Improving the ecommerce experience for the 4 core journey stages

A recent Walker eCommerce study reveals that by 2020, customer experience will emerge as a leading ecommerce brand differentiator.

Brands will have to differentiate themselves not based on price and product (as they have in the past), but rather on the experience that they provide to customers in both their physical and online retail stores.

Creating the exceptional customer experience needed to succeed in today’s competitive retail environment is only possible through relevant, memorable, and meaningful touchpoints delivered by omnichannel buying experiences.

Ecommerce is an essential component of any omnichannel approach and enhances the buying experience with its inherent convenience and ability to quickly adapt to consumer demands.

Natively digital, ecommerce offers a brand fluidity that a purely brick and mortar business cannot. Digital storefronts can be easily built with, and around tools that collect customer insights and data, arming eCommerce brands with the information needed to better serve their customers.

Not only has eCommerce made retail purchases more accessible, but it has also disrupted the traditional, linear, retail buyer’s journey and has transformed it into a more complicated series of touchpoints.

In order to succeed in this new world of omnichannel retail, brands need to make sure that they are providing exceptional customer experience during each stage of the buying process:

  1. Acquisition
  2. Shopping
  3. Post-purchase
  4. Ongoing customer engagement (pre and post-purchase)

Below, we explore each one of the above phases and examine what retailers can do to measure and enhance the customer experience.

Improving CX for the acquisition phase

Evidence shows that many consumers like to research products and brands online as the first step of their journey before making a purchase.

Retailers with a strong online presence can acquire more customers if their website is easily discoverable, simple to navigate, and — most importantly — mobile-friendly.

That last point is huge. If your site is not mobile-friendly, then you will not only lose customers, but you will create a negative brand image. To put this into perspective, let’s explore a few key statistics:

  • 49 percent of consumers use their mobile phones to complete online purchases.
  • A better screen resolution (i.e. get rid of those fuzzy product photos) will result in orders that are at least $1.18 higher in value.
  • 61 percent of all U.S. consumers use mobile devices to compare prices when shopping at brick and mortar locations.
  • 79 percent of U.S. adults have made an online purchase.

The last two statistics emphasize the importance of not only creating a mobile-friendly website, but also delivering a seamless experience between your online retail and physical stores. Improving your online presence is made easier with a few key strategies.

Improve site navigation

First, make sure your site’s search bar is easy to find and use. Don’t forget, consumers are typing on smaller devices and often using voice commands. If the search bar isn’t intuitive, then prospective customers will simply jump ship to your competitors.

Next, make sure that the top navigation is streamlined and leads to relevant pages. Nothing is worse than having to visit multiple pages on a mobile device just to find the product that you’re looking to purchase. A good rule of thumb is that consumers should be able to find the answers to their product searches in three clicks or fewer.

Support shoppers instantly with conversational commerce

If you are considering using a conversational eCommerce (i.e. live chat) feature, then make sure that it’s incorporated seamlessly onto your site and is simple to use. Most mobile users have pop-up ads blocked, which means that a site with a persistent live chatbot could be distracting to your customers or prevent them from navigating to the page they want.

One way around this potential challenge is to introduce the live chat as part of your Contact Us or Help pages. In the latter instances, consumers will be happy to discover that their answers can be immediately answered.

In fact, a recent study found that live chat (when used appropriately) had a consumer satisfaction rating of 92 percent. If you are on the fence about using live chat, then you can always test it, and pair it with a link survey to get customer feedback on the experience.

Collect website feedback

Web and in-app surveys are a great way to gather real-time feedback as customers are interacting with your website. Use Customer Effort Score (CES), Thumbs, or Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) surveys to understand how well you’re helping customers fulfill their needs as they use your site.

Survey results can also factor into A/B split testing and conversion testing decisions as you implement new strategies to improve the browsing experience for your customers.

Increasing conversions during the shopping phase

So, what happens after a prospective customer successfully discovers your site? Chances are that after browsing for a while, they will fill, then abandon their virtual shopping cart.

Abandoned carts are the bane of every retailer. Unfortunately, the rate of abandoned shopping carts is 75.52%, resulting in $2-$4 trillion in lost revenue every year.

Overcome this challenge by evaluating the quality of the customer experience provided. Do this by asking yourself the following:

  • Is it easy for your customers to make a payment?
  • If the customer has an account, is the payment information securely stored to expedite the checkout experience?
  • Do you reassure customers regarding the security of their payments?
  • Do you send reminder emails when a user signs out without emptying their shopping cart?
  • Have you implemented discount strategies?
  • Is it easy for customers to apply discount codes before they hit final checkout? In other words, do you entice customers by letting them know just how much they will save?

If you answered “no” to any of these questions, then you have a good starting point for improving the shopping experience to reduce cart abandonment.

Use customer feedback to improve the conversion process

If you answered “yes” to the questions above, but are still faced with a high percentage of abandoned shopping carts, then you might want to use a CES feedback survey.

A CES feedback survey is a great way to discover specific customer pain points. Ask them to rate how easy the checkout process was for them, and let them tell you why. Once you have more insights into the challenges that they face, you can more easily implement actionable solutions that create an improved experience.

Enhance the post-purchase support phase

Providing an excellent customer experience shouldn’t stop after a sale is completed. Customers want to receive purchase confirmation emails and notifications. They want to be alerted when their orders are packaged and shipped.

Finally, they want the reassurance that their packages have been delivered (which is exactly why Amazon Prime sends photo notifications of delivery to their consumers). In addition, customer support is essential for providing exceptional customer experience.

Customer support is arguably the most important aspect of the post-purchase phase. To enhance customer support, you can do the following:

  • Have a 24/7 customer support team.
  • Make it easy to contact your customer support team via phone, email, live chat, and even social media.
  • Respond to social media posts that ask for support by directing them to the phone, email, or live chat services.
  • Create self-serve support channels where customers can ask their fellow shoppers questions, post reviews, and create a community of loyal brand ambassadors.

The key to customer support is to remember that all it takes is one viral bad review to sink your company. If you feel like you are doing everything right, but still failing to produce the desired customer support results, then you can always use a customer feedback survey.

Collect support feedback with CES or CSAT surveys

Customer feedback surveys are a great way to understand what your customers expect after they have clicked the purchase button. Most importantly, surveys are a great way to show your customers that you care about improving your services, and delivering the optimal experience every time they consider purchasing a product.

CES and CSAT surveys are the two most-used survey types for improving support — you can read more about which type of survey to choose in our NPS vs CSAT vs CES guide.

Ongoing customer engagement

Ongoing customer engagement is the final component of the retail journey. Customers want to purchase from brands that produce rich, audience-focused content — preferably with a consistent message and story woven throughout.

Crafting your brand’s story is about more than coming up with a company mission and value statement. An effective story must instead focus on customers and ensuring that every consumer of your goods or services feels valued. Therefore, eCommerce retailers need to focus on creating personalized content that resonates with their customers or prospective customers both before and after a purchase is made.

Just as streaming platforms do a great job of recommending new movies to watch, so too should your eCommerce efforts create personalized suggestions for your customers. These personalized suggestions should include the content that you deliver to their inbox, the promotions that you send in-app, and the landing pages that they see when they log into your site.

At scale, this is no easy feat. Companies who do it well incorporate AI and machine learning into their marketing strategies. But, it all starts with understanding your customer, figuring out what their mindset is at each stage of the customer journey, and then building the systems necessary to deliver the right content at the right time.

Gain the insights needed to deliver the optimal eCommerce customer experience

The more time that customers spend shopping, the more they expect to have exceptional and personalized experiences. The good news is that Delighted can give you the insights that you need to create an integrated, personalized, and positive customer experience that increases sales, improves the lifetime value of your customers and produces loyal brand ambassadors.

Sign up for a Delighted free trial to send 250 surveys for free and discover the customer data that you need to create the optimal eCommerce customer experience.

Delighted's retail customer experience guide for 2020 and beyond

Historically, the backbone of retail has been predicated around selling goods from a physical location. In the pre-internet days, department, warehouse, discount, big box, and mom-and-pop stores were where consumers would purchase goods for personal use.

Retail customer experience was predicated around these physical elements and touchpoints: Are the employees helpful? Does the store carry the products customers are looking for? Does their return policy make it easy for customers to easily exchange the product if it doesn’t match expectations?

However, the world of retail is evolving. Enhancements in technology have led to the growth of eCommerce, making it easier than ever before for businesses to sell retail goods online and across the globe. In light of this, retail customer experience has also evolved. Customer experience must now be consistent across all touchpoints to ensure customer needs are being met wherever customers choose to interact with your brand.

In this guide, we dive into all aspects of the retail journey and provide some practical tips for improving the retail customer experience at each customer touchpoint.

First, let’s define the retail space and how it has evolved.

What is retail?

Retail is when a business sells a product or service to an individual consumer for personal use. Although a retail sale can occur through a variety of channels such as brick and mortar (physical store), online, direct email, in-app, and more, what qualifies the transaction as retail is that the product’s end-user is the buyer.

From clothing stores to auto parts, there are an estimated 3.7 million retail businesses employing nearly 42 million people in the United States alone.

Traditional retail categories include:

  • Hardlines: appliances, cars, furniture
  • Softgoods: clothing, shoes, toiletries
  • Food: meat, dairy, produce, specialty foods
  • Technology: tablets, computers, gadgets

Omnichannel retail makes products and services more accessible

Brick and mortar, or digital? For 2020 and beyond, the answer is both. Successful retail brands will outpace their competition by reaching customers with both physical and digital presences.

In light of this, many traditional brick and mortar brands have taken an omnichannel approach to retail. Retail powerhouses are now harnessing the power of eCommerce and app-based marketplaces to serve their new-age customers and make their products and brand as accessible as possible.

Conversely, some retailers who’ve built themselves completely online are now creating in-person brick and mortar shopping experiences. Indochino, for example, was very successful as an online fashion marketplace. According to their CEO Kyle Vucko, Indochino’s decision to open physical stores was based largely on measuring customer feedback.

As we explore further in this guide, an omnichannel strategy is imperative for growing any retail business, however, managing more customer touchpoints can reveal some unique customer experience challenges.

The current state of retail 2019: customer experience reimagined

Retail apocalypse or opportunity for change?

According to the Washington Post, 75,000 brick and mortar stores are expected to close by 2026. Is this the end for retail? Not quite. Albeit a transition period, some experts are calling this a necessary purge for the industry, in that the brands who survive it will be more reflective of the experiences that customers want when shopping.

“This is a healthy cleansing for the retail industry,” said John D. Morris, senior brand apparel analyst for financial services firm D.A. Davidson. “We’re in the middle of a multiyear retail purge. Companies are finding that when it comes to stores, less is more.”

Moreover, in a paper published by Deloitte, the consulting firm ever-so fittingly renamed this “retail apocalypse” to the “retail renaissance.” The basis for this renaissance? Improving customer experience at every brand touchpoint, seamlessly integrating the best of eCommerce, brick and mortar, and experiential retail experiences.

As we’ll continue to explore, successful retail brands have pivoted a lot of their efforts towards listening to their customers and taking action to ensure that every aspect of the omnichannel retail experience is optimized by their feedback. Thus, many retailers are investing resources in the following areas:

  • Methods for listening to and collecting customer feedback
  • Experiential retailing
  • New technology for both digital and brick and mortar storefronts
  • Customer loyalty and retention

Components of retail customer experience and measuring sentiment across all channels

Tracking and measuring customer feedback at each point of omnichannel retail can be done with the help of a modern customer experience solution.

Measuring digital retail CX

Digital retail is all about convenience. Successful digital retailing puts the consumer in total control of their journey.

At its core, digital retail is a series of connected web or app experiences that allow consumers to interact with your brand, uncover more information, conduct product research, and — depending on what your business sells — make a purchase.

Digital retail can look different across many industries. Web experiences for businesses that sell clothing, home goods, and other easy-to-ship commodities can often vary in comparison to companies that sell more complicated-to-purchase products like cars.

Measuring CX during a customer’s digital journey can be done with a few different survey methodologies:

Net Promoter Score (NPS): This measures the loyalty of your customers by asking them how likely they are to recommend your brand, product, or service. Identifying who the promoters of your business are can help influence marketing, sales, and other business decisions.

Customer Satisfaction (CSAT): This method helps brands understand how satisfied customers are with your company, or products and services provided. CSAT surveys are useful for making product enhancements when satisfaction scores for some products or services trend low (i.e. shoes didn’t fit after using the online sizing chart).

Customer Effort Score (CES): Customer effort is a key driver of customer satisfaction and loyalty. Customer effort measures the difficulty (effort) for your customers to accomplish their sought out intent. Basically, CES can provide information like:

  • The online checkout process was too slow
  • Virtual support reps were hard to contact and they took too long to solve my ticket
  • It was too hard to return an item

These survey methods are typically delivered via web, email, SMS text, and link.

When it comes to online retail, speed is everything. Consumers want to be able to quickly access the information needed for them to make a purchase — either on your site or in person. This includes the ability to compare prices, styles, delivery dates, and suggestions for future or related products — all in a simple to use web presence.

The only way to know if your company is successfully doing this is to consistently collect feedback from your customers at every stage of their digital journey.

Measuring brick and mortar CX

Remember the CX methodologies listed above? Those same feedback collection strategies can also apply to physical retail stores. That said, there are a few survey delivery methods that are suited for in-store feedback. We’ll take a quick look at each one and how they can be used in a retail setting.

Kiosk

A survey kiosk is designed to capture customer feedback quickly and painlessly. Customers can leave in-person feedback in a matter of seconds with an easy-to-navigate interface, typically loaded on a large touch screen or portable tablet. Most modern survey kiosks are customizable and allow retailers to ask questions relevant to the business objectives they’re trying to address.

The biggest benefit of using a survey kiosk in a brick-and-mortar environment is that feedback can be collected before your customers exit your store. The ability to instantly leave an opinion makes consumers more inclined to share their sentiment, as it has a lower barrier to action compared to other survey methods.

Email

Email is another popular method for brick and mortar retailers to solicit feedback from their customers. While kiosk has an incredibly low barrier to completion, email requires retailers to collect their customers’ emails at some point during their shopping journey. There are a few ways to do just that:

  • Collect it digitally. Customer or potential customer emails can be captured digitally by encouraging customers to sign up for newsletters and rewards programs. An email can also be collected when a customer makes an online purchase or requests more information. Although the email addresses have been collected digitally, brick-and-mortar stores using an omnichannel approach can cross-reference customers’ email addresses when an in-store purchase is made.
  • Collect it in person. Many retailers encourage customers to share their email address in-person after a purchase is made. They do this by incentivizing customers with discounts for their current or upcoming purchases and rewards programs.

While collecting feedback may not be as instantaneous as a survey kiosk, some benefits of using email to deliver a survey include:

  • Optimal timing — some consumers need time to use the product consistently to leave an accurate review of it.
  • Deeper customer segmentation — unlike kiosks, which often gather feedback anonymously, emails are tied to a specific customer record. You’ll be able to understand how that customer’s feedback fits into the context of their experience — what they purchased, how they purchased it, and how long they’ve been a customer.
  • Easy to collect a referral in addition to feedback — after a survey is completed by email, retailers then have the option to ask and incentivize promoters to refer their friends or family to their company by integrating a tool like FriendBuy with their CX platform.

Link

Distributing CX surveys by link is by far the most flexible method of delivery in that you can add a survey link to almost any customer touchpoint, both physically and digitally. For retail stores, survey links are usually added to things like receipts, posters, or in-store displays. While this is in fact a viable way to distribute a survey, some retail customers may find typing a link on a receipt and pulling up a corresponding landing page to give feedback too much effort.

Tying your survey link to a QR code, however, can make your survey more accessible. By using a QR code, retail customers can use their smartphones to scan the code and instantly pull up your business’s survey. Pair that accessibility with some incentivization and customers will be inclined to leave feedback at the point of sale or shortly after.

Measuring CX delivered by employees

Employees are the backbone of the retail industry. Whether your brand operates entirely online, or with a combination of digital and physical marketplaces, the human element of retail is essential for success.

Keeping tabs on how employees influence customer experience may seem quite the undertaking for some retailers. That said, measuring the relationship between customer experience provided by employees and customer satisfaction can be done more easily than you think and with the same survey methodologies and delivery mechanisms noted above. For example:

CSAT: a method to gain insight into how satisfied your customers are with the service provided by an employee. “On a scale from 1-5, please tell us how satisfied you are with the help provided by Sharon. Why did you give this rating?”

Thumbs: a binary method to capture whether or not help provided by an employee was satisfactory or not. Thumbs up: Sharon was great. Thumbs down: Sharon’s help was less than satisfactory.

5-star: collect feedback on an employee by asking customers to rate his/her performance in a quick, familiar way. “How would you rate the help provided by Sharon?”

Smileys: gain instant insight into customer sentiment with a universally understood method for gathering experience feedback. “How satisfied were you with the support provided today by Sharon?”

Collecting feedback on your employees from customers can be done by delivering these surveys via the distribution method that makes the most sense for your business. Here are some tips:

  • If purchases can only be made in-person at your store, then we recommend using a survey kiosk to collect feedback. In the spirit of transparency, encourage employees to ask these customers to rate them after a purchase is completed.
  • Conversely, if you run a digital-only marketplace where customers only interact with your employees in a support capacity, your survey distribution method should match that. Web, email, and possibly SMS are your best options for collecting feedback.
  • If your brand has both brick and mortar and digital marketplaces then selecting a survey delivery method should combine the efforts of both bullets above.

Make sure your employees are aware that customers will be surveyed about their interactions with them. That said, businesses should allocate time to train retail employees on best practices and give them tips on creating a positive experience for all customers — even the more difficult ones.

Trends on improving retail customer experience

Put people, their experiences, and their needs first. This is and will continue to be the biggest trend for retailers trying to improve customer experience and brand perception. Although this may seem counterintuitive considering how digital-heavy an omnichannel approach to retail is, today’s customers, much like those of the past, will expect brands to meet their expectations during every aspect of their shopping journey.

Stay human

“The future of retail CX is human,” says the title of Denise Lee Yohn’s article in Forbes. Becoming more human requires retailers to listen to their customers and collect data on their perception of what’s working and what’s not across all channels: digital, brick and mortar, support, and employee interaction.

The only way to ensure that you’re providing a human element to consumers is to gather customer data at each aspect of the retail journey. While the use of data to make the customer experience more human may seem counterintuitive, the insight you collect can help address specific customer needs and demonstrates that your brand is listening to them.

In fact, listening to your customers digitally and in-person is essential to the success of your business. Using a CX platform to ask your customers the right questions, at the right time, is a wonderful first step to establishing an open dialogue. CX surveys can identify both positive and negative customer sentiment and provide the insight needed for retailers to have personal follow-up conversations with their customers.

Upgrade your tech stack

Technology gives retail customers more access to product, company, and competitor information than ever before. In fact, 89 percent of retail customers said having access to real-time product availability information would influence their shopping choices in terms of which stores they would frequent.

Although the use of technology may seem impersonal, integrating the right tech into your business can make it easier to have the “more human” conversations mentioned above. A few tools that retailers can easily deploy to make omnichannel shopping experiences more personal include:

The right technology can personalize retailer-customer interactions. Deciding which tools to use begins with listening to your customers and acting on feedback to identify the best-fit solutions for your business.

Start listening to your customers today with a free trial from Delighted. Delighted is built to deliver everything retailers need to kick off a world-class customer experience program today.

Introducing Delighted Kiosk: Collect feedback anywhere

Delighted Kiosk, our newest survey experience, collects point-of-service customer feedback at physical retail locations in real-time. Like the rest of Delighted’s customer experience products, Kiosk features simple setup and easily syncs with your existing Delighted account and dashboard, so all of your customer feedback is in one place.

A complete survey experience, Delighted Kiosk joins our portfolio of survey methods (web, SMS text, email, link) as a purpose-built iOS app for iPad. Delighted Kiosk is an end-to-end way to gather feedback from customers in your physical locations or when you are out in the field.

With Delighted Kiosk, you can survey customers via the method of your choice: NPS, CSAT, CES, Thumbs, Smileys, and 5-Star. Moreover, the Delighted Kiosk is totally customizable and supports up to 10 additional questions, helping your team capture the insights you need most.

Optimized for high completion rates, our customers are already using Delighted Kiosk to gather actionable in-person feedback. Wild Fork Foods, for example, uses Delighted Kiosk in their stores to collect customer insights in real-time. The ability to easily deliver these surveys and the speed at which customers can complete them make Delighted Kiosk a perfect value-add to any retail CX efforts.

