5 Survey Questions You Need to Ask Customers After a Recent Experience

Customer Experience | Survey Design | PeopleMetrics LIVE

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Trusted Experience Management Partners

Your company is ready to build a customer-centric culture, and has committed to gathering and acting on customer feedback with a Voice of Customer program. Congratulations - that's fantastic! Now it's time to design your first customer survey.

In this session, we'll review the 5 questions you need to ask in your customer survey to get high response rates and actionable results that you can use right away to start improving customer experience at your organization.


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Madeline Good: Hi everyone, Welcome to PeopleMetrics LIVE! Today we're going to show you five survey questions you need to ask customers after a recent experience, so Sean before we dive into these five survey questions, I want to zoom out a little bit and talk about the post-transactional survey or the survey that you send to customers after a recent experience, can you tell us a little bit about why companies send post-transactional surveys and what the desired outcome is there? 

Sean Mcdade: Right, well, we've all received them right So after we've been on a phone call after we visit a hotel a store a restaurant almost any kind of scenario you can imagine, you know, you get one of these surveys, you know, immediately after that experience, or even perhaps even during the experience in some cases, right, so these surveys tend to be short, it's really as short as humanly possible to get the information you need, and they're quick to fill out but companies you do them for a couple different reasons, one they get an indication of whether you had a good or bad experience if you had a bad experience, they can follow up and reduce churn, and we've done people metrics live on responding to alerts, right, an alert might be triggered if somebody had a poor experience, so it's really acting on that result is really important and then there's a bunch of other I think use cases that I think, Audrey, people are low hanging fruit, that's, that people just don't realize that they can do with these surveys, we'll talk about a couple of them today, but it's really to act, the number one reason is to act on the feedback that to indicate and achieve a certain outcome or behaviour and then, there's like the need to get  NPS data to management, right, so these surveys tend to have net promoter scores, one of the questions management takes a look at those many companies, it's a KPI so that reaches the board room and they might be looking at that on a quarterly or monthly basis, so that's the other reason that, you know, I think these surveys get sent out, so often, 

Madeline: Yeah, and it's important to, you know, what I’m taking away from that is theirs, you know, different ways that different types of surveys like a relationship survey or any other kind of like market research longer form survey, where you might do a deeper dive but everything that you just mentioned, is really action-oriented right like around reducing churn and everything that you mentioned, so, thank you for that, that's a good just overview of what these surveys are about.  

Sean: So the problem with these surveys in general, though Madeleine, not everybody keeps that in mind right so, we've all received these and some of them are way too long some of them are mark people are trying to sneak market research longer form surveys into a post-transactional situation which is never a good idea, you know, they ask way more questions than they need to and I don't think they have a plan often or sometimes on what they're going to do with this information for each and every question, so what we're going to show today are five what we consider really key questions to have on any transactional survey, four of which I’m sure that you it's going to make sense and you're going to say yes maybe the fifth one is a little bit of a surprise, so we wanted to put out something that might be a little bit intriguing to you but all of them have some sort of actionable component to them and there's a true purpose for them and you know you could have a survey, right Audrey, with just these questions, and it would be a really solid post-transactional survey.  

Audrey Squaresky: Yeah, absolutely, I think Sean what you said is right that we often see where each department is trying to squeeze in questions about what they're particularly responsible for, and then, you end up having this disjointed survey that it's not a great experience for customers to take, and so you want to make sure that you remember that your survey is actually part of the overall customer experience that you're asking questions that make sense, you have to provide the opportunity to give feedback, but you don't have to ask about every tiny little thing that could have happened or might have happened, your respondents will make the effort to tell you what they want you to know. 

