3 tips for conducting call center satisfaction surveys

Posted: 01/08/2016 - 16:15 | Inova Solutions

Customer satisfaction surveys make up one of the best ways to get real data about customer satisfaction from the customer's own words. But call center satisfaction surveys are notoriously hard to conduct, simply because many callers either can't or won't agree to be surveyed.

Getting useful metrics from a survey is difficult, especially when response rates are low: iSixSigma pointed out how when responses fall below 80 percent, they're subject to a bias of all the customers who naturally chose not to respond to them.

1. Quick questions, actual answers

"Keep questions short and sweet."

Phone calls are not the place for long, multipart questions with a half-dozen variations on the same theme. Keep questions short and sweet: "How would you rate us?" is five words. "What can we do to make your next experience better?" is ten. Nothing longer than that is necessary.

It's also a good idea to keep the phone surveys themselves short, because it's easy to make callers feel very inconvenienced by taking surveys. Phone surveys should have only perhaps a half dozen questions and take scarcely more than three to five minutes, with up to ten for the absolute longest surveys. It's already hard enough to get customers to start a survey, so making sure they finish is a crucial part of getting the data that a call center needs.

If a contact center needs more metrics than they can feasibly get from such a short selection of questions, it should consider rotating survey questions periodically, or even by caller. By switching out certain questions for others, a contact center can get responses to more questions without aggravating the customer.

2. Complexity confuses customers
Similar to the last point, phone surveys don't allow much room for intricacy. Ask the caller specific, pointed questions, and resist the urge to ask overly specific things: "On a scale of 1 to 12, how much noise was in your call?" is a meaningless question for the caller. How can they determine whether the call should have gotten a '7' or an '8'?

Instead, to ask about audio quality, ask a simple yes/no question: "Did your call have any audio quality issues?" if there weren't, a 'no' will suffice, but a 'yes' gives the caller an opportune moment to actually describe audio quality issues instead of determining where on a scale it lands.

Also, as useful they are to statisticians, a 10-point scale is simply too much detail for asking customers by phone. Ratings of '10' or '1' are far more in line with what call center management is interested in seeing. Instead, a 5-point scale, which is particularly widespread among customer reviews, lets the caller be much more pointed with their star feedback.

10-point scales get a 1-star review10-point scales get a 1-star review

As an analysis of user reviews on Yelp by software engineer Max Woolf pointed out, reviews are getting both more positive and more negative. Opinions are more extreme when it comes to measuring customer satisfaction. Perhaps a 3-point scale (satisfied, dissatisfied, neutral) would be even more in line with getting accurate customer metrics.

3. Rapid returns raise results
Getting a caller to take a customer satisfaction survey is difficult. Not all callers have time to take a survey at the end of a call. Many don't want to take a survey in the first place. Though it is good form to ask if they're willing to answer a post-call survey from the very beginning of a customer service call, plenty of customers don't have time to take them, even if they would be very much available to take them at another time.

The answer lies in scheduling a post-survey call. Surveying the customer in a second call after the experience is a valuable way to get useful customer data even if they're unavailable to take the survey right after the call.

Of course, it's very important to make sure the follow-up call happens only a short time after the initial call that prompted the survey. More than a couple days, and a customer will struggle to remember an experience with much clarity.

With these tips, it's easy to create a customer service survey that customers will want to give five stars to. By making the survey process as convenient and simple as possible for the customer, managers are more likely to get the specific data they're looking for.

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