“We are on a mission to transform the way our customers shop and eat their proteins. That’s why customer feedback is at the top of our brand values. With the Delighted Kiosk platform, we are able to capture real-time, in-store feedback from our customers and implement any suggestions or service fixes quickly!“

— Jonathan Zuniga, Customer Experience Manager at Wild Fork Foods

Survey Kiosks collect feedback anywhere

Delighted Kiosk makes it easier than ever to collect feedback in physical retail locations and in-person experiences. With Kiosk, consumers don’t need to scan a code, save a receipt, or go to a website on their own device. All they need is a few seconds with Delighted Kiosk to share their feedback.

What this means is that you’ll be able to see that feedback, positive or negative, and flag team members in real-time to implement suggestions and fixes on the spot.

Delighted Kiosk is an easy-to-deploy iPadOS app that captures customer feedback quickly and painlessly with a user-friendly survey experience.

Here’s a breakdown of Kiosk survey features:

  • Deploy Kiosk in multiple locations with their own unique Properties to make analyzing the feedback super powerful.
  • Quickly connect to our Kiosk survey with a simple code or by scanning your unique survey QR code.
  • Automatic reset to the initial rating question after survey completion or 10 seconds of inactivity, so the survey kiosk is always ready for the next customer.
  • A branded survey experience with your logo and colors.
  • A front-and-center initial rating question to catch your customers’ attention. Delighted supports 37+ languages, which means you could collect feedback worldwide.
  • An open-ended follow-up question so customers can explain their rating. If you have Additional Questions enabled, you’ll be able to add up to 10 multiple choice, free response, or scale questions.
  • A customizable Thank You page.
  • Partial response capture, so you don’t lose any feedback from half-completed surveys.

Kiosk is perfect for restaurants, cafes, coffee shops, retail stores, retail finance, spas, salons — practically anywhere that can benefit from collecting customer insight in person and immediately after a service has been received.

Delighted Kiosk can be set up on counters, carried by tour guides, or mounted near store entrances for easy access.

How to set up a Delighted Kiosk survey

Set up a survey Kiosk all by yourself in minutes with the Delighted platform (no extra engineering or design resources needed)!

Start using Kiosk in a few easy steps:

  1. Select the type of survey you want to use (Kiosk works with any of our six survey types, including Additional Questions).
  2. Select Kiosk as your survey delivery method.
  3. Name your Kiosk and add properties like store location, so you can easily segment and analyze any incoming feedback.
  4. Download the Kiosk app from the iOS App Store to your iPad or tablet.
  5. Provision the Kiosk by scanning a QR code or sending a link to the store.

For more detailed information on setting up your survey kiosk, check out the Help Center guide.

No matter how large your business, Delighted helps you manage and collect all of your kiosks from one easy-to-use platform. When used with other survey delivery methods, you’ll be able to capture feedback for every step of your customer’s journey.

Get started with Kiosk surveys today

New to Delighted? Take Delighted Kiosk for a test drive by signing up for a free 1-week trial. With this trial, you can put Delighted to the test by surveying up to 250 customers via the survey method (web, SMS, Email, Link, Kiosk) of your choice! In addition, you’ll get to test out Delighted’s easy-to-navigate dashboard and explore real-time feedback from your customers.

For existing customers, Delighted’s Kiosk survey feature is available in $224+ plans.

4 case studies to prove the value of Net Promoter Score

The value of a strong Net Promoter Score (NPS) is that it can indicate if your business is delivering on the promises that it’s making to customers. While there are many reasons and methods to measure customer experience (CX), keeping tabs on the perception of your customers via the Net Promoter methodology can be incredibly valuable for benchmarking the health of your business. For instance, high NPS scores positively correlate to customer retention, referral acquisition, and strong brand awareness.

In this blog, we’ll examine 4 real-world examples of companies using NPS to gain insight into their businesses. But first, let’s take a quick look at how NPS is measured.

What is NPS? How is it measured?

Net Promoter Score surveys measure customer loyalty by identifying customers as promoters, passives, and detractors. Essentially, NPS data is captured by asking:

“How likely are you to recommend ABC Company?”

Customers then answer on a scale of 0-10 (0 being the lowest, and 10 the highest) which is then used to calculate your NPS score and identify the promoters, passives, and detractors of your brand.

Promoters are those who answer 9 or 10 on an NPS survey. Passives are customers who answer 7 or 8 on an NPS survey. They’re not likely to harm a business with negative word-of-mouth, nor are they likely to recommend the business. They’re just unenthusiastic and may switch to a competitor who offers something new or more interesting.

Detractors are customers who rate your brand between 0-6. Detractors are not happy with the company and are likely to share their negative experience online and with friends and family.

Now that you understand how brands measure these scores, let’s take a look at a few examples of companies using the information collected to make some important decisions.

Bonobos measures what customers enjoy about their products with NPS

With a lofty goal of being the most beloved clothing brand of all time, Bonobos CEO Andy Dunn needed a way to measure customer experience and customer sentiment to make product improvement decisions.

Because Bonobos targets working male professionals, Andy and his team needed a survey methodology that’s simple to deliver yet collects the feedback required to make impactful business decisions. The team decided to use NPS as one of their key metrics for measuring exactly how a customer felt about their Bonobos experience and whether or not the customer would be willing to refer Bonobos to friends or family. Bonobos thrives on data and measures business decisions carefully.

At the beginning of 2014, the company experimented with adding an extra step to the shipping process. They measured the impact with Delighted NPS. They suspected the change would cause a handful of inbound customer questions and perhaps a few grumbles but Delighted told a different story: customers couldn’t stand the extra step.

Subsequently, Bonobos used this data to remediate these issues quickly by rolling back the change. In Dunn’s words:

“We were able to literally just watch the scores decline. That enabled us to have the confidence to roll back the change. I know that due to Delighted, we avoided disaster.”

Glassdoor optimizes website and services with NPS

Glassdoor is one of the world’s largest job and recruiting websites, helping job seekers browse millions of openings and empowering employees to share public-facing reviews of their employers.

Before using NPS, Glassdoor only collected feedback from users reporting bugs or website issues. While this feedback was good for making quick fixes, it was inadequate in providing a full picture of how all customers experience Glassdoor.

With a need to collect feedback from their audience at-large, Glassdoor chose Delighted’s NPS tool to survey and collect feedback from more people. According to Zoe Soto, Product Manager for Glassdoor, using NPS allows them to “sample everyone and receive more diverse product feedback.”

With this broader range of NPS feedback from a previously untapped audience, Glassdoor identifies where the product may need to be improved, and uses that feedback to drive decisions that help their users be more engaged and more successful. Glassdoor also uses ongoing feedback to measure the impact of those improvements.

“It’s super helpful to know when we invest in UX improvements, that it’s actually made a meaningful impact on how users feel,” says Soto.

InVision uses NPS surveys to keep a pulse on customer sentiment

InVision helps designers and clients around the globe collaborate more easily with a simple-to-use design platform.

As Manager of User Research Operations, Lindsey Redinger and her team use the qualitative component of NPS surveying to pinpoint what aspects of the InVision platform can be improved upon. According to Redinger:

“The most important piece of capturing NPS is the ability to solicit that qualitative feedback from those people who complete the survey. So, of course, with NPS we ask for a score, but the key piece is that we ask why they actually gave us that score.”

This information helps guide InVision on what changes should be made to provide customers the best possible product experience. This feedback also influences sales conversations in that it prompts reps to follow up with the product team to determine if a feature has been enhanced or fixed before presenting it to a prospect.

Moreover, NPS data allows the entire InVision team to keep tabs on customer perception - even the C-Suite.

“We have a pulse of the community and the people who use our product,” says Redinger.

“I do report pretty regularly on progress for enhancements to our NPS strategy, and also any customer-feedback strategies that we have ongoing. But it actually goes up to our board. So I have conversations with our VPs, our directors, and our C-suite on the sentiment, what those trends are - all that good stuff.”

HotelTonight addresses customer problems with NPS

HotelTonight depends on unbiased, candid input from users as a reality check into how the company is performing and what they can improve on in the future.

“A person who has a bad experience rarely takes the time to write us,” says Amanda Richardson, chief data and strategy officer at HotelTonight. “However, you need that user’s thoughtful, raw feedback to correct and improve experiences for all customers in the future.”

In order to collect this very-real feedback, HotelTonight began soliciting customer feedback with NPS surveying and overtime grew their NPS score to 75 - roughly double the average score of the hospitality industry.

This high NPS score has been achieved by using the feedback collected to quickly address customer problems. They do this by documenting negative feedback as it arises and uses this data to prioritize feature enhancements for the future. Using Delighted to monitor NPS keeps HotelTonight tuned into industry trends, first impressions, and other pieces of valuable customer insight.

“If you don’t measure NPS, you’ll never fix the root cause of customer problems,” says Richardson.

It pays to earn promoters: customer loyalty and NPS

Recently, Bain and Company published an in-depth report on NPS benchmarks and what they mean for business performance. Their research uncovered a positive correlation between a strong NPS, promoters, and revenue growth. Below are some fascinating statistics from that report highlighting the value of measuring NPS and acting on customer feedback.

  • Retail customers who are promoters spend 3.5-4x more than detractors across a variety of retail products and services.
  • Brands managing customer experience across web, in-store, and other omnichannel approaches have higher NPS scores and their customers tend to spend 1.8-2x more.
  • Rewards programs with strong NPS incite customers to spend 2.2x more.

NPS helps businesses make smart, informed decisions. However, as we’ve stated before, NPS is just a calculation of how you are doing today in the minds of customers. The key to NPS and customer experience management is monitoring the information consistently to establish benchmarks for your company, identify trends, and address negative feedback to ensure that your score grows consistently.

Start your NPS program today. Sign up for our free 7-day trial and start measuring customer loyalty.

Which customer satisfaction metric is best? CSAT, NPS, or CES?

When you talk about measuring customer experience and satisfaction, three metrics inevitably come up as THE ones to use: Net Promoter Score (NPS) vs Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) vs Customer Effort Score (CES).

So, which is best for you?

While NPS, CSAT, and CES all garner feedback about how a customer feels about your company, products, and services, there are nuances that make one better than the other depending on your use case and business goals.

Whether you’re starting your first program, or are already a customer experience veteran, it’s always worthwhile to take stock of and experiment with the metrics at your disposal.

“You might be tempted to default to whatever metric you tracked at a previous company, accepting that as the single source of truth, but the fact is that no one experience is exactly the same as another. Having an arsenal of these customer satisfaction metrics makes sure folks aren’t trying to define an experience with a metric that just isn’t a great fit.”

— Sean Mancillas, Customer Concierge at Delighted

In this article, we’ll explore their differences to help you understand how to use each for measuring your customer experience.

First, let’s talk about how each of these metrics map to your goals.

The purpose of NPS, CSAT, and CES

When you start your customer experience program, the first step is to figure out what you’re trying to accomplish through the data gathered in your customer experience study. There are generally three types of studies:

1. Relationship studies, where you evaluate the quality of the overall relationship a customer has with you. The goal is to monitor how your customer base feels about your company over time as both your business and the market evolve. Insights gathered inform strategies that improve customer loyalty, and subsequently revenue through increased customer retention, reduced churn, and word of mouth.

2. Transactional studies, where you measure how well your company helps customers complete certain tasks, whether that’s with your product or your support team. The goal is to gain specific, actionable feedback to improve certain products, processes, and services.

3. Journey-based studies, where you map and evaluate all of the interactions your target audience (new or existing) has when they do business with you, with the goal of supporting them better each step of the way. Customer journey-based studies are the most sophisticated of the bunch, and often require both relationship and transactional surveys, in addition to user and market research.

Overall, NPS is primarily a relationship study metric (though it can also be leveraged for transactional studies — more on this later). CSAT can be either a relationship or transactional study metric, and CES is purely a transactional metric. You can get the full low-down on relationship vs transactional surveys here.

When you take a closer look at the single-question survey used to calculate each metric, you’ll see what makes these studies relational vs transactional.

NPS relationship survey question

On a scale from 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend [company] to a [friend or colleague]?

What makes this a relationship survey is the fact that:

  1. The question isn’t specific to any particular event or transaction.

  2. The question is scoped to the brand overall, which means that if you survey your customers on a regular basis, you’ll be able to monitor customer sentiment toward your brand over time.

To make the NPS survey question transactional, you need to modify it a bit more: On a scale from 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend [company] to a [friend or colleague] based on [your most recent interaction]?

Note that whether you’re using the relationship or transactional version of the NPS survey, you’re still asking customers if they’ll recommend your company. This requires taking their entire experience with you into account.

When to send NPS surveys: For new customers, send out your initial survey after they’ve had time to fully experience your product or service. From then on, send your survey out on a regular cadence (quarterly or biannually) to monitor evolving customer sentiment.

For more in-depth guidelines by industry, check out our post on when to send your NPS survey.

NPS score calculation: Your NPS is expressed on a scale of -100 to 100. Calculate NPS by subtracting the percentage of promoters (people who rate you 9 or 10) from the percentage of detractors (people who rate you 6 or lower).

CSAT relationship/transactional survey question

On a scale from 1 to 5, how satisfied were you with [company/interaction]?

By swapping out what you ask your customer to rate — your company, or a specific interaction, you can use your CSAT survey for either a relationship or transactional study.

In addition to adjusting copy, the timing of your survey can also help determine relationship vs transactional CSAT (i.e. surveys triggered twice a year as opposed to surveys triggered post-transaction).

When to send CSAT surveys: Transactional CSAT surveys should be timed for recency, depending on what you’re evaluating. For sales, onboarding, or support interactions, ask for CSAT feedback immediately. For product feedback, time the survey so that you’ve given the customer enough time to fully experience your product.

Relationship CSAT surveys would be sent regularly over longer periods of time, similar to NPS surveys.

CSAT score calculation: Your CSAT score is the percentage of respondents who are “4 – satisfied” and “5 – very satisfied.”

CES transactional survey question

On a scale of 1 to 5, rate how easy [company/person] made it for you to [accomplish a task].

Customer effort score surveys emphasize a specific task or interaction in the question, which makes it perfect for transactional studies. CES has also been correlated to customer loyalty.

When to send CES surveys: Similar to CSAT, you should ask customers to evaluate an interaction immediately after it happens. This could be just after a purchase, or after the resolution of a service ticket.

CES score calculation: Your CES score is the percentage of respondents who “4 – agree” and “5 – strongly agree.” Since NPS and CSAT can both be used for the relationship and transactional use case, let’s compare them first.

CSAT vs NPS for measuring customer experience

The reason NPS and CSAT tend to be used for relationship studies is because both require a customer to evaluate their experience with your overall company in the rating.

  • CSAT relationship question: How satisfied are you with [company]?
  • NPS relationship question: How likely are you to recommend [company] to a friend?

The main difference between CSAT and NPS is the built-in connotation of the words “satisfaction” and “recommendation.” Satisfaction tends to be a more short-lived sentiment, while recommendation tends to be harder won. In short, just because someone is satisfied, doesn’t mean they’d recommend you to a friend.

Because of that, CSAT is thought of as a short-term evaluation of customer happiness useful for targeted, iterative improvements, while NPS is more of a long-term indication of loyalty.

Now, let’s consider the transactional version of these two questions:

  • CSAT transactional question: How satisfied are you with [interaction]?
  • NPS transactional question: How likely are you to recommend [company] to a friend based on [your most recent interaction]?

The CSAT transactional question is still pretty straightforward. Customers can easily rate any interaction, whether it’s with a customer support agent or a particular product feature, in isolation of how they feel about your company overall.

On the other hand, the transactional NPS question could put some people in a pickle. For instance, let’s say you had to ask the cable guy to come fix something, and your cable service provider asked: “How likely are you to recommend us based on your cable guy?

Your cable guy could have provided a great experience, but maybe you dislike your cable company overall — there’s no getting around the spotty service, and you feel the quality doesn’t justify the prices. How would you answer? That type of hangup makes it difficult for customers to answer consistently, leading to a less reliable transactional metric.

CSAT pros and cons

CSAT is popular because of its versatility and widespread usage across industries and verticals. While it’s always best to benchmark your scores internally, you could easily benchmark yourself against competitors as well to help make a case to stakeholders for starting a customer experience program.

You can also easily adopt CSAT for both relationship and transactional studies, and it would be easy for everyone in the company to understand. Because the question format is so versatile, it is extremely effective for tracking how your customer feels through the entire customer lifecycle. If satisfaction drops at any touchpoint, you will have the insights necessary to follow up with the customer and close the feedback loop.

Finally, CSAT surveys give you the option to swap out the numeric rating scale for visual rating scales, like stars or smileys, which might be more on-brand for an engaging survey experience.

The con of CSAT score is that satisfaction isn’t necessarily correlated to customer loyalty. Satisfaction has more of a fleeting connotation — a customer could be satisfied with their last interaction, which leads to a better impression of your brand overall, but doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll recommend you to a friend.

NPS pros and cons

Since Bain & Company noted NPS as an indicator of future business growth due to correlation to customer loyalty, NPS has been widely adopted internationally by some of the world’s largest brands. If you use NPS, you’ll be able to benchmark against yourself and competitors using the standard relationship NPS study, which is helpful for winning buy-in from key company stakeholders. (You can learn more about what a good NPS score is here.)

In addition, the NPS scoring method segments your customers into 3 groups: promoters (ratings of 9 or 10), passives (ratings of 7 or 8), and detractors (ratings of 6 or lower), so you can tailor campaigns and solutions to win and maintain the loyalty of each.

A criticism of NPS has been that it can be difficult to get actionable feedback and identify areas to improve, since the rating applies to the entire customer experience at a high level.

While you can use NPS for transactional studies, the results may be inconclusive. To go back to our earlier example, you could love the cable guy, but dislike the company overall and still not recommend it. Or, you could have hated the cable guy, but still recommend the company because you think that one-off interaction isn’t all that important to your evaluation.

This makes it a bit tricky to get conclusive data from a standalone transactional NPS (tNPS) survey: while you may be able to tell how important a particular interaction is to the sentiment towards your company as a whole, you may have a hard time understanding just how happy the customer was with that isolated interaction.

That’s why it’s so important to ensure your customer feedback platform asks customers to explain why they chose a certain rating, and makes it easy for you to analyze those open-ended comments. These NPS case studies show how you can leverage the scores and feedback to improve your business.

So why might you choose CSAT vs NPS, or vice versa?

Choosing CSAT vs NPS boils down to whether you’re evaluating customer happiness with your products and services in the short term, or if you’re trying to measure long-term brand loyalty.

Oftentimes, brands will use both: NPS to keep an eye on the overall quality of the experience, and CSAT for more targeted service and product feedback.

Now that we’ve taken a look at CSAT vs NPS, let’s take a closer look at CES, which has the most specific use case.

NPS vs CES for indicating customer loyalty and customer experience improvement

Customer Effort Score made headlines when a Gartner study found that “Effort is the stronger driver of customer loyalty,” which put it in contention with NPS. However, CES still hasn’t taken off the way NPS has, making it difficult to use as a competitive benchmark.

CES explores how much effort a customer feels they had to put in to resolve an issue, and is usually used to help customer service improve resolution times and provide higher-quality experiences.

It is a meaningful metric mainly due to how badly one negative customer service experience can taint the overall brand interaction. For example, “Ninety-four percent of customers with low-effort interactions intend to repurchase compared with 4% of those experiencing high effort.”

Because of that, studies have found that the CES scores tend to correlate with the NPS score when it comes to measuring customer loyalty.

Still, does that mean you should only use one metric or the other?

CES pros and cons

In the case of CES, the hyper-focused question is a double-edged sword. It’s great for getting actionable feedback for certain use cases, but its scope is implicitly limited.

After all, ease isn’t a factor in everything. Once you’ve addressed the low-hanging improvements that can be made to customer service, purchase, or user experience interactions, there’s still the question of the overall experience to discuss.

So why might you choose NPS vs CES, or vice versa?

If you’re focusing on improving customer service metrics, CES surveys are a great way to help reduce time to resolution and customer friction. However, if you need a broader evaluation of your overall customer experience and an easy way to segment your customer base according to sentiment, NPS is the way to go. Or, you can always use both.

For example, we decided to use email and in-app NPS surveys alongside CES customer service surveys to monitor and improve the Delighted experience, though not before trying out CSAT surveys for support feedback as well.