Sean: Definitely and that's a really great point around being part of the experience, and you know wholeheartedly agree on that and there's other venues to have a more deep, a deeper dive conversation with customers, like Madeline mentioned, the relationship survey is a great and venue to do that those tend to be 10 to 15 minutes, they're longer form they're a deep dive on the relationship, they're a deep dive on maybe competitive offerings that the customer may have experienced, you can compare yours to the competitors, there's an expectation on those longer surveys, that it's going to be longer sometimes, there's a sweepstake, sometimes there's an honorarium, there's no honorarium typically or sweepstakes in a post-transactional survey because it's supposed to be quick and short, right, so, you know, there we've done I think People Metrics live on relationship surveys in and I think they're on the YouTube channel somewhere, and they're all over my book “Listen or Die” if you want to read about relationship surveys, there's a good chapter or two on that. 

Madeline: All right, guys, are you ready to dive into the five questions?  

Sean: Yeah, let's do it! 

Madeline: Okay. 

Sean: So, the first question, this isn't a surprise, right Audrey, this is a question really that would be on any kind of experience-based survey to customers whether that be relationship or transactional, and you know, people would say, well, why are you including net promoter score which is a relationship question, there's no doubt, it is about the relationship you have with the customer, it's a cumulative measure we've done People Metrics live on net promoter score, there are two chapters in my book “Listen or Die” on this, but why do we always include these or almost always include these in post-transactional surveys,  

Audrey: There's a bunch of reasons, one is that it's a measure that everybody understands and you mentioned it in the beginning that this MPS is a KPI that  reaches the board room, so one is that you need to continually measure it to see how it's changing over time, to see what you might need to do and how your customers are reacting, another reason is that you can look at individual  NPS scores over time, so if I had three separate interactions with your company over a period of time, my MPS might change based on those interactions and you want to know that, maybe I had one bad experience, but  my MPS I’m still a promoter but after my second bed experience my MPS drops and that's something that's important so to be able to look at that over time, is really valuable and the other thing is we know people don't like MPS, we hurt we've heard that, but it's been shown to reduce churn and is a useful tool when looking at your customer experience data and so we highly recommend that you use it as sort of a table stake measurement at this point and it can be used to benchmark against other like companies, so you can see how you measure up against your competition. 

Madeline: Hi! It's Madeline, thanks for joining us for People Metrics LIVE! If this is your first-time watching People Metrics live is a weekly live webinar session where experts from our team answer your questions about customer employee and patient experience measurement and management, and sometimes we show you how you can achieve your goals using tools within our experience management platform. We've been doing this for over two decades now, and this is a great way for us to share all of our knowledge with you. You can sign up for upcoming sessions of People Metrics Live at www.peoplemetrics.com events and bring a friend! 

Sean: Right, I mean I have a chapter in “Listen or die”, that's basically titled I believe, you know, you might not like net promoter score, but you have to use it anyway, right like, it's just the standard it doesn't hurt you, yeah, is there a better question to use potentially but it doesn't matter because the value of this, because of the comparisons to other companies to the familiarity with people in the boardroom the CEO then you know the c-suite you just need to use it, and customers are also used to this question, they don't usually make mistakes on it which is another really key point, like they're not going to be messed up by the scale and, you know, you throw that in as the first question in the survey, in your email invitation which we've done at People Metrics Live on two, you'll get a bump in response rate if this is the first question in your survey and it literally sits in your email invite, it's a great way to start a post-transactional survey, people are familiar with it, that they'll get going and often we'll put a why after this one too, right, Audrey,  like an open-ended question potentially.  

Audrey: Yeah, this is a good place to put an open end to get some more information about why they're recommending you or not and what they what they're finding.  

Sean: and for people who haven't been on our past people metrics lives or aren't familiar with net promoter score just real quick net promoter scores are those customers who indicate 9 or a 10 on this question, they're considered promoters, they're very likely to recommend, and the people who are considered detractors, are those that indicate very unlikely to recommend and that's measured by zero to six on the scale, and the net promoter score which is why it's called a net promoter, is it's the nines and tens minus the zero to sixes, so it's the promoters minus the detractors get a net promoter score that can range from negative 100, so if everybody, every single customer that you have, indicates zero to six in terms of recommending which is very bad, that could be negative 100 or everybody would say nines or tens, that would be positive 100. Usually, it's between 20 and 60. Great scores are above 80, you know, you do see some scores in the zeros range negative little negative, that's a very you know poor experience typically but it's something that you know, people are going to recognize this score and it's a good thing to calculate immediately and there might be an alert triggered off this, right Audrey, often we do trigger an alert off this question.  

