decision-making
Some businesses don’t conduct surveys with their customers, as they’re afraid about what they might say. Yet, whether that information is positive or negative, it’s still data that you can usefully use in the future.
Another reason why some businesses don’t conduct surveys is because they believe they have all the data they need for decision making from inbound leads, sales and outbound campaigns. Yet, this often doesn’t tell you the overall picture, which you’ll only get when you’re able to combine it with customer feedback data.
Customer insight will help tell you what they feel about your products and services, prices, buying process and their opinion about the various touchpoint interactions they’ve had with you. All these pieces of information should be considered as essential bits of insights and acted on accordingly.
Helps you to outmanoeuvre your competition
The problem with a lot of businesses is that they’re often not receptive enough to the needs of their existing customers.
In particular, many companies don’t engage in post-purchase engagement. Yet, you’re more likely to gain further sales from existing customers who are easier to upsell and cross-sell to. They will often be more open to the prospect of paying a premium for products too, especially if they’re happy with your service and your product is helping them achieve their objectives.
Conducting regular online surveys to get the voice of your customers will help keep you ahead of your competitors, as you’ll be continually improving and innovating based on this feedback.
Helps you to keep improving your customer experience
Given that the customer experience is now as important and, in many cases, even more crucial to future sales than your product and price, this is another crucial area that you must not ignore.
Consequently, you can use surveys at the post-sales stage to get a better understanding about how your customers feel about the whole experience they’ve had with your business.
Happy customers are the cornerstone of your success. So, it’s your duty to ensure that they enjoy the best experience devoid of any friction.
When you’re thinking about questions to include in a post-sales surveys, you need to be asking yourself questions such as.
How contented were they with the entire process of buying?
Did they experience any difficulty at any point during the purchase process?
Are there any bits of advice they can offer us?
Are there any touchpoints that they were impressed with?
Would they recommend our product to their peers based on our buying process?
The answers to the above questions will give you a better insight into your customers and how they feel about your buying process. This should help you to improve the process for new customers in the future.
Keep looking after your customers and the sales will come
We hope you enjoyed reading this blog and have got some value out of some of the ideas we’ve discussed.
While sales strategies and tactics will always be crucial to your bottom line, it’s important not to get too isolated from your customers, because if you’re not meeting their needs, it will always be harder to sell to them.
However, if you’ve discovered and are already sending customer surveys to them, you will be bridging this missing link. And as long as you keep going above and beyond for them and are acting on their feedback with ongoing improvements and innovation the sales should come.