One of our Customer Concierge team members, Sean Mancillas, had this to say about selecting CES for measuring customer sentiment in support interactions:

“We had noticed resolution times ticking upwards over the last 12 months. With experiments in CSAT and NPS, we never really isolated the key drivers that were causing these support conversations to trend longer and longer. That’s where CES came in. When we became aligned on measuring and improving ease-of-experience via CES, specifically when customers interacted with our Concierge team, we were able to pinpoint and correct help docs, walkthroughs, and other support resources that made it difficult for customers to get the answers they were after. CES helped us get out of the way between our customers and the answers they are after.”

Since not every experience, industry, or business is the same, experimentation can always help you narrow down what metrics make the most sense for you.

In review, NPS, CSAT, or CES?

As you’ve gathered, the question should instead be: What’s the goal of your customer experience strategy?

If you are going through an overhaul of your products and services, asking customers for CSAT feedback every step of the way can help you decide in real time whether the changes are a good idea. If you are looking to understand customer loyalty and how your brand is perceived overall, use NPS. If you want to isolate and improve areas of customer friction, CES is the ticket.

Of course, using a combination of these methods will give you the most comprehensive overview of customer sentiment. Sometimes, you may also need to experiment with multiple metrics to see which result in the most insightful, actionable feedback for your business.

No matter which metric you choose to track, as long as you use your customer feedback insights to close the loop and effect change, you will be well on your way to delighting your customers.

Ready to start measuring customer satisfaction? You can use Delighted to send all of the survey types we’ve discussed: NPS, CSAT, CES, Smileys, 5-Star, and even Thumbs. Sign up now and send your first 250 customer experience surveys for free!

What is a good NPS score?

So, what is a good Net Promoter Score? The short answer is: it depends. There are 2 methodologies that explore what a good NPS score is. The first examines the strength of your NPS score regardless of industry. The second method determines what a good NPS score is with respect to your industry.

We’ll explore both methods below, but first, let’s take a quick look at how an NPS score is calculated.

Net Promoter Score surveys measure customer loyalty by identifying customers as promoters, passives, and detractors. Essentially, NPS data is captured by asking:

“How likely are you to recommend ABC Company?” Customers then answer on a scale of 0-10 (0 being the lowest, and 10 the highest) which is then used to calculate your NPS score and identify the promoters, passives, and detractors of your brand.

Promoters are those who answer 9 or 10 on an NPS survey. Promoters are considered brand advocates and have the potential to grow the lifetime value (LTV) of your brand by 1400% through referring your products or services to friends and family.

Passives are customers who answer 7 or 8 on an NPS survey. They’re not likely to harm a business with negative word-of-mouth, nor are they likely to recommend the business. They’re just unenthusiastic and may switch to a competitor who offers something new or more interesting.

Detractors are customers who rate your brand between 0-6. Detractors are not happy with the company and are likely to share their negative experience online and with friends and family.

Consistently measuring NPS over time can provide your business with some important insights, as NPS scores usually correlate to things like revenue, brand affinity, and likelihood to refer your goods or services to others. NPS also inversely measures things like returns, dissatisfaction, costs, and customer churn. Getting a score assigned to your business, brand, product, or service is wonderful for measurement and tracking purposes, making it easier to quickly identify customer experience trends that may need further probing.

That said, one of the most common questions we hear from companies first embarking into NPS is “How do I know if my NPS is good?”

Deciding if your NPS score is “good” can be done quickly with two simple methodologies: the absolute method and the relative method.

  • The absolute NPS method involves comparing your score to a loosely agreed-upon standard for what a good score is, across all industries.
  • The relative NPS method involves comparing your score to other companies within your industry.

We’ll go into both methods (and our own take on how you should think about your NPS score) below, but for the relative method, we’ve created a simple NPS benchmarking tool that allows you to compare your NPS with others in your industry.

Simply enter your NPS score, select your industry, and we’ll show you how you stack up. You can also get a bird’s eye view across all industries and see how they compare with each other.

The absolute NPS method

On a scale from -100 to 100, the absolute NPS method deems any Net Promoter Score greater than 0 as “good,” since it means your promoters outnumber passives and detractors. While 0 is a positive NPS, companies with scores of 0 probably aren’t providing a good experience in actuality — they’re doing the minimum. Your NPS score generally needs to be greater than 50 to be considered above average in an absolute sense.

Here’s a breakdown that can help you approximate how well your business is actually doing with regards to the absolute method:

- 100-0: The majority of people interacting with your product or brand are having a bad experience. They are not happy with your company and are spreading the word that your goods or services should be avoided.

1-30: This an acceptable range to be in as you have slightly more promoters than passives and detractors. However, most companies in this range have a lot of opportunities to improve.

31-50: This is where most companies tend to live. A company in this range places value on a quality customer experience and is generally delivering it with a solid group of promoters ready to refer others to your brand.

50-70: A company in this range is doubling down on customer experience — and it shows. Some of the most beloved brands have an NPS in this range, and it means that they have a larger than average group of promoters sharing their positive perception with their personal networks.

71-100: This is the Holy Grail of NPS, and rarely attainable. A company with a score in this range is considered to be among the absolute best in their industry.

The relative method based on industry average NPS scores

The second way to know if your NPS is good or not is to compare your score relative to industry benchmarks.

This helps you understand where you stand in the marketplace. Some companies have also been known to publicly advertise their NPS score with shareholders as evidence of their company’s success.

If you choose to benchmark yourself against others, be aware that average scores vary widely across industries.

Some industries are notorious for providing less than stellar customer experiences, but they continue to thrive in spite of their low scores. This can happen when a company provides a critical service, or has very little competition – think utilities, cable providers, etc.

Other industries live and die by their NPS and could not exist without delivering a high-quality differentiated experience. These companies are either in highly competitive markets and must compete on a differentiated experience, or their core product is inherently experiential – think luxury consumer products, hotels, etc.

Let’s take a look at some of the highest and lowest average industry scores. To provide more context, we’ve also included the range of scores observed.

Here are the average 2018 NPS scores collected by the Temkin Group for a variety of industries:

Auto dealers NPS benchmarks

GM, BMW, Honda, Cadillac, Ford, Buick, Chevrolet, Nissan etc.

Software NPS benchmarks

Adobe, Microsoft, Google, Intuit, Sony, McAfee, Activision, Apple, Symantec, Blackboard, etc.

Computers and tablets NPS benchmarks

Lenovo, Sony, Compaq, Gateway, Dell, eMachines, Barnes & Noble, Acer, Hewlett-Packard, Toshiba, Amazon, Apple, etc.

Health plans NPS benchmarks

Aetna, Anthem, Humana, Coventry Health Care, Blue Shield of California, Health Net, etc.

TV and internet service NPS benchmarks

AOL, AT&T, Verizon, Cablevision, Charter Communications, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications, DirecTV, etc.

How to tell if your NPS score is good: What Delighted recommends

No matter your industry, we believe it is worth striving to deliver a perfect experience to every customer, turning them into avid promoters of your company. The best companies focus on continually improving their own customer experiences – benchmarking against themselves vs. peers or industry standards.

“While it can be useful to consider the industry NPS benchmarks that can help compare your company to similar ones, it’s important to keep in mind that benchmarking with NPS can be difficult. Different companies measure at different parts of the funnel as well as different customer subsets. For example, customers who have been with your company for a year or more will have a typically higher NPS than those in a trial period.

Because of this, the most important Net Promoter Score benchmark is a company’s own score last month, last quarter, and last year. Driving to improve NPS within one’s own business is the most important point of focus, as the variables that impact the score (ex. customer subset, recent product changes, etc.) are more transparent and controllable. Using Trends, properties, and other Delighted features can help offer granular insight into the trending of NPS over time.

Along this vein, it’s important to not place too much focus on small or insignificant changes in NPS. This is why Delighted displays NPS calculated based on the last 30 days of responses, rather than a daily or weekly score. If you receive 10,000 responses a month, a 20-point change month over month would signal a significant difference. However, if you receive just 10 responses in a day, a 20-point change over the previous day isn’t necessarily something to sweat.”

— Ellie Swiger, Customer Concierge at Delighted

Acting on the feedback collected by NPS surveying is the ONLY way to turn detractors into passives, and passives into promoters.

Benchmarking brand loyalty aside, having a grasp on the trajectory of your NPS scores is essential to making the business decisions needed to increase the perception of your brand or products.

A word of caution about NPS benchmarks

NPS industry benchmark comparisons are great for knowing how you stack up against your competition and can help you understand the amount of incremental investment you should be making to improve the customer experience.

However, anchoring on your competitors’ scores will place an artificial ceiling on your potential. Breakthrough companies often compete on a differentiated experience, allowing them to grow through word of mouth while stealing market share. If you stop improving your customer experience, a competitor will inevitably seize the opportunity to surpass you. Just because customers have tolerated a poor experience to date, doesn’t mean they will forever.

That said, here are a few things to take note of while putting together a comprehensive NPS strategy and drawing comparisons to your competitors:

How you collect NPS feedback can affect your score

The differences in survey delivery channels may impact your NPS scores. While large brands can afford to pay an outside organization to collect data for them, the preferred way to survey customers for most businesses is to do it yourself via web, SMS, email, link, or kiosk.

Sometimes, these different survey methods can influence the responses of those taking your survey. For example, respondents to a phone survey may be more inclined to rate your company higher with a representative of your brand on the phone with them.

The important thing here, especially for using the second methodology above, is to try to measure your brand’s NPS consistently and correctly over time. There’s nothing wrong with changing up survey distribution methods or timing of the surveys every once in a while (some of our customers, like Rakuten, have had some positive results doing this). However, you must understand that doing this on a whim can skew the results.

Moreover, since you don’t know exactly how your competitors are calculating their scores or if their scores are in fact accurate, the only true thing your brand can rely on is how you collect feedback from your customers and monitoring these results over time.

Good NPS scores can be inflated in a niche industry

Niche industries tend to be dominated by a large incumbent with little to no competition. These businesses dominating the space tend to have inflated NPS scores because they are essentially the only player in that niche space.

Take Tesla for example. Their NPS score has been rated as high as 96. 96! That’s close to near perfect. Does this mean their cars and services are perfect as well? Not likely. It’s just that customers surveyed have no other long-range electric car builders to compare with.

Customer tolerance levels can drastically lower NPS scores

Different verticals have different tolerance levels. Customer tolerance is essentially the likelihood of your customers getting angry with your brand if you can’t address their needs on an immediate basis.

Healthcare, for example, has a low customer tolerance. Not being able to immediately meet the needs of sick patients with quality care every once in a while will have more impact on an NPS score than a streaming service with occasional connectivity issues.

Vendor switching costs can boost NPS scores

For this example, let’s compare cars and software. A decent car will tend to have a higher NPS than many personal SaaS services. Why is this the case?

Buying a car takes a lot of leg-work (there’s a high switching cost). The typical car purchase journey is something (more or less) like this:

  1. Prospect researches makes and models
  2. Prospect takes car for a test drive
  3. Prospect haggles with sales-guy for a good deal
  4. Agreement is made and the prospect has to fill out paperwork for financing and purchase
  5. Prospect gets approved for an auto loan and becomes a customer!

Now, let’s compare that to the customer journey for buying personal SaaS software:

  1. Prospect researches software
  2. Prospect goes to website
  3. Prospect downloads software and becomes customer

As you can see, purchasing software is WAY easier than purchasing a car. It’s a classic case of vendor switching barriers mentioned above. Even if a car gives you problems, it’s expensive to switch to another brand while switching software can be as easy as downloading a competitor’s free trial.

Because of the car’s financial burden, most customers are likely to stick with their vehicle and develop confirmation bias. This confirmatory bias is a subtle reassurance that their expensive purchase was the right one, making consumers more inclined to rate the NPS of their car brand higher.

Conversely, the product tolerance of personal SaaS is incredibly low and the barrier to switching is incredibly high. Both attributes contribute to consistently lower NPS scores.

Improve your NPS score today

Improve your NPS by implementing an easy to manage customer experience program like Delighted. Collecting feedback from customers is the first step to establishing a baseline NPS score. From there, you can use the data obtained to address the areas that are lagging which, over time, will improve your NPS.

Start improving your CX by acting on customer feedback with a free Delighted trial.

Growth marketing powered by customer experience

Who doesn’t want to grow their business? Growth marketing is a set of activities intended to acquire more customers, increase revenue, and speak to new audiences and prospects. Many growth marketers focus on tools and strategies designed to bring customers through doors and onto websites.

Only a few, however, realize that an integral part of sustaining growth is avoiding the churn of existing customers. Many organizations understand that customer experience (CX) is important for retention and brand affinity. But, when it comes to investing in tools and services to do this, many businesses fail to see the long-term ROI that CX technology and strategy can deliver — even though the evidence is apparent:

As you can see, customer experience is an essential component of growth hacking and can be the difference between increasing year-over-year profits and underperformance.

In this blog, we explore how referral marketing integrates seamlessly with your customer experience efforts to drive growth, and why it’s easier to manage and act on customer feedback than you think.

What is referral marketing?

In the pre-internet days, customer referrals existed as written testimonials used in ads, newspaper reviews, and most importantly, literal word of mouth. As the technology evolved and access to information increased, so did the number of places that customers could share feedback with others.

Now, customer referrals exist in many forms including online forums, product websites, and marketplace reviews. Moreover, the number of tools designed to capture customer testimonials for marketing use has also increased. These testimonials and referrals are an essential component of building brand equity and correlate with strong CSAT and NPS scores.

According to the Temkin group, customers who have a positive brand experience are 77% more likely to refer your business or service to a friend.

Referral marketing is considered by many to be a strategic component of growth hacking because of its large ROI. Purely organic customer referrals are free while investing in a reward-for-referral strategy can be less of a financial burden in comparison to other marketing efforts.

Another benefit of referral marketing is that there are applications and tools to help your company begin capturing referrals quickly and easily.

Friendbuy, for example, is a customer referral platform for growth marketers looking to turn happy customers into brand advocates. Friendbuy can easily integrate with CX tools like Delighted and help businesses turn brand promoters into referral marketers.

With a low cost per acquisition (CPA) and a high lifetime value (LTV), customer referrals are a proven channel for growth hacking, increasing revenue, and enhancing the customer experience.

Customer experience and referrals can fuel growth hacking — but there’s a catch

Customer referrals seem like a too-good-to-be-true sales and marketing tactic, but there is one important thing to remember:

Referrals will only benefit your team if the services you provide and the experiences of your customers pre and post-purchase meet or exceed their expectations. If your product is defective or your customer service is perceived as unsatisfactory, then your customers may be inclined to become detractors and speak negatively about your company or brand, making them incredibly unlikely to refer your business to others.

The only way to know for sure if your brand is healthy enough to invest in a referral program is to track and manage the experiences of your customers. While this may seem like quite the undertaking, there are some quick ways to proactively monitor the perception of your brand — all with growth in mind.

4 ways to manage customer experience with a growth marketing mindset

According to Mark Lancaster of SDL, “Business leaders should ask themselves if their organization is truly set up to effectively manage the customer experience. Unfortunately, more often than not, the answer is no, as businesses maintain a traditional organizational structure.”

Customer experience with a growth mindset is all about listening to your customers and basing many of your business decisions on the feedback collected. While there are many components of customer experience, managing the 4 things listed below can kickstart your customer-focused growth efforts.

1. Measure customer sentiment: Happy customers mean growth

It’s important to audit your existing customer base and their perception of your brand before purchasing a customer referral tool or making any drastic business decisions. The best way to get a grasp on how your customers feel about your business is to measure their sentiment through surveys throughout the whole customer lifecycle.

Customer sentiment data can help your team quickly identify what’s working well for your business and what areas could use improvement, and can be measured with a variety of survey methodologies.

Here are a few of the most common ones that your team can start using today with Delighted:

  • Net Promoter Score (NPS): A proven customer experience survey methodology designed to tell you which customers are promoters, neutral, or detractors of your brand.
  • Customer Satisfaction Surveys (CSAT): These surveys are designed to collect deeper insight from your customers. They measure the overall customer satisfaction of a product, service, or business.
  • Customer Effort Score Surveys: These surveys measure the effectiveness and efficiency of your team.
  • Customer Ratings: A quick and easy way to see how your customers rate you on every aspect of the customer experience, usually on a scale from 1-5.
  • Customer Feeling: An easy to answer and universally understood survey that captures customer happiness with your brand, product, or service. Happiness is usually reflected by choosing a smiley face.
  • Customer Opinion: A binary way to ask your customers if a product or service is good (thumbs up) or bad (thumbs down). This type of feedback, when aggregated, can provide a simple to understand yet comprehensive view into your customers’ perception.

Each one of these methods exists as pre-built survey templates and can be delivered via web, email, SMS text messaging, and by a link (QR code too). Each survey is customizable to match the look of your brand, and follow-up questions can be added to hone in on the information that matters most.

2. Grow by listening to your customers

The only way to know exactly what your customers are thinking is to have a constant dialogue with them. This dialogue can happen organically, like through social media or support call interactions, the latter of which can influence revenue growth.

These conversations can also be initiated by your brand. Remember the survey methodologies mentioned above? Each one is designed to capture what your customers have to say — both quantitatively and qualitatively. Surveys are conversations. Actively listening to what they have to say about your company can help guide many revenue and business-related decisions.

3. Use CX feedback to improve customer retention

In our view, this is growth marketing 101. Keep your customers coming back for more by collecting feedback at every customer touchpoint. The data captured at each interaction point provides the information needed to take action on negative feedback.

This customer feedback, when collected correctly, is an unbiased look at what your company does well and what your company can improve in the eyes of your customers.

Not only must your team survey customers on a regular cadence, but their feedback must also be acknowledged and used to drive a majority of your business decisions. Incorporating their suggestions into marketing, sales, and support efforts is the basis on which your customers will stick with your brand, and more importantly, refer it to others.

Additionally, publicly communicating to your customers that positive changes have been made can greatly enhance brand loyalty and help your team grasp the voice of your customers (VoC).

Moreover, making product enhancements in light of the feedback shared can help separate your products and services from those of your competitors. Going to market first with these changes can be a competitive differentiator that stimulates growth.

4. Grow your brand with customer empowerment

Your customers want answers — and they want them fast. Self-service support is the process of creating easily accessible marketing, sales, and product materials that answer some of your customers’ most common questions. Having these materials on-hand and easy to find on your website is beneficial for a few reasons:

First, these materials enhance customer experience by empowering them to quickly find answers on their own. While this may seem counter-intuitive, many customers will initially attempt to solve a problem or address concerns without the help of the business they purchased from. In light of this, having materials ready for them enhances your customer-first perception and directly influences customer retention.

Secondly, creating a self-service support environment frees up resources to be better allocated to urgent and complicated issues. For example, support reps can spend more time giving customers individualized attention and less time answering simple questions that your self-service collateral could address. All of this contributes to growing your repeat business.

Less guessing. More growth.

Ultimately, using a customer experience program ensures that a large part of your growth marketing efforts are predicated by the needs of your customers. This helps define many business strategies and can make deciding where to invest resources easy and effective.

Ready to start growing? It’s time to choose a customer experience program that works for you and, more importantly, your customers.

Start making growth marketing decisions by acting on customer feedback with a free Delighted trial.

Creating a winning customer service strategy

What if we told you that there’s a way to grow your business by two to four times without developing a new product or receiving additional funding?

Exceptional customer service turns repeat and new customers into promoters. And these promoters have the potential to grow the lifetime value (LTV) of your brand by 1400%.

Needless to say, many brands are taking notice of the financial benefits improving customer service can have for your bottom line. In 2019, 67% of consumers believe that companies are actively improving their customer service. New technologies, better training methods, and an increased emphasis on delivering the best customer service have yielded some impressive customer sentiment results. A recent American Express survey found that 81% of customers feel that the support they receive meets or exceeds expectations.

However. What happens when a business gets customer service wrong? Is the negative impact on a brand as drastic? Yes.

With 54% of global consumers saying that their customer service expectations are rising, 89% of customers are claiming to leave a business after one poor customer service experience. Enhancing your customer service is one of the most valuable things you can do for your company. This guide will help you achieve that goal faster and more cost-effectively.

Measure and monitor customer experience

“Measure twice, cut once.”

The same applies when improving customer service. Making unguided changes to your customer experience (CX) strategy based on ‘feeling’ instead of measurement and continuous benchmarking could end up hurting your support team and the brand at large. Investing dollars and effort into something that might work is a risk to be avoided.