Audrey: Yeah, definitely, when respondents are detractors meaning they scored between zero and six, we often trigger an alert to say, hey, you might want to check out what's going on with this person, they seem unhappy.  

Sean: So, this is just a great way to start, this is one of the five questions you should ask without a doubt, it's easy, you can check the box and you can move on. Alright, so this is a really important question on post-transactional surveys about them, a recent experience, right, so you're asking net promoter score which is great, and that's an overall relationship question, would you recommend this second question is specifically about the experience they just had, whether that's a phone call with a with a support agent, whether that's a visit to a store check outing, checking out of a hotel you know finishing a meal, whatever it is, this is about that experience, and the reason why it's important to have both of these, is you know you could have a customer who has a pretty good overall relationship with you, they might recommend you, might be very likely to but they may have had an experience just recently that's poor, and you want to be able to nip that in the bud, so as Audrey said, the next time you ask them about net promoter score, they don't go from a promoter to a detractor, because a lot of net promoter score, it's a lagging indicator in many ways, so, you know, they're waiting to see if you've made things right in a lot of cases and if they have a really poor most recent experience, you can make that right on a post-transactional survey by calling up the customer or contacting the customer in some way, to understand what happened, and provide something, it doesn't have to be a monetary something, it can be a sorry something, it can be a you know what, Audrey, other like incentives to come back something right or…  

Audrey: A discount or incentive or it, I mean, I think oftentimes even though just we're really sorry this happened the acknowledgment, it is valuable just that recovery experience is an experience, right, that's an opportunity like you were saying to bring someone's perception back into a more positive light overall. 

Madeline: Did you know that you can watch past sessions of People Metrics Live right here on our YouTube channel, all you have to do is click the link above, be sure to check them out for answers to dozens of questions along with stories tips, short tutorials and best practices from our team of experts. You can click the bottom right corner of this video to subscribe to our channel, so you never miss an update. 

Sean: So, we may ask why here too, and Audrey, often we might just ask why is an open-ended question, right, and we don't have these as part of our five these are kind of follow-up questions to the core question, so if we had a post-transactional survey, we might only ask one open end right from these first two 

Audrey: Yeah, one or the other depending on you know, what the goal of the survey is and where it makes the most sense for each individual client but yeah, just you don't need to ask why after every single question, just after one of these will get you what you need.  

Sean: So, if we were in a relationship survey, we absolutely 100 of the time would ask why after NPS. That would be like that's not optional, that's what you do for transactional surveys, I think more often than not we'll ask the why after the recent experience if we're going to choose simply because we're trying to get more information on that most recent experience for follow-up. 

Audrey: Exactly, yeah, and that's why this recent experience question is so important. I mean this really gets at the crux of what was, what just happened and you know what we need to know about it so that's what I mean here.  

Sean: Here's an example, let's say you had a poor experience with a support agent on that you called to have a question about your bill, right, you may get a net promoter score and you're still very lucky to very likely to recommend this company, and if you get an open end on that, you can start talking about all the things that you've gone through This company has provided let's say its insurance company this provided this company's provided quick claims I’ve been with them forever, I feel like you know, they're part of my support network, I feel safe because I have this insurance, all this stuff. But if you ask it after that the opening after the most recent experience, you can say you might say something like the agent was not knowledgeable, they didn't understand my situation, they weren't empathetic to you know to how long I’ve been with the company uh with your company and I was really disappointed in this experience, you might get two very different open ends which is why if it's open-ended responses. so, if it's what if it's if that's really what you're looking to do and on most post-transactional services it is a follow-up from the most recent experience, I’d you know the open end and if you want to keep it short which we do recommend it comes after. Audrey, this is a favourite of yours. Why don't you take this one? 