Deciding the best ways your team can improve customer experience is by actively collecting customer feedback to see what’s working well and what needs improvement. As we explore below, this data can be obtained from a few different sources.

Gather customer experience feedback

Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) and Customer Effort Score (CES) are two well-researched ways to collect customer feedback post customer service interaction quickly.

CSAT and CES are particularly useful because of their simplicity. After a customer service experience, a customer is asked one simple question:

  • CSAT: “How satisfied were you with [service provided/resolution of your issue]”
  • CES: “How easy did we make it to do X?”

This unambiguous and quick survey question sent automatically to the right people at the right time allows you to measure specific types of customer interactions and clearly see which areas:

  • Need the most improvement
  • Can be quickly addressed
  • Are the most pressing

Because it’s only one question, you’ll get more responses in a shorter period. Therefore, you can quickly take action to improve customer service and overall customer experience.

That said, if you need more detailed information about a specific area, there is the option of sending surveys to smaller, more targeted customers. These surveys can include more questions and open-ended fill-ins that can help collect qualitative feedback. Before deciding to send out additional surveys, we recommend using specific criteria to segment your follow-up survey audience. Some sample segments include:

  • Long-time customers
  • Just made 2nd purchase
  • Recently wrote you a review

Gather customer service employee feedback

Open forum team meetings and calls for input from employees can be used to gather details, but they aren’t effective ways to get your finger on the pulse of your customer service department.

The eNPS survey asks if your employees are happy. Low customer support eNPS scores are a leading indicator that the support they are providing is not optimal and that they are potentially disengaged from your company’s messaging efforts.

Evidence shows that when companies treat support employees better, customers are attended to with more care.

Customer service with a personal touch: monitor and respond to customers on social media

As an incredibly vast public community, your company’s reputation on social media can be both incredibly beneficial and painfully detrimental. Although complicated to dissect, these stats highlight why attention to social media is worth the effort:

  • 40% of people use social media to keep in touch
  • 41% want to stay informed about current events
  • 29% use social media to discover/research/buy something
  • 30% are here to share their opinions (often about businesses)

Praise or persecution. Social media is a megaphone for your customers to laud your company with positive feedback, refer your goods or services to others, and create organic brand awareness. Unfortunately, that same megaphone, more often than not, is also used to express some incredibly sensitive grievances about your company publicly.

Many customers take to social media, especially Twitter, to call out product defects and lapses in services provided. It’s also common for customers to complain publicly about long support wait times and perceived customer service ineptitude.

While tracking everything mentioned on social about your brand is outside the scope of traditional customer service, being attentive to what your customers are saying can help you stay ahead of trends and address waining customer satisfaction.

Monitor and respond to reviews

Review sites like Yelp, Google My Business (GMB) or even WebRetailer, are where people go to air grievances, but also scream to the rooftops about how wonderful your customer service is.

90% of people say that reviews influence their buying choices. 53% of customers expect businesses to respond to negative reviews promptly. Yet 63% say that most businesses don’t.

And this hurts. Not only are you missing out on an area where you might be able to improve customer service for that person and others, 45% of people say they’re swayed to visit businesses that respond well to negative reviews. And many customers will change a review once something is fully resolved.​​

Take time to train your team

Using the data you’ve gathered, target the customer service areas that need urgent improvement. While getting bigger and better technology helps you keep up in your industry, it’s still your people and their interpersonal skills who can make the greatest impact.

In a busy contact center, finding time for training isn’t easy, especially if you have significant turnover. Time invested in team training and support reduces turnover and enhances the experience of customers.

Teach your team to be active listeners

According to the Harvard Business Review, the average listener can only recall about 25% of what someone has said. Active listening isn’t something that everyone does intuitively. This doesn’t bode well for customers who may be trying to explain complicated scenarios. Most customers dislike having to repeat themselves to clarify something that they’ve overstated.

Failure to listen actively can happen in all contact center channels. Someone could skim a text, chat, email, or social post. They might also plaster their own emotions over the words to the point that they misread or hear something.

Practice makes perfect when it comes to active listening. You can do this formally or more casually on an ongoing basis. Have your customer service reps team up in pairs for 10-15 minutes a week (paid, of course).

Each person takes turns talking about a specific topic for 1-2 minutes. The other person reflects back what the first person communicated. Then switch. As they continue to improve, add additional active listening elements like:

  • Eye contact vs. staring
  • Avoiding distractions
  • Asking open-ended questions
  • Using empathic language to show you understand

Practice empathy

Empathy has a way of saturating an organization. When employees feel that management empathizes with them, they often do the same for their customers. Like active listening, displaying empathy may be more intuitive for some folks while incredibly challenging for others.

As explored below, empathy games can help your team expand their emotional intelligence.

Mirror me for adults

Yes, we all played this in Kindergarten! But therapists often use it to help couples learn empathy. Two people face each other with hands almost touching then they move their hands together in various patterns. Each person must learn to predict the actions of the other to stay in sync.

Improv

Remember the show “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” Improv is when actors have no script. They simply play off each other’s actions to act out a given prompt without verbally communicating about what they’re going to do. As they practice, they’ll learn to pick up on subtle queues and work together.

Enhance Knowledge

Put tools into your customer service team’s hand to enhance their knowledge of not only what they do but also what other departments do. A great customer service rep can help a customer because they have experienced it themselves.

  • Sandboxes – These are internal sections of your website with which an employee can create a mock order, walk through a process, start a chat, and see things from the customer’s point of view.
  • Cross-departmental meet and greets – Invite peers from other departments to a meeting to answer questions, show a presentation or otherwise help your agents better understand what they do.
  • Review existing resources regularly – Do they need to be updated? Are they accurate? A customer service team is only as good as the accuracy of the knowledge you put at their fingertips.

Enhance omnichannel training

Customers today expect to be able to contact customer support through many methods. Often a person uses multiple methods for one issue. But managing all of these channels can be cumbersome for representatives. Part of training is making sure that agents can effectively navigate the omnichannel experience.

Expand the self-service experience

Self-service doesn’t mean increasing the number of phone options. Overwhelmingly, customers today want to be able to help themselves online. A ZenDesk survey found that 75% of customers think that self-service is the most convenient way to get help. From how-to YouTube videos to tutorials to actionable blog posts, making information accessible and easy to find will yield an overall better customer experience.

When customers can help themselves, they generally feel more content with the customer experience overall.

Build customer relationships and loyalty

Ultimately, exceptional customer service is is about the relationships built between customers and customer service reps. This relationship is built on trust and understanding. It says we’re collecting customer feedback and listening to you. We understand how customers feel about the various challenges or areas that need improvement. We’re continually working to improve customer service and the overall customer experience. We value you as a customer.

So, what’s the status of your customer service program? Are you building long-term relationships with your customers? Do they see your brand as a leader in providing exceptional customer experience?

With Delighted, you can easily capture customer insight to see what’s working and areas where your support can be improved. Start collecting customer feedback today, for free.

Customer experience vs customer service: why it matters to your business

Historically, the concept of “customer experience” has been seen as purely the responsibility of customer support. Today, this couldn’t be more inaccurate.

In the past, customer experience was whether or not the support rep on the phone or the attendant managing department store returns — or any other gatekeeper of company protocol — could help you amend a product related issue. “Customer experience” was strictly customer service-driven and incredibly retroactive — something that was only monitored or addressed post purchase.

While problem solving, or customer support, is an integral part of customer experience, it does not entirely reflect today’s modern, more proactive definition of customer experience.

Therefore, although related, we’ll explore the differences between these two concepts and how successfully implementing today’s approaches to both customer service and customer experience matters to your business.

Does customer experience increase revenue?

According to Forbes, the answer is a resounding ‘yes’ with over 70% of customers saying that they would spend more to get great customer service.

Moreover, 73% of consumers claim that a great customer experience drives their buying decisions while statistics show that increasing your repeat numbers by 5% can increase your profitability up to 95%.

What is customer service?

CustomerThink defines customer service as: “Help and advice provided by a company to the customers who are buying or using their products or services. Customer service could be classified as an area of customer experience. It is, however, a key area. And at its core, its role is to provide support.”

In other words, today’s definition of customer service is reactive in nature.

However, it wasn’t always that way, which is why customer support and experience could have been seen as more or less interchangeable. For example, a mere 10-20 years ago, a customer service rep might be needed to complete a basic transaction or share features and benefits to make a sale.

Flash forward to today’s tech-driven self-service economy and 70% of customers expect to be able to “help themselves” on a company’s website or application. Even if they have a problem with a product, 50% expect to find troubleshooting help online instead of contacting customer care.

Because of this, over half of the customer journey is now automated online in most industries. We live in a self-service time. People will definitely complain if they can’t “get a person on the phone” when they need one. But they rarely reach out to a customer contact center unless there’s a problem that can’t be solved intuitively or with a few minutes of research.

Is customer service obsolete? Of course not. Is customer service of less value to your business? That couldn’t be further from the truth. However, it’s only a piece of what’s considered to be today’s definition of customer experience.

Today, you need both self-service support channels and a real human presence to deliver the overall customer service experience that people expect. Both services work together to create value for a customer during a support scenario.

But why did your customer contact customer service in the first place? This takes us to our next point and a more thorough look at the proactive attributes that define the modern customer experience.

What is customer experience?

The Harvard Business Review defines customer experience as, “the sum of all interactions a customer has with a company.”

Customer experience isn’t just a single event with your best (or worst) customer care professional when an order is delayed. Today’s definition of Customer Experience (CX) spans the entire customer journey from the moment they become aware of your business or brand. The customer experience includes every aspect of the customer lifecycle, from pre-sales customer touchpoints all the way through personalized experiences for return customers.

In short, customer experience goes beyond the reactivity of customer service. Customer experience is when a brand proactively influences their customers’ perception of their entire customer journey.

Just how proactive is modern CX and how does it make its way into every facet of the customer journey? The list below is a good start for grasping exactly how brands can influence customer experience from discovery to repeat purchase:

  • Social media presence
  • Ease of navigation through the website, app, physical store, etc.
  • Methods of communication and availability
  • Product offerings and features
  • Pricing options
  • Checkout and delivery
  • Reliability and consistency of customer support for both the buying process and post purchase
  • Perks about relevant happenings, workshops, the latest trends, and special offers
  • Customer loyalty rewards
  • Addressing customer feedback and managing your reputation

CX requires companies to actively build customer experience into every customer-facing activity or service. Additionally, managing customer experience means leveraging tools, like Delighted, to measure which areas of your business are delivering worse or better-than-expected CX results and probing into what exactly is driving those results.

Customer experience vs customer service: how they work together

Before examining the relationship between customer service and experience, let’s quickly revisit something we touched on in the beginning of this blog:

While problem solving, or customer support, is an integral part of customer experience, it does not entirely reflect today’s modern, more proactive definition of customer experience.

Although customer service is only part of the CX equation, the feedback captured via customer service as a touchpoint can reveal a lot about the health of your CX strategy and your customers’ perception of the experience you provide.

For example, support reps are exposed to high volumes of both qualitative and quantitative feedback by working closely with customers to solve their most pressing issues. If managed correctly, the information collected by customer support can be an incredibly valuable tool for improving customer experience.

In many cases, the type of information collected by customer service reps can provide valuable insight into improving the overall CX of many aspects of your brand including:

  • How to streamline your offerings. Eliminate products and services that have quality issues or fix the problems.
  • How to optimize your brand message to meet customer expectations
  • How to improve customer support experiences

Analyzing customer service feedback also sheds light on potentially serious product or service-related issues before they become detrimental to your reputation.

A commitment to customer experience delivers best-in-class customer service

Let’s face it: customer service reps and other members of support are buried deep in the trenches of customer complaints and more-often-than-not negative customer feedback. It’s a tough gig for sure, but it becomes exponentially more difficult when the feedback they collect is not accounted for or used to solve these issues at a product, service, or strategy level.

Companies that proactively incorporate support feedback into their overarching CX strategy create a culture of empowerment throughout their support team. Not only do reps feel like the time they spend helping customers with specific issues is more valuable, they also see their role for what it really is — an extremely important component of customer experience and added brand value.

Moreover, incorporating feedback collected by your customer service team can lead to some impressive quantifiable results:

  • Average handle time decreases
  • Fewer repeat calls
  • Call volume becomes more manageable
  • Hold times reduce
  • Opportunities to collect positive CSAT and NPS from happy customers increase
  • Employee morale stays high, reducing turnover

Understanding the whole customer experience picture

Another difference between customer service and CX is that customer experience needs to be incredibly tactical to handle all its moving parts. The first step in improving CX and managing its many components is to benchmark the aspects of CX that matter most. A great way to start doing this is with these three standardized customer experience metrics for measuring customer sentiment: CES, CSAT, and NPS.

CES and CSAT surveys

Let’s start with a Customer Effort Score (CES) survey. This is an essential customer experience metric measured by asking customers to rate you on just one thing: ease.

Measuring customer effort with one question is a simple way to collect feedback on an area that matters most to your team.

The Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) survey follows the same principle. But it focuses on satisfaction instead of ease. In either case, keep it simple by measuring customer experience one specific touchpoint at a time. Here are a few steps to get you started:

  1. Outline your many touchpoints & prioritize. Create your CES or CSAT surveys for the touchpoints you decide to target.
  2. Automate surveys based on transaction type so that customers receive them at the best time. Send surveys through methods to which your customers respond: Email, SMS (text), website, or via a link. Identify areas where you need to improve.
  3. Seek additional information from customers and your customer service team, when needed. eBay selects specific sellers who receive a message like this in their inboxes. “You’ve been specially selected to help us improve our customer experience. Please complete this 1-2 minute survey and share your thoughts about….”
  4. Gather that feedback and develop a plan.
  5. Execute your customer experience enhancement action plan.
  6. Continue to measure your results using CES or CSAT surveys.

NPS surveys

Transactional surveys like CES and CSAT measure customer service and specific elements of customer experience. How do you examine the brand equity of your business that you’ve built over time? With Net Promoter Score (NPS).

Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys measure how your customer experience impacts loyalty. Like CES and CSAT, it’s best to keep these surveys simple. For example:

  • “How likely are you to recommend ABC Company?”

Customers answer on a scale of 0-10, which is then used to calculate your NPS score. Measure it over time, and watch how it moves in direct relation to things like revenue, profits, employee satisfaction and inversely to other measures like returns, recruitment costs, turnover.

Further explore the difference between transactional and relationship surveys and see how they work together like customer service and customer experience.

Conclusion: customer experience vs customer service

It’s important to understand the relationship between customer experience and customer service. Customer service is a very important part of the broader customer experience. The role of customer service has changed a lot as we’ve entered a self-service era. But your customer service teams are still vital in that they manage the exceptions and gather valuable data about customer experience.

It’s important to track not only how customers experience your customer service team. You need to know how they experience the entire customer journey, at every major touchpoint. CES, CSAT, and NPS surveys are three vital types of surveys that help you quantify customer experience in both the short and long term.

To start collecting actionable feedback from customers in order to delight them every step of the way, sign up to get your free 250 surveys.

Customer survey templates get you the growth you want

Who doesn’t want to grow? Growth marketing is a set of activities intended to acquire more customers, increase revenue, and speak to a previously unreachable audience. Many growth marketers focus on tools and strategies designed to bring customers through doors and onto websites.

Only a few, however, realize that an integral part of sustaining growth is avoiding the churn of existing customers. In fact, it costs 6 times more to attract a new customer than it does to keep an old one.

Customizable survey templates make short work of getting insightful customer feedback

Pleasing existing customers while actively pursuing new business can be quite a balancing act, especially if resources are limited. However, incorporating customer experience (CX) and customer satisfaction (CSAT) into your growth marketing efforts can be done quickly and easily with prebuilt customer survey templates and integrated dashboards that collect, store, and analyze the data that matters most to your team.

Why is customer satisfaction important for growth?

At its core, customer satisfaction score (CSAT) is a customer experience metric that measures happiness with a product, service, or support interaction. Essentially, customer satisfaction asks your audience “How satisfied were you with [company].”

But how does this relate to increasing your bottom line?

Managing and maintaining customer satisfaction can land more sales and have a greater ROI than other marketing efforts. For example, 86% of consumers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience.

Additionally, CX and CSAT are emerging as important brand differentiators. Currently, only 46% of consumers believe the brands and businesses they buy from are prioritizing customers although many consumers are willing to pay more to feel more valued. Thus, standing out among your competitors means providing a better customer experience and prioritizing customer satisfaction.

Why do so many brands get customer experience wrong?

Yes, customer satisfaction seems intuitive. So why do organizations struggle to prevent churn and measure the experiences of their own customers?

Here are a few common roadblocks:

  1. Organizations are unaware of existing customer satisfaction tools.
  2. Some brands don’t quite understand why customer experience is important and how it can affect revenue.
  3. Smaller teams, in particular, have the misconception that measuring customer satisfaction zaps up too many resources.
  4. Conversely, larger teams keep customer experience siloed (i.e. marketing focused on growth CX while support and engineering may be more concerned with product shortcomings)
  5. Some teams want to collect feedback from their customers, but don’t know what to ask, how to ask, and when/where to survey their customers.

The only way to incorporate CX and CSAT into your growth marketing efforts is to effectively measure and act on customer feedback. Prebuilt survey templates that incorporate proven survey methodologies (NPS, CSAT, CES, etc.) are an easy CX hack to take action on customer sentiment.

What are NPS, CSAT, CES and other CX measurement methodologies?

Before exploring the types of customer survey templates out there, let’s take a look at different styles of customer surveys and what they measure. A brief understanding of what these surveys ask will help you choose the survey template that’s best for the customer feedback you want collected.

Customer survey templates take the guesswork out of deciding what to ask customers

Deciding what to ask your customers may seem daunting. Regardless of the information you’re looking to collect from your audience, any customer survey template should include questions proven to surface helpful feedback. Choosing a pre-built template that takes into account the psychology of how questions are phrased, how they’re delivered, and when they’re delivered, saves teams time and resources.

Moreover, the survey templates that drive the most results incorporate current industry best practices — both in the quality of the questions asked and how/when these surveys are delivered. Additionally, customer survey best practices include capturing feedback data in a way that is easy to manage and actionable. All of this should be considered when choosing a prebuilt customer survey template.

Here at Delighted, we’ve done the research for you. Each one of our customer survey templates incorporates effective and easy-to-answer survey questions optimized for delivery across a variety of platforms. You can also add follow-up questions to the templates for a fully customized survey.

Choosing the best customer survey template for your needs

Not sure where to start? We recommend working backwards to decide the type of feedback that you want by asking yourself these simple questions:

  • How loyal are our customers? Can we identify the ones who may be close to churning and take action? Go with an NPS survey.
  • How can we benchmark the current state of our customers’ experiences? Choose NPS or CSAT.
  • Do our customers feel that the services we provide (sales, support, etc.) are easily delivered and accessible? Use CSAT and CES surveys.

Once you establish the type of information you want to collect, choose a customer survey template and platform that meets the following criteria:

  • Optimized for high response rates: these are templates that incorporate well-researched survey questions and are designed to look great via evey delivery mechanism.
  • Customizable: your customers will be more likely to respond to a survey if they recognize where it comes from. This means the ability to apply your brand’s colors and attach your logo to any surveys that you send out.
  • Unique follow-up questions: customizable follow-up questions allow your team to dive deeper into the feedback your customers provide. It’s essential that the survey template and platform you choose has this capability.
  • Can collect pinpointed feedback: choose a survey platform that can deliver prebuilt NPS, CSAT, and CES surveys.
  • Multi-channel delivery: select a platform that allows you to deliver your survey across a variety of channels.

These prebuilt customer survey templates are easy to edit and can be sent out in minutes. Take Delighted for a test drive and survey 250 customers with the customizable template of your choice.

Collecting feedback: where, when and how often to deliver your customer survey

The next step in using a prebuilt customer survey template to collect feedback is deciding how this survey will be delivered, when it will be delivered, and how often you want to contact your customers.

How your survey reaches your audience is a key to obtaining customer feedback. Best-in-class customer experience platforms make it easy to send out surveys that reach your customers through channels that make them more inclined to provide feedback. Let’s explore some top ways that surveys can be delivered and their benefits:

  • Email: email surveys are a simple and direct way to gather feedback from your customers. No links to external surveys – the ability to reply directly in the email yields the best results.
  • Web: no email addresses required! Visitors to your website are automatically shown a survey. They’re easy to deploy and you can get up and running in minutes, not days.
  • SMS: reach your customers on any device in their pocket. Flip phone or smartphone. With SMS, feedback is a text message away.
  • Link survey: the most flexible survey distribution method. Survey link URLs turn any customer touchpoint into an opportunity to gather brand and customer experience feedback — even in a physical location utilizing links and QR codes.

Deciding when to collect feedback can be as important as how it’s delivered. For any audience, you’ll always want to allow enough time for your customer to experience your product or service, but not so much time that the experience is no longer fresh.

With modern feedback platforms like Delighted, you have the flexibility to survey customers at the most optimal moment in their journey. That moment varies by business type, but is always centered around the point where a customer has experienced enough of your product or service to be able to confidently recommend it, or not.

When it comes to how often your team uses customer survey templates, err on the side of caution. Soliciting feedback too often from your customers can create survey fatigue which can contribute to low response rates and a negative perception of your brand. An easy way to avoid this is by choosing a customer experience platform with built-in survey throttling.

Throttling automatically ensures that the same person, identified by their email address or phone number, isn’t sent or shown a survey more than once in a given period. Throttling is a great way to keep your customers engaged and collect feedback without bombarding them with texts and emails.

Do more with Delighted

Prebuilt customer survey templates are a great way to fast-track your customer feedback process. A rich understanding of your customers’ expectations and if they’re successfully being met can influence many aspects of your marketing, sales, product optimization, and support processes.

Start collecting feedback from your customers now. Delighted offers an array of prebuilt survey templates designed for high response rates and deep insights via a fully integrated dashboard.

Start your free trial (no credit card required) and kick off your customer experience program today.

Voice of the Customer question examples and methodologies

All businesses rely on customer loyalty for brand recognition and revenue growth. How often they come back to purchase products and services, how dedicated they are to your brand, and whether they are happy with the customer service or not matters to the success of your company. Voice of the Customer, or VoC, identifies how well your business and employees know your customers and determines if you are successfully addressing their needs and expectations.

A Voice of the Customer program reveals how your brand measures up to customer expectations and your competition. VOC feedback can propel new business initiatives through a more nuanced understanding of your customers’ needs, perceptions, and decision-making processes.

In this post, we explore some common VoC questions and methodologies, and review how they can help you improve the customer experience through actionable feedback.

Why VoC feedback matters to the success of your company

Knowing how customers perceive your company is necessary to run a successful business. To understand their point of view you first need to ask yourself:

  • Do you understand their purchasing patterns and behaviors?
  • Can you help your customers with your products and services?
  • Do you know how to fulfill your customer’s needs?

VoC surveys are the first step towards answering those questions. The resulting feedback provides an outside-in look into your brand’s strengths and weaknesses, enabling your team to continue doing what’s working well and address what you could be doing better.

Voice of the Customer survey in a web and mobile experience for quality feedback

VoC bridges the gap between customer expectations and experience by asking your customers the right questions at the right time. Collecting feedback and analyzing it in real time is a quick way to see the gaps between your customers’ expectations and the overall satisfaction delivered.

Additionally, easily digestible customer feedback allows you to:

  • Retain and gain customers.
  • Spot signs that customers aren’t happy and why to get ahead of any potential brand crises.
  • Gauge where new products, ideas or concepts will be most valuable.
  • Customize products, features, and service to your customers.
  • Provide them what they need to meet their expectations.

The more successful you are at creating an experience that meets the expectations of your customers, the more successful you are at running a business that stays relevant in today’s marketplace.

How do you gain this valuable feedback? By asking what, why and how questions.

Common VoC question examples

Asking questions is a great way to get specific feedback from your customers. It’s important to keep these questions simple and easily understandable for your audience.

Start by segmenting your audience into the customers whose experiences align to their expectations from those whose don’t.

From there, you’ll have the opportunity to ask follow up questions that narrow down why experiences are being met or not, allowing you to analyze VoC feedback from the customers that matter most to your business objectives. Common questions used to identify VoC include:

Recommendations and brand loyalty questions

Recommendation survey questions, such as those used in a Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey, allow you to assess how loyal customers are to your business and brand. NPS surveys use a 0-10 scale and an open-ended follow-up question.

NPS survey question 1: How likely are you to recommend this business, company, product, service, or website to others?

NPS survey question 2: Why did you answer the way you did? This is an open-ended question that further probes customer motivation.

Follow-up loyalty questions shine more light on customer motivation:

  • What might prevent you from continuing to do business with us over time? Use multiple choice with free-form “other” option. Choices might include: Customer service quality, Product selection and availability, Product quality, Pricing
  • How likely are you to switch to another brand, company, product, or service? Use a sliding or numeric scale from very likely to very unlikely.

Results and value received Voice of the Customer questions

Questions designed to measure the value your customers obtain from using your products or services can help your team collect deeper insight into what’s working and what’s not.

  • Did you find what you were looking for?
  • Did anything prevent you from completing your purchase?
  • Is there a product or service you were looking for that we did not have?
  • Did our customer service help you resolve an issue? Follow up with an open-ended “Why or why not?”
  • Were you satisfied with our company, product or service? Great sliding scale or Yes/No option
  • What are the most important [qualities/characteristics] you look for in a company, product, or service? A multiple-choice answer is a good option for this question. Remember to provide an open-ended other field or a none of the above option.

Origins VoC question examples

Origin questions are designed to provide a deeper insight into the discovery phase your customers experienced when first interacting with your brand.

  • How did you hear about our company, product, or service?
  • Where did you learn about our company, product, or service?

Brand perception questions

Brand perception is how your business, products, and services are perceived in the mind of customers, prospects, employees, and other stakeholders. Simply put, a brand is an idea or collection of ideas tied to your company or product.

Here are some sample brand perception questions to get you started:

  • When you think about our company, product, or service, what comes to mind?
  • Where have you seen or heard of our brand, company, product, or service over the last 2 months?

Want more ideas for questions to ask? Check out these 52 customer satisfaction questions to ask your customers, organized by customer journey stage.

As you go through these question examples, you may have realized that you’ve been asked these questions yourself at department or grocery stores. The clerk might ask: “Did you find what you were looking for today?” If you say yes, they’ll know you are satisfied. If you say no, they’ll know they didn’t meet your expectations.

And that’s the thing — customers often provide valuable feedback without realizing they’re being surveyed. As a business, what you need to do is ensure that feedback is captured systematically, which leads us into the next section: tried-and-true voice of the customer methodologies.

Voice of the Customer methodologies for increased feedback

There are many ways to gather feedback from your customers, including active and passive methods. Each interaction with your customer offers you a chance to gain feedback and insight into their habits and behaviors, their satisfaction, and their loyalty to your brand.

Active feedback methods

With active methods, your company solicits feedback directly from the customer by questioning them directly after purchase, or on a predetermined schedule, such as once a month or twice a year. Active methods include customer surveys, focus groups, and customer interviews.

Voice of the Customer surveys

Online surveys are a more common approach to gaining customer feedback. Sending customer surveys after an interaction is one of the fastest ways to gather feedback. Once a customer purchases a product, uses a service, interacts with employees, or navigates your website, you can ask them questions about their experience.

These types of surveys come in many forms, from multiple-choice, to yes/no or thumbs up thumbs down, and even open-ended questionnaires.

Asking the right questions matters when surveying customers. For example, NPS surveys measure customer loyalty while CSAT surveys measure customer satisfaction.

Using a survey platform like Delighted’s will help ensure you’re following survey best practices for quality feedback.

Thumbs surveys are an easy way to segment your customers by satisfaction

Focus groups

Focus groups bring together a small group of customers who share perceptions and observations about your company and brand. When customers openly discuss your brand, they’ll share opinions and beliefs you might not otherwise learn through other feedback methods. This is a great way to prioritize customer needs or test new concepts, ideas, and products.

What you need to be careful about in focus groups is allowing one participant to drive the core conversation, which could lead you to over-index on what may not actually be a big issue.

Customer interviews

Interviewing customers is one of the best ways to collect customer feedback. Interacting this way is perceived by customers as a more personal approach. Interviews take place via email, on the phone, or in-person and are a great way to build trust and form a relationship with your customers. Use interviewing techniques to gain insight into customers’ point of view about specific aspects of your company.

Passive feedback methods

Passive methods of gathering feedback are when the customer initiates an interaction with your company rather than the company surveying the customer. This requires employees of the company to closely monitor or listen to the interaction and dig for insights from the customer. Passive methods include live chat, support call data, social media reviews and messages, other online reviews, and website behaviors.

Live chat

With interactive websites today, customers like being able to reach out for help or ask questions through live chat. Live chat gives you insights into customers’ purchasing behavior and website usage in real-time. Sometimes, chats are used to help with a purchase, to find a product, or to even complain about price, lack of product or a website that isn’t functioning properly. Questions and complaints help you understand why the customer is frustrated, giving you the opportunity to resolve their issues immediately.

Customer support call data

Using recorded data from customer support phone calls helps you determine how your customers perceive your brand, if their expectations are being met and what issues or objections they might have. Although time-consuming to organize, customer support call data provides invaluable feedback from customers.

Social media/social listening as a VoC tool

Millions of people use social media to interact with businesses every day. In fact, some companies have built their entire strategy off of the benefits social media can provide. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn are all places online where customers can leave feedback and even post reviews. Additionally, your customers can easily influence the purchase decisions of others by expressing feedback with comments, posts, and reviews.

According to Qualtrics, 67% of customers are influenced by social media reviews. Moreover, social media allows you to observe and participate in customer conversations. While more difficult to track without a dedicated social listening team, social media is perfect for collecting unfiltered feedback, finding trends, and even addressing issues or concerns in an open forum.

Online reviews

Online reviews are another great way to gain passive feedback from customers. Review sites like Yelp and Google offer options for collecting valuable data about your customers.

Web behavior

Outside of live chats and online surveys, analyzing customer website behavior is a great way to obtain passive feedback. With analysis tools you can determine where your customers live, which pages customers visit the most, how far past the homepage they travel, which products or services are the most popular, and also which pages or products aren’t seeing many hits.

While there are many ways to gain valuable feedback from your customers, surveys are the easiest option. Using a platform like Delighted allows you to choose the best survey for your needs, automate your surveys and data collection, and analyze results faster than most other manual and passive methods.

Sign up today for a Delighted free trial to send 250 voice of the customer surveys for free. It’s easy, and VoC results will start rolling in right away.

How to choose the best customer experience management software for your business

It’s well-known that a customer’s experience with a brand is a major part of what makes or breaks a relationship. In an American Express survey, one in three respondents said that they would not return to a business again after a single bad experience.

Because of this, more and more brands are leveraging data to find out what their customers are experiencing, and how to improve.

However, dealing with all that data and understanding what it means can be challenging. Fortunately, an easy-to-use customer experience management (CXM or CEM) platform makes it possible to manage and understand the quality of your brand experience.

A good customer experience platform will allow you to get insights for every customer-facing touchpoint you care about. Your customer experience management software should help you organize, automate, and sync data and insights so that you can service all your existing customers efficiently, respond quickly to issues, and use what you learn to keep current customers and earn new business.

What to consider when comparing platforms

Asking yourself the right questions before you choose a CXM platform ensures that the option you pick will serve your organization’s needs.

Here are the top 7 questions to consider:

1. What are you trying to accomplish by gathering feedback?

This is the million-dollar question. Your goals for implementing a customer experience program dictate the features you’ll need.

For example:

  • Is there a global behavior (a drop in customer retention) you can’t easily explain?
  • Is there a specific customer pain point you’ve already identified that you want deeper insight on how to fix?
  • Do you need a way to help monitor and improve the performance of your customer service team?
  • Are you looking for a way to improve adoption of a new product feature?

Once you have an idea of what you’re trying to accomplish, the feature set will make itself clear. The remaining questions below help you think through the options.

2. How many survey types do you want?

When you evaluate solutions, make sure the customer feedback surveys provided cover all your bases.

The two categories of surveys to use are based on the type of feedback you want: relational feedback or transactional feedback.

Relational feedback surveys (e.g. Net Promoter Score) gauge how your customers feel about your brand overall, while transactional feedback surveys (e.g. Customer Satisfaction or Customer Effort Score surveys) focus on specific customer touchpoints, such as the quality of a customer service interaction.

Read our guide on relationship versus transactional surveys for a detailed breakdown on use cases.

Most businesses will be interested in using multiple survey types, as well as various scale types, such as smiley faces or stars. The ability to customize additional questions to get deeper insights on your customer base is also a plus.

In short, look for a customer experience platform that will give you access to the customer experience surveys you anticipate wanting.

3. What channels will you use to send surveys to your customers?

If you reach out to customers in the channels they’re used to, they’ll be more likely to respond to your surveys. So, when you’re thinking about gathering feedback, consider what survey distribution method you’ll be using.

Email, web or in-app, and link surveys are popular, since they’re convenient for the customer and easy for the business to deploy. SMS surveys, provided you have permission to text your customers, are also a good option.

The more versatile your CXM platform is, the wider range of customers you’ll get to respond.

4. How easily can the system be set up?

Can you do it quickly without having to dig into the code? Do you have access to software developers and designers to implement your survey program?

If a system is too complicated to implement, it can keep your team away from the work that they were hired for.

When vetting a solution, consider the internal resources at your disposal. A lightweight, turnkey CXM solution might be what you need to get your program off the ground.

5. Do you want to integrate your feedback back into your existing toolset?

If you are using systems such as Shopify or Zendesk, look for a CX platform that can trigger survey sends based on customer behavior, and automatically export and incorporate the feedback data.

This way, you can avoid duplicating effort transferring information back and forth, and your team won’t have to learn a new platform. They can act off of customer feedback in their day-to-day tools.

6. How are you going to be analyzing the feedback?

Some people love segmenting and analyzing data in Excel. Others, not so much.

CXM platforms with built-in analysis and reporting tools cut down on the amount of time you need to dig for insights.

On the other hand, if you have a robust setup, maybe all you need your CXM platform to do is pipe all the feedback data into your analytics platform.

7. What sort of service can you expect?

When you have an issue, you don’t want to waste precious hours straightening it out yourself. Look for a CX company that offers white-glove service that is considered best in class.

Look for these must-have customer experience management platform features

Overwhelmed by the options?

These are the features that we find are the must-haves for companies who are interested in using their customer experience management platform to understand customer sentiment and use what they learn to improve their brand experience:

Customizable survey templates

A cohesive look and feel throughout your organization’s surveys can help reinforce a positive experience and stay on-brand with the products or services being provided. From personal notes to custom product names and even multilingual surveys, look for one that gives you the most flexibility.

Create custom customer surveys to suit you brand easily with Delighted.

An ability to run multiple survey projects

In an organization of any size, chances are good that you have multiple CX factors to track. Running multiple projects means you can get more data more quickly.

Control how often surveys are sent and when your customers receive them

Sending surveys too often or too seldom both have their drawbacks. You should be able to send at just the right time to keep people engaged, but not overload them.

Additionally, different times of day or different days of the week may be better to get responses. Choose a platform that allows you to send surveys when they are most wanted.

Multiple survey distribution methods

Some customers prefer to be contacted through your app. Others are more amenable to email or in-browser surveys. By choosing an option that allows you to reach out over multiple channels, you can get a wider range of responses.

Segmentation and analysis

It’s important to learn not just what your customers as a whole think, but also what different groups within them feel. Are you finding that customers from a certain location tend to have a better experience? Or that customers using a particular product tend to be more dissatisfied?

Your CX platform should help you segment and analyze your feedback. Segmentation can help you understand what you are doing right with each group and what actions you need to take to improve experiences.

Closing the loop on feedback

What if your customer service teams could learn about and respond to negative feedback automatically?

This allows you to make your CX data more powerful than ever. You won’t just be getting lessons to improve in the future. You can close the loop, fix a customer issue, and improve a customer relationship.

CXM platforms should come with features to help you notify and alert relevant teams so they can jump on the issue. Better yet, integrations pipe feedback directly to them.

APIs and integrations

Look for CX management options that integrate with other applications and platforms that are integral to your business. By choosing platforms that work with the software that you use every day, you can implement what you learn more easily.

Many platforms, from Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools to help desk software, also bundle in customer experience surveys as add-ons. If you’re considering going down that route, check that you’ll be able to request feedback using the survey types and channels you need. Also, vet the reporting and analysis features of those add-ons, so you won’t need to spend hours in spreadsheets to aggregate and get insights from the feedback collected.

Customer experience is poised to become one of the most important metrics for organizations who wish to grow their business. Temkin found that businesses with $1 billion in sales can expect to increase their business by $700 million within three years of implementing CX systems.

By choosing a CX software platform that gives you the data you value most, you can ensure that the CX platform you choose makes it easy to get the insights that you need.

How to kickstart a customer experience program

Delivering great customer experiences results in stronger brand loyalty and can truly set your company apart from the competition. The challenge is in doing so consistently and seamlessly across your organization.

An effective customer experience program can help with just that.

With the number of customer experience consultants and enterprise software vendors out there preaching complete organizational transformation (and requiring extensive budgets), it can be easy to believe that launching a customer experience program is a giant undertaking.

It doesn’t have to be.

In fact, in this post, we will teach you how you can kickstart a customer experience program and share tips from top brands on how they got started.

What is a customer experience program?

Before we dive into the process of launching your first customer experience program, let’s get on the same page about what one is.

“A customer experience program refers to the tools and processes used to implement your customer experience management strategy.”

Delighted’s 20 Customer Experience Terms to Know

In other words, a customer experience program is the system of execution for customer experience management. It is the process and tools you use to improve the touchpoints and interactions customers have with your company and the resulting perceptions from those interactions.

5 steps to launching and running an effective customer experience program

With terminology out of the way, here is the process you can start today to get a world-class customer experience program going.

1. Be the change agent your company needs

Yes, you, the reader of this blog post can not just get the ball rolling, but actually build it out. Building your first customer experience program does not require consultants or expensive software. Zero budget needs to be pre-approved.

You simply need to take the initiative and start simple.

“You don’t need to start out with a fancy, tricked-out system. Just start getting some feedback in the easiest, lightest way you can. Soon enough, you will learn how you want to customize and do more.”

— Zoe Soto, Product Manager at Glassdoor and a Delighted customer

The most basic components of a customer experience program are:

  1. Implementing a process for gathering customer feedback and experience data.

  2. Mobilizing your team to take action on that data to improve customer experiences.

The best place to start is within your company on the front lines.

Go talk with your customer-facing department leaders (sales, support, customer success, marketing, product, etc.). You don’t have to talk with everyone, just whoever can give you insight on how customers experience your company.

Take note of the steps customers go through, any tools used to interact with customers at those steps, and any insight they can share on how those interactions could be improved.

“Keep it simple. Do not over-complicate it internally or for your customer.”

— Cassie Layton, Head of Marketing at Happy Returns and a Delighted customer

While you’re at it, get buy-in internally for your effort and let people know you will be following up on how they can get more involved.

2. Start with a high priority customer experience

From your internal interviewing, you likely have identified at least some high level areas that need to be improved about your customer experience.

For a more detailed view, you can go a step further by creating a customer journey map. In short, a customer journey map is a visual representation of the various interactions and touchpoints a customer has with your company.

But, to get things started, you should at least have a goal in mind for a specific customer interaction that needs to be improved. You can expand your customer experience program to every touchpoint and interaction later.

For example, you’ve learned from your company’s product lead that a high rate of new users are signing out before they reach the point where value is delivered. And, of those that do, most never come back. There is something about the new user experience that is turning people off.

Your goal should be to get to the bottom of this and improve the experiences at fault.

“Because we didn’t have a goal, we didn’t have a process in place for how to act on the feedback that we received. A couple months in, we were like ‘Oh, yeah, we’re measuring this, but we really should connect some strategy into why we’re measuring it and what we can expect to do with that.’ So, my first recommendation would be not to just do it arbitrarily. Have a plan.”

— Lindsey Redinger, Manager of User Research Operations at Invision and a Delighted customer

While we recommend kicking off your customer experience program small, the impact can still be large…if you have a strategic goal and intent going in.

3. Gather data on the customer experience

Once you have your goal in mind, you need to gain intelligence on the relevant customer experiences.

You may know from analytics that specific features of your product are not being used or that there are specific points where new users are dropping off. But, you need to learn WHY they are.

“Okay, is this about our services? Is this about our products? Is this about a white paper that they read? What are they feeling right now and how can we, as a company, make sure that we capitalize on whatever that moment is?”

— Laura Reigel, Senior Customer Marketing Manager at PayScale and a Delighted customer

This is where customer experience surveying comes in.