Audrey: Look, you have to ask: did you experience a problem and there are different ways to word it but that's what you want to know in this interaction, in your recent transaction, was there an issue that needs to be addressed, and if the person says no, then great, we can move on, we don't have to ask any follow-up questions, if there was a problem then we need more information, right, we need to know what happened category, did your problem fall into, you know, was it related to the check-in experience or the checkout or room service or the restaurant or the cleanliness what you know what was it related to and then give us more information, this is a good place to put an open end, so we can find out exactly what happened. Sometimes we asked whether the problem was resolved or not, we just want more information if you did have a problem, if you didn’t, we asked quick: did you have it yes or no, if it's no, you can move, right, on, it's just for those people that did have a problem it's really important that you find out exactly what happened so that you can figure out the best way to address it. 

Sean: Yeah, I mean this is a really important question for service recovery, right, and categorization of where the what was the root cause of the recovery problem, right, and you know this is the heart, I think, of post-transactional surveys, it gets at kind of a lot of metrics that you can start calculating, right, so you can start calculating what percentage of our experience is worth, did was there a problem that occurred, right and you want to have that as low as possible and that's a number that you can compare month over month, quarter of a quarter, you can break that down if you have locations you can start comparing for say bank branches, what branches are experiencing the fewest problems, which ones are experiencing the highest percentage of problems, you can really start to pinpoint, you know, who's performing well, and who isn't and then you can really get into okay what's going on and what happened so when you follow up with that customer, you have a really good idea of what triggered that issue and this cascades up to these first two questions most likely if someone has a problem, their recent experience isn't good, that's often the case right these are highly correlated, and it may even bleed into  NPS too, if it's a big enough issue, NPS also might be affected, so here's one, number four here's another question we would always recommend to ask and this is sort of the opposite of problem, right Audrey, like everybody thinks about we got to get to the problem but what about getting to the exceptional experience which, you know, you're probably delivering more often than not problems, should not be a high percentage, I mean, they should be way under 10 of your interactions, you know, close under 5 ideally, recognize means: did anyone that the customer interacted with go above and beyond in their recent experience, these are typically people who go above and beyond, and if there is someone just like in the last question problem, we would ask a few follow-up questions like who was it, do you remember their name and what did they do to go above and beyond if nobody did go above and beyond, somebody says no and they just move on. It's quick. 

Madeline: Our founder and CEO Sean wrote an amazing book about customer experience management called “Listen or Die 40” lessons that turn customer feedback into gold. It's a deep dive into best practices for CX measurement and management strategy based on Sean's years of experience in space and you can easily read it front to back on an airplane ride. Pick up your copy today and it's available now on Amazon! 

Sean: So, Audrey this is one of our favourite questions right for a few reasons, right?  

Audrey: Yeah, so definitely, the opposite end of the spectrum from the problem but it's still so important. It's just such a good opportunity to hear positive stories from about interactions, it's an opportunity for you to recognize staff members or employees after they've been called out by your customers, you can turn around and say hey we got this great story from a customer, now I know that this, you did this for them or you had this interaction with them, that left such a positive lasting impression, so great way to recognize employees and then also a great way to know who of your customers are having really good experiences, that you can reach out to and say I’m so happy, you had this great experience, you know, would you be willing to leave us a review here, would you be willing to participate in a testimonial or just other opportunities open up when you know about these positive experiences.  

Madeline: And you probably get some great surprises on this question of things that you know we talk about in People Metrics Live a lot about, intentionally creating experiences, and there might be some that, you know, someone the way that a certain employee acts when they're empowered off of your values, they act a certain way and it really wows a customer, it could be some new ideas for things to weave into your experience. 