Customer experience surveys are designed to provide you both quantitative (numerical metrics) and qualitative (written feedback) data that offer much more context together than analytics alone. Context you can act on to improve experiences and drive real improvement.

Here are a few examples of how you could leverage top CX survey types within the scenario described above:

  • Trigger Customer Effort Score (CES) surveys in your product interface after specific features are used to learn how easy or difficult they were to use. This could help you identify the specific features that are causing issues.

  • Send a Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey by email to your core user base on a regular basis, and map the scores and comments to the behavior of those who are active users as well as those who churn. This will help give you feedback and scoring data on why people stayed or left, found value or didn’t.

The good news is, with the Delighted customer experience survey platform, you can create and deliver all of these CX surveys in minutes!

4. Uncover actionable customer experience insights

Say you have now created and sent your first CX surveys. Feedback and survey ratings are rolling in. Your NPS, CES, etc. scores have been calculated.

The feedback provided in your user’s own words and their ratings are valuable on their own. But, even more valuable and actionable insights can be found through deeper analysis of the aggregate data collected.

You just need the right tools for the job.

Ideally, you are using a CX survey platform that offers a real-time feedback dashboard where feedback can be filtered, sorted, and tagged. Delighted offers this as well as the ability to create trends based on common themes you are seeing in your feedback.

“Every time we open up Delighted we find a new way to improve, which at the end of the day is why we are doing this.”

— JT Marino, Founder at Tuft & Needle and a Delighted customer

Even better if the solution offers advanced reporting that lets you create segments of users surveyed and compare their survey results against each other — which Delighted provides as well.

The right CX analysis tools can help you identify exactly what is holding specific user segments back from gaining value from your service and how you can adapt to improve those experiences.

5. Enable ongoing customer experience improvement

With actionable insights in hand, it’s time to take action.

Sometimes the solutions are straightforward. Customers are confused about how a feature works or are having trouble setting up their account. Besides making the product easier to use, you’ll also know to prioritize creating self-serve knowledge base content to help them.

There are likely issues that come up within the feedback that can and should be quickly resolved, such as big fixes or confusion that can be cleared by sharing content with the customer. Focus there first. Then, prioritize larger efforts such as new product development.

What is most important to establishing and growing an effective customer experience program is setting yourself up for continuous improvement across your organization.

Set up ongoing customer experience surveying for more and more of your critical customer touchpoints.

Follow up with customers that are neither excited nor unhappy about your service to proactively improve their experience before it is too late.

“If you’re proactive in your approach, you can get ahead of any issues.”

— Rebecca Sherman, Head of Account Management and Ad Operations at The Hustle and a Delighted customer

Track, benchmark, and analyze your survey results over time to see customer sentiment as changes are made.

And make sure that all your customer-facing tools connect to your customer experience surveying data through integration. This way the customer experience data and insights are in the right hands at the right time to positively impact customer experiences in the moment.

Conclusion

If you have talked with CX consultants or read any other content out there on implementing a customer experience program, it is likely the process felt daunting and expensive.

With this post, you can take the lead to kick off an effective customer experience program as soon as today.

And using Delighted to do so won’t cost your company a thing to get started. Create a free account now to launch your first customer experience program today.

What is digital CX? The digital customer experience journey

The fast rise of digital channels where consumers can engage with or talk about your brand has created loads of challenges.

71% of consumers want a consistent experience across all channels, but only 29% say they actually get it.

Consumers will leave your business altogether if they aren’t getting a personalized experience across channels. 33% of consumers who ended their relationship with a company in 2018 did so because the experience wasn’t personalized enough.

But, these shifts in consumer behavior have also created a great opportunity for the brands that embrace this new digital reality and prioritize digital transformation for their organization.

56% of CEOs said digital improvements have led to revenue growth. Multi-channel customers spend 4% more in store and 10% more online than single-channel customers. For every additional channel they use, customers spend more money.

To stay ahead of the curve and reap these rewards, you must have a deliberate strategy for measuring and improving digital customer experiences.

In this post, we’ll discuss what Digital Customer Experience (DCX) means for your specific organization, and share the steps you need to take to continually improve digital customer experiences moving forward.

What is Digital Customer Experience (DCX)?

Let’s get started with a general definition of digital customer experience:

“Digital customer experience refers to the overall perception of your brand in the eyes of your customer — built upon the accumulated, consistent interactions they have with your brand specifically across digital platforms.”

— from Delighted’s 20 customer experience terms to know

Some examples of digital platforms you may want to prioritize digital customer experience efforts on:

  • Social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.)
  • Live chat and email
  • Your website
  • Mobile apps
  • Digital kiosks and Internet-of-Things (IoT) hardware
  • Desktop and Software-as-a-Service software

Digital customer experience management isn’t about simply managing specific digital channels and ensuring they work well. It also isn’t an effort only marketing or sales should focus on.

Customers expect seamless access and personalized interactions from you, throughout the entire customer journey. Whether that be on digital or non-digital channels.

Digital customer experience management focuses on being aware of the digital touchpoints you share with your customers across platforms and continually improving the experience your customers have within and in-between those touchpoints.

How (and why) to map your digital customer experience journey

To improve the digital experiences that your customers have with your brand, you need to first understand what those digital experiences are.

Digital customer journey mapping can help with this.

In the diagram below, you can see the stages customers go through from first discovering your brand all the way to their first point of purchase and your relationship with them moving forward.

Example of a digital customer journey map

Along their journey, customers will experience and engage your brand at multiple touchpoints. It is important that you determine what these touchpoints are for your unique business.

Each touchpoint provides an opportunity to either create a positive experience that increases brand loyalty, or a negative one that loses customers.

It’s your job to ensure more of the former. How you ask? By measuring how people experience these touchpoints and by taking action to improve them.

How to improve digital customer experiences

The process of measuring and improving digital customer experiences is straightforward: gather data on each experience, find insights in the data on how to improve, and then take action on those insights.

1. Gather intelligence on digital customer experiences

Seeing as there are multiple channels and touchpoints where interactions happen, there are multiple methods for gathering intelligence on each interaction.

Social media monitoring and management tools can help you monitor social media channels and respond to brand mentions. Customer Relationship Management (CRM), live chat, and customer support platforms help your sales and support teams directly communicate with customers and keep track of direct engagements. Customer analytics allows you to track and report on how customers actually use your service.

But, there is only one method that helps you gather direct customer feedback and quantitative data across digital touchpoints: customer experience surveying.

Using the right customer experience survey software, surveys can be triggered or sent after any digital customer interaction and can be delivered to customers via multiple digital channels.

Here are a few digital CX survey example scenarios:

  • Send a Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) survey by email after a completed customer support ticket to gauge how satisfied the customer is with your customer service rep’s response.

  • Share a visual rating survey (5-star, smiley face, thumbs up/down) via a link in a live chat conversation or in reply to a comment on social media to learn how to improve interactions.

  • Trigger a Customer Effort Score (CES) survey right within your product interface after a customer uses a specific product feature to determine how easy or difficult it was to use, according to the customer.

  • Send a Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey by SMS text message to customers after they used both your Internet-of-Things (IoT) hardware device and your mobile app to see how happy the customer is with your product and how willing they are to recommend it to others.

Customer experience surveys collect ratings on the experience that can be calculated into CX scores to benchmark and improve upon over time. But, customers are also asked a followup question (or multiple) where they can provide written feedback on their experience as well. By asking customers how they are experiencing your service, you gain context from their words that numbers can rarely convey on their own.

This combo of quantitative data (CX scores) and qualitative data (words directly from customers) provide valuable context for uncovering insights you can act on.

2. Uncover digital customer experience insights

With sufficient, contextual intelligence on how customers are experiencing your digital customer experience touchpoints, it’s time to find actionable insights to improve those experiences.

You don’t have to be a data scientist to do this. You just need the right process and tools.

Here is a straightforward process for uncovering digital customer experience insights you can act on:

  1. Read incoming feedback! With the right customer experience surveying platform, feedback arrives in real-time. So, it is best to read feedback as it happens so that any time-sensitive issues can be addressed quickly.

  2. Categorize feedback based on keywords such as the location or product mentioned, “customer service,” specific features, etc.

  3. Sort feedback within your keyword categories into positive and negative sentiment.

  4. Take note of trends based on the keywords you are filtering by, your sentiment sorting, and the customer experience scores for each of these segments.

  5. Compare feedback and CX scores across your segments (filters, sorting, etc,) and with other data you have collected on the surveyed customers, such as notes in your CRM, past support conversations, and the actions each surveyed customer has taken via your customer analytics tracking.

The above process helps you add context to your customer feedback and CX score data for your various digital customer touchpoints. Context that will help you prioritize what needs to be improved first and how to go about it.

Now, you could do all of that manually, but it is much easier with the right customer experience survey platform and the other tools used for customer data collection and reporting mentioned in step 1.

3. Take action to improve digital customer experiences

Now that you uncovered insights for improving your digital customer experiences, it’s time to get work!

First of all, there are likely customers that have provided feedback and are eagerly awaiting resolution. More than half of consumers expect a response from customer service within an hour, even on weekends.

Beyond resolving immediate issues, you should aim to close the loop with your other customer segments.

  • Follow up with passive customers
    Your digital customer experience data and feedback collection will uncover customers that are neither extremely happy nor unhappy with you. This is often a large segment that provides great opportunity for improvement through proactive engagement. Reach out to get to know what will turn them into a promoter that raves about your service to others.

  • Turn happy customers into advocates
    Customers that provide positive feedback shouldn’t be taken for granted. Give these customers an easy path to promote your service to others. Show them how they can gain additional value from you that could increase the amount of money they spend with your business.

  • Learn from unhappy customers
    Negative feedback or complaints shared by customers online can feel personal, but it is important to consider unhappy customers as opportunities to gain constructive insights for improvement. You may also be surprised how quickly vocal unhappy customers can turn into vocal brand advocates with tactful engagement.

To enable proactive customer engagement and quick follow up, your digital customer experience data and insights need to be in the right hands at the right time. Do this by using tools that connect well with each other for a seamless flow of information.

Insights readily available across your teams also make it easier to inform larger efforts, such as new product development, business strategy, and operations policy.

Conclusion

We live in a new digital age where consumers expect quick responses to their issues with your business and proactive improvement to their experiences – across a multitude of digital channels.

With the process described in this post and the right customer experience platform, you can have an effective digital customer experience strategy up and running in no time.

Delighted makes it incredibly easy to execute the digital customer experience strategy detailed in this post. From sending surveys and collecting feedback, to benchmarking data over time to enable continuous improvement across your digital customer journey. Sign up for a Delighted free trial and get started!

Customer testimonials: The complete testimonial marketing guide

Testimonials have been used in marketing campaigns for decades. Rather than only using celebrities to create these testimonials, companies have learned that real faces and real people can also create a strong sense of trust with newcomers to their brand. Customer testimonials are so powerful that they can motivate even the most hesitant shoppers to buy.

Strategically placing customer testimonials on your website and throughout your marketing campaigns can help you get more qualified leads, boost sales overall, and ultimately help increase revenue.

In this post, we’ll cover:

What are customer testimonials?

Customer testimonials are reviews that businesses use to provide social proof that a business has delivered on the promises of their products and services. These testimonials are powerful because they provide past customers with an opportunity to speak of their experience and explain how a business has met or exceeded their expectations. This feedback serves as evidence to help convince new customers that your brand is worth their while.

An example of a customer testimonial on Sweet Inn, created with Delighted Testimonials

The main difference between a customer testimonial and a typical customer review is that customer testimonials are requested by you or another member of your team. Unlike reviews that live on sites like Yelp, G2Crowd, or Google My Business, your company has 100% control of where the testimonial is housed and who will see it.

Why are customer testimonials effective?

A customer testimonial plays on human psychology. When you see people waiting in line outside a restaurant or shop, you can’t help but wonder what the hype is all about. You may even join the line right on the spot. Customer testimonials work in a similar fashion — when someone who is on the fence sees others enjoying a product or service, they’ll be more likely to give it a try as well.

Reading about others’ experiences and seeing that there are real results is great positive social proof. Once they see the company’s promises are actually delivered via customer testimonials, prospective customers will be more likely to convert.

Rather than simply stating data and statistics, folks browsing your website can read about real experiences that back up your claims. In fact, a recent brand trust survey found “41% of consumers saying they don’t trust brands’ marketing communications to be accurate and truthful.” However, with testimonials to help you build credibility, customers will have all the social proof they need to trust you.

Customer reviews and testimonials can also significantly improve conversions and revenue. A 2018 study performed by BrightLocal showed that “86% of consumers of all ages read reviews for local businesses” and “91% of 18 to 34 year-olds will trust an online review just as much as they would trust a personal recommendation from a friend, family member, or coworker.”

That means that if you have 100,000 unique visitors landing on your website monthly, 91,000 of those unique visitors will treat the customer feedback on your site as if they heard it from someone in their close personal circle. If even just 1% of those 91,000 visitors are convinced by current customer testimonials, you’ll have 910 people who go from prospect to a qualified lead or a sale.

What are some examples of testimonial marketing?

Customer recommendations and reviews can be turned into numerous formats for customer testimonials.

An example of a quote testimonial.

Here are four different formats you can use to get started:

Client quote testimonials: Quote testimonials are easy to acquire whether you are new to your market or a well-established brand. To grab attention, combine these quotes with a photo of the customer or brand logo and a call-to-action (CTA) when possible.

Social media testimonials: Ask customers to leave feedback on your social platforms after providing a product or service. They can tag you, use a unique hashtag, or leave it directly on your page. Embed that social feed of user generated content on your website, so newcomers can get all the social proof they need.

Customer reviews and ratings: In addition to being displayed on your own website, customer reviews can also appear on marketplace (Amazon) or reviews sites (Yelp, Capterra). When possible, you can try to display “badges” from these sites with an aggregate rating or score, to show that you are a trusted vendor.

Influencer testimonials: Think of influencers as the celebrities of your industry. An influencer is trusted by your market, so getting an on-the-record endorsement of your company’s offering would be substantial social proof. If you aren’t currently connected to any influencers, here’s a handy guide on influencer marketing.

Along with the examples above, written or video case studies are another way to capture social proof and relay it to your market. These formats are more in depth and take a bit longer to launch. However, the investment is worthwhile, since they can be used in future marketing campaigns and be placed strategically throughout your website.

Quick tip: Remember to update your testimonials once in a while to maintain credibility. In fact, some studies have found that “73% of consumers think reviews older than three months are no longer relevant.”

At the very least, it’s always a good idea to remove testimonials about products or services that are no longer available.

How do you request high-quality, effective customer testimonials?

Now that you understand how powerful social proof can be and the various types of customer testimonials you can use, it’s time to go over how to get effective customer testimonials that speak to your brand’s strongest selling points.

Here are some of the most effective testimonial questions to ask:

  • What is the one reason you would recommend our product or service to a friend, family member, or coworker?
  • What problem(s) were you experiencing prior to your order that you hoped our product or service would solve?
  • How did your search for a solution begin?
  • Among all other options, why did our product or service stand out?
  • What particular feature made you want to buy our product or service?
  • What particular action from anyone on our team exceeded your expectations?
  • Is there anything we could have done to better serve your needs?

Customizable Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys and Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) surveys are a great way to capture this feedback. These surveys open with a generic “How likely are you to recommend [product/service]” or “How satisfied were you with [product/service]” question to capture a rating score, and then invite customers to elaborate on their reasons. You can also add any of the questions listed above for more detail.

It’s important to remember that any customer endorsement must have certain elements to maintain credibility. Be sure to ask for approval to reference all or some of the following elements:

  • Customer name
  • Title & business (if applicable)
  • Location
  • Product or service purchased
  • Customer picture
  • Brand logo (if applicable)

What’s the best time to ask for a testimonial?

Requesting a customer testimonial at the right time is imperative for getting a testimonial that is relevant and allows the customer to provide all the details you hope to see. Asking too early may not allow the customer ample time to enjoy their product and fully answer the questions asked. Requesting the testimonial too late may result in the customer forgetting pertinent details about the service they received.

The timing to request a customer testimonial largely depends on your industry.

Retail and ecommerce

Allow a couple days to pass after the product has been delivered to ensure your customers have had time to use it. For larger consumer goods like mattresses or exercise equipment, you’ll likely want to wait a few weeks to ask for a testimonial.

B2B and SaaS

You’ll probably want to ask for a testimonial after on-boarding is complete so you have social proof on your brand experience from purchase through set-up. After that, consider asking for a testimonial once you know that customer has seen value from your product to show proof of return on investment (ROI).

The channel you use to ask for the testimonial also matters. Whether you’re requesting testimonials via SMS text, chat, email, or in-app, be sure to use a channel that your customers are comfortable with.

If you’re using customer feedback surveys to drive your testimonial marketing efforts, follow proven survey distribution best practices to ensure you have the best chance of getting a quality response.

Where can you put customer testimonials on your website?

Once the customer feedback testimonials have been collected, placing them on your website is the next step. It’s important to remember that the customer testimonial must align with the message of the page you are placing it on. If the customer testimonial is talking about a specific product, it shouldn’t end up on your services page.

However, if the customer testimonial is about stellar customer service, it could go anywhere on your website. Make sure you are adding a variety of testimonials throughout your website so new visitors have plenty of social proof.

Here is a list of places where customer testimonials can go on your website:

  • Homepage: Establish credibility the moment someone lands on your website. Let customers know that you have, can, and will provide exceptional products and services.

  • Product pages: Shoppers want to be confident that a product works as advertised before making the purchase. Give them that confidence via testimonials from satisfied customers.

  • Service pages: Services take time out of a person’s day. Show potential customers that your services deliver on your promises and do not waste their time.

  • Customer service page: When a problem arises, customers want a solution — and they want it immediately. Customers need to know, if in the unfortunate event something goes wrong, that their concerns will be heard and a solution will be provided as quickly as possible.

  • Dedicated testimonial page: Gather all of your testimonials on one page for an undeniable treasure trove of social proof. If possible, try to include different testimonial formats. Provide a healthy mix of quotes, in-depth reviews, influencer testimonials, videos, and social media content.

  • Blog posts: While learning more information about your industry, business, products, or services, your prospects may be wondering how or why you’re an authority figure. All they need is a customer testimonial to show them you deliver on your promises. You can even link back to your dedicated testimonial page to display more social proof.

  • Next to a call-to-action: Nurture prospects to convert. If they are on the edge of clicking the CTA, you can give them the slight nudge they need to learn more or make a purchase with a testimonial.

Along with your website, be sure to use customer endorsements throughout your marketing campaigns. These testimonials can help convert prospects through your paid ads, email blasts, social media, and other places online.

Delighted is the easiest way to get customer testimonials

Customer testimonials are one of the most powerful tools you can have at your disposal. With Delighted Testimonials, you can easily gain feedback from your customers to turn into a website testimonial. The testimonial widget pulls in fresh testimonials as they’re approved, so you don’t need to worry about manually updating them.

We use proven methodologies to distribute your surveys at the correct time, so you can get the best possible customer feedback to use as a testimonial. Sign up for your free trial today!

The customer feedback-powered reputation marketing blueprint

Reputation marketing is becoming more and more prominent with the rise of review sites and consumer choice. Nearly every shopper (97%!) today considers online customer reviews in their buying decisions.

Clearly, increasing the number of positive reviews and decreasing negative reviews should be a priority for your business. But, how exactly do you achieve these objectives?

You know you have happy customers, but why aren’t more of them sharing testimonials and reviews?

And when negative reviews pop up, it’s too late. It’s now in the public sphere, and the best you can do is react. How do you stop bad reviews from happening in the first place?

The answer to these questions is to create a proactive reputation marketing strategy powered by customer feedback.

By consistently gathering customer feedback, you can drive more positive reviews and testimonials while stopping negative reviews in their tracks.

In this post, we show you how to get more customer feedback and turn that feedback into positive customer reviews and testimonials — even when the original feedback is negative.

Reputation marketing vs reputation management

You’ve likely heard about reputation management. There are entire businesses and consultants dedicated to “managing” your online reputation.

Most of the time, this work involves getting negative reviews taken off the web, or hiding them as much as possible. This practice is reactive.

In other words, the damage has been done, and the task is to hide the evidence. This doesn’t solve the core problem that caused the negative reviews: poor customer experiences.

Until the customer experience is improved, the negative reviews will keep popping up like a game of whack-a-mole!

On the other hand, reputation marketing focuses on leveraging positive reviews, testimonials, and brand advocates to drive new business and customer loyalty.

How to gain and leverage customer feedback for reputation marketing

Now that you know the difference between reputation management and reputation marketing, let’s dive into how to get more positive reviews and testimonials to promote while stopping negative reviews from happening in the first place. We’ve broken it down into 5 steps.

1. Collect customer feedback with customer surveys

At the risk of stating the obvious, customers want your company to meet and exceed their expectations.

You just need to make it easy for customers to tell you when you are exceeding their expectations and when you are missing the mark.

Fortunately, there are established customer experience surveys you can send customers throughout the customer journey to proactively collect feedback. This way, customers share feedback with you first, giving you the opportunity to properly address and leverage the feedback.

Here are 3 customer experience survey types to get started:

Create and deliver customer experience surveys in minutes with Delighted. Create a survey now for free.

Deliver these surveys to customers at the perfect time and place in the customer journey and watch as feedback rolls in. Choose the right survey questions and get high-quality feedback you can take action on.

2. Turn positive customer feedback into testimonials

Positive customer feedback shouldn’t just make you feel all fuzzy inside and sit idle in your email inbox.

Your customers’ words of affirmation can be turned into public-facing customer testimonials that allow your customers to be the champions of your company.

“This is why customer testimonials are so important. Instead of “taking your word” for it that your product or service is going to impact their lives positively, it lets real customers hear from other real customers why the decision they’re about to make is a good one.”

- Strategic Factory

Without incoming customer feedback, you typically would have to reach out directly to customers to ask them for a review or testimonial. It can be difficult to determine which customers to ask and how. On top of that, you’d be creating work for your customers that really only benefits you.

With customer feedback flowing in from your customer experience surveys, customer testimonials are ready-made, with very little extra work required from you or your customers.

Turn positive customer feedback into approved customer testimonials with ease using Delighted. Get started for free and get feedback in minutes.

You simply need to ask customers for permission to share their feedback publicly.

3. Showcase customer testimonials on your website

With your newly approved customer testimonials in hand, you need to decide where and how to showcase them for the biggest reputation marketing impact.

The most prime real estate for customer testimonials? Your website.

Website visitors who view testimonials are 105% more likely to make a purchase and spend 11% more than those that don’t.

After deciding where to showcase customer testimonials on your site, the typical challenge is with designing how the testimonials should look and then having a developer update your site. Not to mention, ensuring the testimonials look good on a variety of devices and screen sizes.

And, every time you have a new testimonial you want to feature, you may need to have your designer and developer go through the process all over again.

Delighted customer testimonial software makes it easy to design great-looking testimonials and publish them on your website. Try it out now free.

The solution is to use customer testimonial software that makes it easy to design how testimonials should look on your site and automatically updates to include new testimonials.

4. Encourage fans to share on review sites

If a customer is happy to have their testimonial public on your website, there’s a good chance they’ll be perfectly happy for that testimonial to be public elsewhere as well.

Product and service review sites have become a major source of influence for consumers, with 90% of customers claiming a review has made a positive impact on their decision to buy.

The more positive reviews you have on these sites, the higher your business will be listed in the review site’s search results and category pages. And, the more consumers will feel compelled to choose you over the competition.

Since the testimonials have already been written as a result of steps 1-3 above, it isn’t that big of an ask for customers to post their feedback on relevant review sites for your industry. Simply ask them if they will.

Here are top third-party review sites you may want to focus on, depending on your industry:

*Disclaimer: some review sites discourage soliciting reviews from customers, so proceed with caution.

Focus on driving ratings and reviews for one review site at a time, and you’ll have a new channel consistently driving new customers to you in no time.

5. Proactively respond to issues BEFORE they go public

The most successful reputation marketing strategy is proactive, ensuring negative reviews rarely go public in the first place.

If you can do this, you won’t need to hire an expensive reputation management company to attempt to remove or hide bad reviews.

Customer experience surveying allows you to consistently monitor customer sentiment and identify problems customers are having so you can proactively respond.

The quickness and quality of your response could even turn detractors into promoters of your business that spread positive word of mouth and reviews.

In the process, you might uncover issues that entire customer segments are experiencing. Fix those customer experience issues and every customer benefits, leading to more positive reviews and testimonials from customers that may not have otherwise spoken up.

Conclusion

Key takeaway: Collect and take action on customer feedback to improve customer experiences, and you will get more positive customer testimonials and reviews and fewer negative ones.

If you follow this reputation marketing blueprint, you’ll soon have a repository of highly valuable social proof on your website and 3rd-party sites to win over more customers, while keeping existing customers from ever considering the competition.

Everything detailed in this post can be done with Delighted — from collecting feedback to publish as website testimonials, to proactively engaging customers that provide negative feedback. Get started with your reputation marketing strategy today for free.

Introducing Testimonials: Turn customer feedback into social proof

The thrill of seeing customer feedback roll in never gets old – in fact, more than a few of our customers have referred to our real-time feed as “addictive.” But, after reading all of that feedback, it raises the question: “How do we share this awesome feedback with the rest of the world?”

Today, we’re excited to announce our answer: Testimonials. Now, not only can you gather more feedback than ever before using our previous feature updates (Projects, Smileys and Thumbs surveys, Link and QR code), you can turn all of that feedback into social proof on your website, too.

Add Testimonials to any page on your site, whether that’s the homepage to help you establish credibility right off the bat, or a purchase-oriented page to reassure potential customers that your solution is the way to go.

You can even create a dedicated testimonials page and showcase all your customer reviews in one place. You can check out our testimonials page here.

Testimonials help you do more with the great feedback you are gathering with Delighted, and further grow your business by sharing real customer experiences on your site.

How Testimonials works

For a detailed step by step guide, check out the Testimonials tutorial in our Help Center. Here’s the gist:

1. Set up your Testimonials widget

Like everything else in Delighted, it’s easy and requires minimal dev resources.

To get started, access Testimonials from the Integrations page. Then, customize the branding of the testimonial card by selecting a font style, brand color, and card shape. Your widget is now ready to add anywhere and everywhere on your site with a single line of JavaScript – it’s as easy as embedding a tweet or Instagram photo.

2. Customize your permission request email

For Delighted feedback to show up on your site, you’ll request approval from the customer who gave you the feedback. You can customize the request to ask your customer to leave their first and last name, as well as their company and title.

3. Choose the feedback you’d like to display

Delighted will automatically pull your most recent, positive pieces of feedback with open-ended comments into the Testimonials workflow. You can also request publishing permission from your Dashboard by clicking on the feedback timestamp, then clicking on the curly quote icon.

4. Turn on your widget

The final step is to drop the JavaScript snippet onto your page wherever you want the testimonial to appear and turn on the widget. Approved feedback automatically shows up on your site.

Why getting customer testimonials is better with Delighted

The process of asking for customer feedback and customer testimonials have a couple of similarities, but running your reviews program through Delighted has one key advantage: the ability to manage and act on the responses from one central hub. Let’s go through the similarities first:

Timing the ask

For both, the timing of the ask must be perfect. Too early, and your customers won’t have anything substantive to say. Too late, and the excitement they had when they first started using your service may be diminished, or completely gone. Delighted lets you control and automate the timing, so you can set it and forget it.

Optimizing the send

Then, there’s also the channel you use to ask your customers. Which works best? Text, email, in-app, or chat links and QR codes? The beauty of Delighted is that you’re always capturing customer impressions when they’re fresh because you can reach them wherever they are.

Our pre-built survey templates are optimized for high response rates so it’s super easy for customers to provide feedback. The surveys look great in every channel to boot.

Of course, getting the feedback isn’t where the process ends. After that, there’s still work to do.

Putting the feedback on your site

Request publishing permission for any feedback you receive straight from your Delighted dashboard, or through the Testimonials workflow. You can easily customize the Testimonials widget so that publishing the feedback on your site is as simple as dropping a snippet of code onto your page.

Reviewing and managing feedback

This final step is where you will benefit the most from running your customer testimonial program through a customer experience platform versus a reviews tool. With a CX platform, you’re all set to close the loop, whether the feedback is positive or negative.

Any constructive product feedback can still reach your product development team, instead of being siloed within a reviews platform. You’ll also be set up to analyze the responses, isolate root causes to poor experiences, and invite customers to post reviews elsewhere on the web, further amplifying that positive sentiment.

Testimonials are currently available in $249+ plans. If you would like access, upgrade your plan.

What is Customer Experience? 20 Customer Experience terms, definitions, and resources

You likely have heard the term “customer experience” or CX for short, and thought, “of course we want to continually improve and offer the best customer experience possible.”

But, what does Customer Experience (CX) actually mean? And how do you improve it?

And what about all these other acronyms customer experience experts toss around? NPS, VoC, DCX, CSAT?

Understandably, it can be overwhelming.

That’s why we’ve put together this customer experience glossary.

The following three sections cover all the terms you’ll need to know to pave the way for your organization’s customer experience strategy:

Core Customer Experience concepts

These are commonly used, fundamental terms that show up in the customer experience space. Let’s start off by defining “Customer Experience” itself.

What is Customer Experience (CX)?

Customer Experience is loosely defined as the overall perception of your brand in the eyes of your customer — built on the accumulated interactions they have with your business across various platforms.

That means it isn’t limited to what a customer thinks about your product, the visual elements of your website, or the ways in which are able to interact with your customer service team — it’s all of it. It’s how they feel about their entire experience with your brand, both offline and online.

Further reading and resources:

Digital Customer Experience (DCX)

Digital customer experience refers to the overall perception of your brand in the eyes of your customer, based on interactions across digital platforms.

As you may have noticed, the main distinction between DCX and CX is the focus on experiences via digital channels. But, we think it’s important to single out, as many businesses struggle to keep up with digital transformation (think brick-and-mortar retail versus ecommerce) and its impact on their customers and internal operations.

The digital customer experience specifically must be considered when tackling customer experience management as a whole.

Further reading and resources:

Customer Experience Management (CEM or CXM)

Customer Experience Management is an inter-departmental effort to understand customer sentiment throughout the entire customer journey, and act on that intelligence to deliver improved experiences.

A company’s ability to continually deliver improved customer experiences has a dramatic effect on the entire sales cycle. It can help you increase sales at the beginning of the customer journey and provide better support to build customer loyalty at the end. In order to deliver great experiences for your customers, you’ll need insight as to what it is that they expect.

But, what if customers don’t proactively share their expectations with you? What if they hardly understand what they are looking for themselves? And what if you have valuable customer insight already, but it is trapped within a siloed department at your company?

Customer experience management helps you find a solution to all those problems through a customer experience program, which we’ll be discussing next.

Further reading and resources:

Customer experience program

A customer experience program refers to the tools and processes used to implement your customer experience management strategy.

A customer experience program should be unique to your organization. It requires that you align your team on a customer-centric vision and collectively understand who your customers are and how your relationship with them evolves over time.

The goal of a customer experience program is to gather customer experience intelligence, uncover customer insights from that data, and take action to close the loop and improve customer experiences through customer experience design.

Further reading and resources:

Customer sentiment

Customer sentiment is how customers feel about your business. It could be how they feel about a specific interaction, or about your brand overall.

There’s an important distinction between understanding how the customer feels and whether they take any action. For instance, a customer could feel frustrated with your checkout process and still purchase your product. However, would they come back to purchase again, or go to a competitor?

Customer sentiment answers the question “how are customers feeling when they interact with my company?” so you have additional context around present and future customer behavior.

The key to evaluating customer sentiment is a critical CX measurement: customer satisfaction.

Further reading and resources:

Customer satisfaction

Customer satisfaction is a measure of how well a company’s products or services meet or miss customer expectations.

Customer satisfaction is at the core of the human-to-brand experience, but is notoriously difficult to measure since it is an emotion.

Companies most commonly turn to metrics such as Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) and Customer Effort Score (CES) to accomplish this, relying on customer surveying to collect customer satisfaction feedback and calculate these scores.

Further reading and resources:

Customer delight

Customer delight is a company’s ability to surprise their customers with an experience that goes above and beyond, exceeding expectations.

When expectations are met, you have customer satisfaction. When expectations are exceeded, you achieve customer customer delight, which is what will truly set you apart from the competition and increase customer loyalty.

Further reading and resources:

Customer loyalty

Customer loyalty is the ongoing, positive relationship established between a business and its customers, characterized by repeat business.

What’s more, your most loyal customers may also tell their family and friends about your company. They are your most valuable customers, as they drive brand advocacy.

Further reading and resources:

Brand advocacy

Brand advocacy is when customers recommend businesses they like across their network, including family, friends and co-workers.

These customers refer new business through word of mouth because they think others will benefit from a relationship with your company.

Despite our age of Yelp reviews and Twitter rants, word of mouth still has a significant impact on purchasing decisions. In fact, 92% of customers say that a word-of-mouth recommendation is the top influence in their purchase decision.

So how do you build customer loyalty and turn customers into brand advocates? Start by measuring satisfaction for your most important customer touchpoints with customer journey mapping.

Further reading and resources:

Customer journey mapping

Customer journey mapping is a visual representation of the various interactions and touchpoints a customer has with a company.

Because every engagement with your brand is an opportunity for your business to delight (or disappoint) your customers, you want to ensure every customer interaction is the best it can be.

Customer interactions are singular, unique points in time when a customer engages with your brand. What a customer journey map does is plot out each of these interactions as a touchpoint.

These touchpoints may or may not involve human-to-human interaction. Whether customers are adding their favorite items to their digital shopping cart or making a purchase in-person, every interaction can be an opportunity to build a more personal relationship.

Customer journey maps are vital to understanding different interactions as customers come into contact with your company, product, marketing messaging, and/or employee through any channel or device.

Determining the positive (or detrimental) effect of any changes made to these touchpoints requires you to start evaluating and measuring customer experiences.

Further reading and resources:

Measuring the Customer Experience

Customer expectations for CX are rising faster than companies’ efforts to meet those expectations, so it is important for businesses to gauge the success of their CX efforts. The following CX terms will help you do this.

Customer intelligence

Customer intelligence is the collection and analysis of customer data for a holistic understanding of your customers that evolves with them over time.

With customer intelligence, you’ll not only understand the “who, what, when, and where” of customer behavior, you’ll also understand the “why.” Understanding why is key to making strong business decisions that ensure your company will stand the test of time.

Customer intelligence can be broken down into two categories: quantitative data from customer analytics, and qualitative data from customer feedback. Let’s start with customer analytics.

Further reading and resources:

Customer analytics

Customer analytics is the tracking and visualization of customer behavior data, measured in numerical values or counts, in order to uncover insights that help inform better business decisions.

The data collected in customer analytics is quantitative data — or numerical data. Here are examples of a few important quantitative customer analytics metrics to know:

  • Churn rate: also known as customer attrition, is the rate at which customers or subscribers stop doing business with a company or service.
  • Retention rate: The percentage of customers that remain customers over a given time period.
  • Customer Lifetime Value (CLV): The measurement of a customer’s total revenue value to a company over the lifespan of the relationship.

Customer analytics can serve as a great starting point for checking the pulse on your overall customer experience, but don’t stop there.

Collecting written feedback directly from your customers can be just as, if not more important, to uncovering key insights to improve customer experiences.

Further reading and resources:

Voice of the Customer (VoC)

Voice of the Customer (VoC) is a methodology used to collect written or spoken feedback from customers, whether directly provided through customer surveys and focus groups, or indirectly acquired from monitoring customer word of mouth on channels such as social media, forums, and review sites.

The data collected in Voice of the Customer efforts is qualitative data — written or spoken word. The most impactful customer feedback comes directly from the customers. Customer experience survey methodologies such as Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT), and Customer Effort Score (CES) help you gather more direct customer feedback.

Beyond the qualitative feedback provided, these customer experience survey methodologies provide quantitative scores that help your organization benchmark and improve experiences over time.

Further reading and resources:

Net Promoter Score (NPS®)

The Net Promoter Score or Net Promoter System (NPS®) is a customer experience survey methodology and metric used to measure customer loyalty through first-hand feedback.

The methodology starts with asking a single question: “‘How likely are you to recommend [company/product] to a friend or colleague?” Customers answer on a scale of 0-10 (not likely to very likely).

The second half of the NPS survey is a free-form follow-up question that allows customers to provide valuable detail on their previous answer.

Customers are then segmented into three groups according to their numerical response to the 0-10 rating question: Promoters (score 9-10), Passives (score 7-8), and then Detractors (score 0-6).

Subtracting the percentage of Detractors from the percentage of Promoters yields the Net Promoter Score. The score can range from as low as -100 (if every customer is a Detractor and would not recommend your business) to a high of 100 (if every customer is a Promoter and wants to refer your company to a friend).

Further reading and resources:

Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)

Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) is a customer experience survey methodology and metric that measures customer satisfaction with your products or services.

This methodology evolved from market research surveys, and is easy to understand, simple to use, and can be rich in insight.

By asking your customers to rate on a scale of 1-5 how they feel about the goods/services received, you get a trackable score that maps to how satisfied your customers are.

When aiming to reduce friction for the customer in potentially cumbersome processes, data derived from the CES survey can help you find a solution.

Further reading and resources:

Customer Effort Score (CES)

Customer Effort Score is a customer experience survey methodology and metric used to measure the effort a customer makes when interacting with your company (e.g. getting a question resolved, purchasing a product).

The theory to this methodology is, the lower the effort, the happier the customer. CES asks questions like, “How easy was it to resolve your issue?” and is typically measured the same way as CSAT, with a single-question survey using a 1-5 scale.

Further reading and resources:

Customer insights

Customer insights are hypotheses made from interpreting both quantitative and qualitative customer data and applying context to gain a deeper understanding of how customers think and feel about your company, product, or service.

In order to improve customer experiences, you need to know what to improve. What are the specific touchpoints that customers are having issues with? What holds customers back from recommending your product to others?

Customer experience surveys and customer analytics help you collect data on these touchpoints. After deriving insights from this data, the next step is implementing solutions that improve your customer experience.

Further reading and resources:

Improving Customer Experiences

You’ve learned the core customer experience concepts and the terms related to measuring customer experience. Here are CX terms that focus on taking action on customer experience insights and feedback to make meaningful improvements.

Customer Experience Design (CXD)

Customer Experience Design is the designing of products and services based on customer insights to ensure every customer touchpoint delivers on the promises laid out by your company.

It’s worth mentioning that although User Experience (UX) is related, it is only a part of Customer Experience Design. Whereas UX pertains mainly to a user’s experience as they navigate your product, CXD emcompasses UX as well as everywhere else customers engage with your company.

Further reading and resources:

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Customer Relationship Management is the processes, strategies, and tools that your company uses to oversee, manage, and improve interactions with new and existing customers.

“CRM” is most commonly thought of as a type of software, but Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is more than that. It includes:

  • Strategy: The company’s overall approach to handling customer relationships.
  • Processes: The ways company employees handle all customer interactions and ensure they’re following the company’s CRM strategy.
  • Technologies: The tools used to record customer interactions and analyze them for constant improvement.

When you combine Customer Experience Management with your CRM strategy, the result is a highly efficient system for incorporating customer feedback into your day-to-day customer interactions to close the loop and better meet the needs of your customers.

Further reading and resources:

Closing the loop

Closing the loop is the process of taking action on customer experience feedback and directly following up with those who provide the feedback.

Here are a few common ways to close the loop on customer feedback:

  • Inform Customer Experience Design decisions: Uncover customer insights from the feedback that lead to decisions on how to design improved customer experiences.
  • Fix critical issues that create detractors: Follow up with customers who had a poor experience to improve their perception of your company, and hopefully turn them from an unhappy customer into a fan.
  • Gain value from promoters: Keep in contact with satisfied customers to maintain a positive relationship and encourage brand advocacy. This is also a great way to source customer testimonials that provide valuable social proof for your marketing efforts.
  • Strengthen relationships with passive customers: Customers that fall in the passive category from an NPS survey can be a good source of valuable insight on how to improve your brand. Proactively engage them to learn how to go from a mediocre experience to a stellar one.

Further reading and resources:

Conclusion

Now that you have this customer experience terms glossary at your disposal, you are ready to dive into the world of customer experience management and continually improve customer experiences.

Next up, dive deeper by learning all about the various customer experience survey types. Then, kickstart your customer experience program by sending your first customer experience survey.

The Delighted platform makes it easy. Do everything from creating and sending your first survey, to analyzing customer feedback and closing the loop, all from one platform. Sign up for a free trial and start collecting customer feedback today.

How to choose the right NPS software to improve your customer experience

Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a key indicator of customer satisfaction, as well as a strong predictor of future growth. To improve your customer experience (CX), having the right tools to get you the information you need about the people who shop with you is essential.