Sean: Yeah, I mean, there are so many layers to this question, it's true, Madeline, you're learning about the lighters that you may not even have realized, you're learning about, who your best people really are not based on politics or other nonsense, but based on what the customer thinks of the experience they're getting, and you're also getting kind of what are the characteristics of the people that we want to hire in the future that is truly delighting customers, you know, there's all of these benefits from this question and we've even had clients, Audrey, right, create like a little award from this like the top three people who got the most recognized, the recognition you know results or recognition these get some sort of award at the end of the year and that's a really inexpensive way to boost employee engagement and re-emphasize the right behaviours. 

Madeline: Totally, yeah, and that really is that you know the customer-centricity that we all are after right when we're doing CX is when you've got your people and your employees hearing from the customer in those positive ways, it really can connect them to that experience. 

Sean: You know what else, Madeline, like the problem is so important and look we understand that's the crux and you want to save customers and that delivers ROI to programs like this but you know some of the problems are going to be with your people, right, it just is a reality and those people are going to be a lot more responsive to hearing this customer feedback, if it's balanced by this positive feedback from the recognition alerts, it should not this should not be a beat down exercise, it should be something that is about creating a better customer experience, right, and yeah you might have some employees that need that might not be a great fit because the customer feedback that you're getting isn't what it should be. But for most of your people, I mean, they're human, they're going to make mistakes sometimes, they're going to hear feedback, they're going to get better on, but if you can give them also the feedback around, how great they've done with certain customers, they're going to just be more willing to, you know, change to create that experience and be customer-centric like what it what everybody wants. Because customer-centricity is a lot about your people, it's all about your people, you know, it doesn't really matter what product you have even if you don't have a product that you have your people facing customers, you still have people creating software, you still have people doing, you know, whatever your product is, it's created by people, even if it's AI Somebody created the AI, so that AI delivers something to customers, so having you know understanding that is really important, and I’m a big fan of this isn't even optional to me you would have to a client would really have to fight us to not have this on here, right, Audrey? 

Audrey: Yeah, recognizing can just be really motivating and it's such a good opportunity to include the positive and disseminate it within your organization.  

Sean: And it doesn't take a lot of time. It's a quick question. Alright, this is the last one, this is kind of the one that you the first four you may have even heard us talk about before in other People Metrics Lives but this one is one that I think is really interesting and it just shows you what, how, like customer experience feedback is so different than say market research, where it is truly an actionable program that gets business results, that's what customer experience feedback should be, and there's a question that we often ask for our clients and that to their customers or clients and that is are you interested in any additional products or services and it's just simply a list of additional products or services that our client offers that customer or client might not be, might not know about, and if they check that box, it simply goes to the sales team as a lead that they can follow up on or the account management team however you're structured.  

Audrey: Yeah, this is just a way to say hey these people might be interested in these things, let's check in with them and give them some more information, and so, you're able to take this opportunity to get all the information, you need from your other questions and find out is there anything else they might be interested in. Now we can hide this question if somebody had a really terrible experience and you don't think, it's appropriate to ask if you're a detractor who had a really bad recent experience and had a problem, maybe we're not going to ask them but somebody who had a good experience, who was recognizing somebody, who you know is overall happy with their interaction with you, wants to hear about some additional products or services that you have, and this is a good way for you to gather that information.  

Madeline: And you can build awareness as well, right, like some people might not know about certain products or services that you offer so this is a great awareness opportunity as well.  

Audrey: Yeah! 

Madeline: All right, well, thank you, guys, for walking us through this list of questions, just a great way to see everything at once and get some examples of how people use this, and can use this when they're asking questions after a recent experience we are at time here, so I want to thank you both for taking us through these questions, I hope that this has been a valuable conversation for everyone, we've got on the line today and I’ll make sure that when this goes up on our YouTube channel, we include a link to download that list of questions that we shared!  

And on behalf of everyone here at PeopleMetrics, thank you for joining us for PeopleMetrics Live! If you like this video, make sure to subscribe right here, so you never miss an update, and have you checked out other sessions of people metrics live yet, you can click right here to watch them all, I’ll see you there!  

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Posted on 05-27-2021