As Cassie Layton, Head of Marketing at Happy Returns, says:

“The NPS program is the most immediate and comprehensive ‘eyes and ears’ we have for understanding customer satisfaction.”

Having tools that can get you the information you need about the people who shop with you is essential. One of those tools is robust NPS software that can automate important functions, customize your surveys, help you track your NPS score with built-in reports, and more.

In order to choose the best NPS software option for your business, your first need to understand your own needs. Going through a customer experience survey design process will help you identify your goals, and clarify the scope of your customer experience program. Then, you’ll be able to figure out what features you need to make the most of your Net Promoter Score software.

Why do you need specialized NPS software?

There are a number of companies that offer NPS tools as an add-on to an existing product. Can you get by using those? The short answer is “kind of.” The longer one is that while those tools may satisfy your initial need to gather some feedback, they will never be as effective as specialized NPS customer experience platforms.

Dedicated NPS software will have more robust survey triggering and survey distribution channels, specific analytic and reporting features, and integrations that let you incorporate NPS scores and feedback into your existing ecosystem. This allows you to gather more useful data more efficiently and act on the information you receive.

Companies that focus specifically on customer experience will also continually improve their NPS survey features to keep pace with your CX program goals.

Questions to consider in your NPS software comparison

Every brand’s needs are unique. The best NPS software for you is going to be one that satisfies your needs now, but will also be able to grow with you as your business evolves.

Here are 6 questions to ask yourself before you begin looking at NPS software:

1. What is your survey volume?

How many surveys will you typically want to run? How many shoppers do you need to reach? You need to make sure that the software you choose can handle the volume that you need. Most companies limit survey volume by pricing tier, depending on the number of surveys you’re sending via a certain distribution channel, or by the number of survey responses received.

2. What is your preferred NPS survey distribution channel?

How does your audience like to be reached, and will your NPS software be able to send out optimized surveys in that format?

Oftentimes, you won’t be able to reach all of your customers with just one distribution channel, which leads to skewed survey results from sampling bias.

For instance, B2B product development tools that offer in-app surveys can gather feedback from some of your audience, but far from all. Your key stakeholders on the client side may not be the ones who are in the app day-to-day, and might not see your NPS survey at all. This means you could be missing out on feedback from a core customer segment.

The other limitation of NPS software that restricts you to surveys within an app or web experience would be the type of feedback you receive. Feedback provided could end up very specific to certain features or workflows.

What you want to be able to capture with NPS is how customers feel about the overall experience. If you have multiple distribution methods, you’ll be able to gather both relationship and transactional NPS feedback for a holistic view of your customer experience.

3. What existing Customer Relationship Management (CRM), helpdesk, or product development tools will you need to integrate with?

Integrating data sets manually is extremely time-consuming. To avoid creating extra work, make a list of the current tools you’re using, and make sure any NPS software you evaluate will be able to integrate with them. This way, you can start acting on the information you receive right away without having to expend any extra effort.

4. How many questions do you want to ask?

The standard NPS survey consists of the question “How likely are you to recommend [company] to a [friend or coworker]?” plus an open-ended follow-up question. Some NPS software platforms also allow you to layer in extra questions for more insights on specific aspects of the experience, while others only allow you to ask those first two questions.

Identify the types of survey questions you’d want to ask in addition to the NPS question, and make sure your software supports them.

5. How quickly do you need to get your NPS program off the ground?

Your time is valuable. The quicker and easier setting up your NPS program is, the sooner you can get back to doing the jobs that you do best.

Would you need your tool to handle sending all the surveys for you, so that you don’t need to bring on extra marketing resources? Does your design and dev team have the bandwidth to help you with formatting and implementation?

There are NPS software tools that handle the entire survey process for you, so you can literally get up and running in minutes. Starting a free NPS trial is the easiest way to see if you’ll be able to set up your NPS program yourself.

6. How much support would you like?

If you have a question or an issue, you need answers fast. If you’re looking at launching a sophisticated customer experience program with multiple integration, distribution, and reporting needs, you might also like some extra customer success support to make sure everything is running smoothly.

Evaluate NPS software options with an eye to your support needs, and make sure the vendor has a history of great service when checking reviews. Also, keep in mind that a company whose core focus isn’t NPS may not have the expertise to provide the guidance you need to enhance your program.

Look for a provider that offers best in class service for a better experience.

Must-have NPS software features

Once you’ve evaluated your own needs, it’s time to start considering the functions and features that will serve you best. We recommend looking for NPS software that provides all of the following:

Customizable survey templates

A customizable survey template is one of the most important must-haves. This allows you to apply your brand’s colors and attach your logo to any surveys that you send out.

Being able to personalize your surveys is also key, whether that means referencing the specific product or feature a customer used, using their first name when you’re requesting feedback, or sending NPS surveys in multiple languages.

These customizations set context and make the survey recognizable to your customers, which in turn increases survey response rates and feedback quality.

Multiple survey distribution methods

Can you reach survey subjects on the channels that they are most likely to use? Quality software will allow you to gather results from link URLs, email, SMS, and web in-app.

QR code and kiosk surveys are good ways to get feedback on in-person experiences.

After you confirm the solution has your ideal distribution method, also check that the company employs formatting best practices, since that can also impact whether people answer your survey.

With various ways to respond to surveys, your customers can choose the platform they prefer most, which means they are more likely to take the time to share their opinions with you.

Control over when and how often NPS surveys are sent

Some folks are more likely to respond at certain times than others. If your business is largely B2B, for instance, you’ll get more responses when a fresh survey pops up in someone’s inbox during working hours.

For any audience, you’ll always want to allow enough time for your customer to experience your product or service, but not so much time that the experience is no longer fresh. Control survey timing to a tee with an NPS software that has an API, so you can trigger NPS surveys at just the right time.

Plus, if you like to send surveys at regular intervals, you should be able to schedule these easily from within your NPS software. This way, you can perform a task once and benefit repeatedly.

For more tips on survey timing, check out this guide on when to send your NPS survey.

Customer segmentation

It’s not enough to know about your customers as a group. You need to be able to get information about how individual customer segments feel about your brand. Does your customer experience vary by geography, product purchased, or which support agent helped them out?

How likely are customers of a certain lifetime value to continue working with you?

With customer segmentation via Properties, you can get this information easily and make plans to engage each demographic in the right way.

NPS survey analysis and reporting

Collecting data is just the first step. Once it is in your hands, does your NPS software help you understand what it means?

Quality NPS software will provide easy to understand NPS survey reports and analytics so that you can tell, at a glance, how consumer sentiment is trending when it comes to your brand. You’ll also be able to pull presentation-ready charts directly from the platform, saving your from having to manually crunch data.

Explore the Delighted demo to dig through customer feedback and get a feel for the types of insights you can surface.

Closing the loop on NPS feedback

When people start responding to your surveys, it’s inevitable that some will raise issues that your brand needs to address. Having NPS software that allows you to reach out to customers and close the loop means, in the end, happier customers. They feel that their feedback is important and that their experience with your brand is, too.

There are multiple ways to close the loop. The most immediate is by customizing the “Thank you” page a customer sees after they’ve answered your survey. Provide next steps for customers to take based on how they score your brand experience. The other way your NPS software can help you close the loop is by emailing alerts and regular reports to the team responsible for a certain part of the customer experience.

Or course, closing the loop on feedback is much easier if all of the customer comments get integrated into your existing tools, which leads us to our next must-have feature: Integrations.

Integrations

Life is easier when all of the platforms and applications you use every day play well together. Integrating seamlessly with platforms like Zendesk, Slack, Shopify, and others makes your life easier. Look for NPS software that allows you to accomplish this without needing extra technological help.

Simultaneous survey projects

As your customer experience program grows, you may find yourself wanting to branch out from sending only NPS surveys.

NPS software companies often offer multiple survey templates, such as Customer Satisfaction and Customer Effort Score, so you can use specific survey types for different teams.

Running multiple survey projects increases the quantity and quality of customer insights you can get from every part of the customer experience.

Choosing the best NPS software for your business

Once you’ve spent some time determining your own goals and needs, you will have a better idea of what NPS software will give you the results that you want.

Curious about Delighted? Sign up for a free NPS trial for hands-on experience with a dedicated NPS platform solution.

Voice of the Customer (VoC): Customer feedback for a future-proof business

Whether you’re a B2B or B2C company, relevance and longevity in your industry depend on how well your products answer the needs of your customers. However, when the time comes for you to demonstrate that understanding — during a sales conversation, customer service interaction, or through the product itself — how do you think you measure up?

According to the Future of Customer Experience Survey by PWC, companies are falling short:

“Only 38% of U.S. consumers say the employees they interact with understand their needs; 46% of consumers outside the U.S. say the same.”

Companies who understand their customers reap the benefits. According to the same study, a strong customer experience garners “up to a 16% price premium on products and services, plus increased loyalty.”

And it’s not just short-term revenue and market share you’ll lose if you fall behind on customer experience. Customers are also more likely to grant you access to their personal data for customized experiences if you impress them with your understanding, enabling top competitors to hone and maintain their edge for the future.

So how can companies rise to the opportunity, close that gap in understanding, and align their customer experience to actual customer pain points? By listening to the Voice of the Customer (VoC).

What is the Voice of Customer?

The Voice of the Customer (VoC) is a methodology used to capture customers’ needs, requirements, and perceptions about products or services. It helps you understand the drivers behind customer decisions, provides feedback for improved experiences, and facilitates innovation and thinking for new offerings.

The VoC methodology leads not only to better products, but also sets the foundation for continuous improvement as those needs and perceptions change.

How VoC future-proofs your business

VoC is fundamental to a strong customer experience program and impacts every step of the customer journey.

It helps product developers create or improve a product or service, marketers develop messaging that resonates with existing and future customers, and companies worldwide realize where they fall short of their brand promise. Knowing your customer prevents you from failing in the marketplace.

When the Voice of the Customer comes through in real time, that feedback can change the trajectory of your business.

Bonobos, a retail clothing company, uses a Voice of the Customer program to give everyone in their company a direct line to raw customer feedback.

In 2014, they specifically used NPS surveys to validate an operational change to their shipping process. They thought the impact of those changes would be minimal, but the customers made it clear they felt differently. Andy Dunn, CEO, says:

“We were able to literally just watch the scores decline. That enabled us to have the confidence to roll back the change. I know that due to Delighted, we avoided disaster.”

Tuft and Needle, a mattress company founded on creating a fundamentally better experience, recognizes the value of ongoing listening.

After consistently achieving 4-star ratings on Amazon, they set their goals for 5-star perfection. They knew there was feedback they were missing and things they could improve. They just needed to access it.

JT Marino, the founder of Tuft and Needle, says this of the time before they incorporated Delighted as their Voice of the Customer tool:

“That’s what was missing in the early days, just using the telephone. We weren’t hearing from people who were happy. We weren’t making the good things better.”

Constant improvement is how you stay ahead of the competition. Good isn’t good enough: “the best experiences today are table stakes tomorrow.”

Developing your Voice of the Customer (VoC) strategy

A Voice of the Customer (VoC) program is a closed loop process that involves everyone in your company. With it, you’ll be able to gather, analyze, and act on the feedback collected from all of your customers, including potential customers and those who aren’t happy with your service. As Bill Gates would say:

“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”

But, before we get ahead of ourselves and talk about who to ask for feedback, let’s talk about how to develop your strategy first. There are three questions to ask yourself when developing a VoC strategy.

What is the objective and intent of the VOC program?

Do you want to benchmark your performance, or are you focusing more on long-term continuous improvement? Is there a particular facet of the customer experience you’re interested in? Web, in-store, product, post-purchase?

Since the customer experience isn’t defined by you and your team alone, but the company as a whole, your objective will also help you figure out who else you need to bring on board to drive those feedback-fueled changes. Getting this upfront alignment is imperative.

What information do you need to capture (e.g. customer needs)?

The information you need determines how you go about capturing it. In this case, it isn’t just the customer comments you need to capture, but the context of their experience as well. What product did they purchase? Which channels did they use to ask for support? Which pages on the site did they visit?

Syncing these data sets (the experiential feedback with the backend operational data) comes in handy when the time comes to interpret the data.

What survey technology will capture the right information to fulfill your objective?

Customer feedback collection VoC tools run the gamut. They can be as scrappy as free Google forms that you format and send via email, as sophisticated as thousand-dollar enterprise platforms, or anywhere in between.

Do you need a turnkey customer feedback platform you can get up and running yourself, or more sophisticated experience platforms with market research and advanced analytics?

Will your VoC program run on email surveys, text surveys, web intercept surveys, QR code link surveys, or all of the above?

What about integrations that consolidate the customer feedback with the operational data for you? If you’ve clearly stated the goal of your VoC strategy, you’ll be able to answer these questions and figure out which solution is right for you.

Creating Voice of the Customer (VoC) surveys

Once you’ve determined your strategy, you can start creating Voice of the Customer (VoC) surveys. Using a dedicated VOC platform like Delighted will help you not only manage all aspects of customer feedback, but ensure you are following best practices when designing customer surveys.

The customer satisfaction questions you ask vary depending on the touchpoint you’d like to improve. Tried and true templated customer experience surveys, such as Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) score, or Customer Effort Score (CES), are a good starting point.

Surveying employees is important too. Why? Studies show that stronger customer experiences come from positive employee experiences. Easily gather employee feedback with eNPS surveys asking the “how likely” question to garner how much an employee enjoys working for your company or might recommend others work there. Happier employees mean better results.

Lastly, don’t forget to set clear goals and follow up on customer feedback. And, ensure that all teams involved in the process are informed of the data that is pertinent to their area of expertise.

Learn all about these tips and more in our article on designing your Voice of the Customer program.

Choosing a Voice of the Customer (VoC) tool

Understanding the Voice of the Customer and acting on those customer feedback insights ensures the ongoing success of your brand. However, incorporating this process into your strategy can be difficult without a dedicated platform.

Kick off your Voice of the Customer (VoC) program with a Delighted free trial. Start gathering feedback in minutes, and experience what customer feedback can do for your business.

The 7 types of sampling and response bias to avoid in customer surveys

In a previous post on biased survey questions, we went through how bad survey questions (e.g. leading or double-barreled questions) can negatively impact your survey results. In this post, we’ll be diving into the other major cause of misleading survey data: survey bias.

Bias is defined as “an inclination of temperament or outlook.” The concept comes up frequently in sociology and psychology, because it’s associated with prejudice or favoritism.

In our context of customer feedback surveys, bias has a less loaded meaning: it is a “systematic error introduced into sampling or testing by selecting or encouraging one outcome or answer over others.” That “encouragement” towards a specific outcome is what leads to survey bias, where you may only be getting one type of customer perspective, or an inaccurate perspective.

There are two main buckets of customer survey bias to avoid so that you don’t fall into the trap of basing business decisions off of skewed survey results:

  • Selection bias, where the results are skewed a certain way because you’ve only captured feedback from a certain segment of your audience.

  • Response bias, where there’s something about how the actual survey questionnaire is constructed that encourages a certain type of answer, leading to measurement error.

Let’s start by looking at three major types of selection bias that can impact your results, namely sampling bias, non-response bias, and survivorship bias.

1. Sampling bias: Getting full representation

For any type of survey research, the goal is to get feedback from people who represent the audience you care about — or, in statistical terms, your “sample.” Sampling bias occurs when you only get feedback from a specific portion of your audience, ignoring all others. This often occurs because a customer segment is left out of the survey process, and may not have been invited to take your survey.

A Software as a Service (SaaS) company likely has multiple user personas who each interact with the product in a different way — let’s say, the analyst who logs in every day to do tactical work, the manager who checks in on progress while monitoring results, and a director who pays the bills and is on the hook for proving return on investment (ROI). Depending on how you distribute the surveys (how often, and through what channel), you could end up with feedback from only a subset of your customer base, hence, sampling bias.

The same is true in the retail space. If you have customers who purchase from you online and in-person, but you only send email surveys to the online customer base, you’re missing out on feedback from those who purchased in-store. Your results will contain a sampling bias.

Sometimes, filtering out a specific group of individuals from a survey is intentional. For instance, you could be looking for very specific feedback on a new software feature, and need input from your power users. Or, you’re trying to improve your ecommerce experience, so you really only want feedback from those who have gone through the entire online purchasing experience.

If that’s the case, in your survey report, it’s important to caveat your findings by stating which population’s perspective your findings reflect, and how that’s in line with your survey goals.

How to reduce sampling bias

To reduce sampling bias, you may need to take a few steps back and ensure that your survey design process hasn’t left someone out.

Here are a couple steps to follow:

  1. Get a good grip on what you’d like feedback on, who would be able to provide that feedback, and how you’ll be getting that feedback. Plotting out major customer journey touchpoints for each of your user personas is a great way to start.
  2. Ensure that your survey distribution method and survey timing make sense for those customers. Will an email survey or in-app web survey work better? For your power users, an in-app survey is probably a sure bet, while an email survey following a quarterly business presentation might be more actionable for someone at a director or managerial level.

Once you know exactly who will be receiving your survey, and how you’ll send those surveys out, your next task will be to get people to respond.

2. Non-response bias: Getting people to respond

Even if you’ve included your entire core audience in your survey, there’s still no guarantee that they’ll answer your survey.

For example, inactive users or people who purchased your product a very long time ago are probably less likely to respond since they don’t have a strong recollection of their experience. They also may not have any helpful feedback to provide. On the other hand, folks who have invested a lot in your business and use your service often are probably more likely to respond, and have higher quality feedback to share.

The important thing to keep in mind is how representative those who did respond are of the audience you care about. If your survey response rate is low, but the voices of all your key stakeholders are there, it may be less important for you to try to increase the number of people who respond to your survey. However, if you take a look at the distribution of responses, and find that only users of a certain product, age group, or gender are responding, try to increase your response rate in those areas to round out your feedback.

Fear of repercussion can also prevent people from responding. Imagine an employee experience survey where you ask about workload or try to get managerial feedback from direct reports. If the organization hasn’t set expectations around anonymity, employees with negative opinions may not respond at all.

How to reduce non-response bias

If you’re not getting the feedback you need, there are multiple ways to increase survey response rates while keeping feedback quality high. Similar to the solution for reducing sampling bias, you could be missing out on feedback simply because your distribution method or survey timing is off.

Here are some of our top tips to try:

  • Adjust survey timing to the type of feedback you’d like. For example, ask for customer service feedback immediately after an issue has been resolved.
  • Keep your survey short (and let people know it’s short) so they’ll be more likely to take your survey.
  • Try different survey distribution methods (email, web, link, or SMS text), and ensure you’re following best practices for each type of distribution method.
  • In the case of more sensitive topics, let folks know that the survey is anonymous, and that there will be no repercussions to their answers.

For a complete list of tactics, check out this guide on increasing survey response rates.

3. Survivorship sampling bias: Getting a second opinion

Survivorship bias occurs when your survey is limited to customers, clients, and employees who have remained with you over time. As you can imagine, their feedback may be very different from the opinion of those who have churned or left your company.

It may not always be possible to reach those lost contacts, but you could gain valuable data by including that sampling in your current survey.

How to reduce survivorship bias

Follow up with churned customers and employees who are going to leave the company with exit surveys. Try to understand their reasons, so you can account for them in the future. Prospect loss surveys, where you ask potential customers why they didn’t become actual customers, are another good source of feedback for growing your business.

Now that we’ve gone through the major types of selection bias that can affect your customer surveys, let’s talk about response bias.

To be clear, “response bias” is not the opposite of “non-response bias.” To review, non-response bias focuses on what happens when those who receive your survey choose not to respond. Response bias is about societal or survey constructs that can impact the actual quality of the survey answers.

4. Acquiescence bias: When it’s all about “yes”

While it’s always wonderful to hear you’re awesome, sometimes, you might wonder if it’s true. If all of your survey results come back positive, it could be a result of acquiescence bias, or the “yes-man” phenomenon.

Societal norms and survey fatigue are a couple factors that lead to acquiescence bias. It’s easy to say “yes” out of politeness, even if it’s untrue. If you stack a long or complicated survey on top of that, folks could get tired of giving thoughtful responses, and just default to positive answers to get through the questions.

Note that these norms will vary by country. In some places, people may avoid giving ratings that are too harsh or too positive, and tend towards more average scores all the time.

Luckily, there are some ways to design your questionnaire to avoid acquiescence bias.

How to mitigate acquiescence bias

The best way to minimize the chance of acquiescence bias is to use thoughtfully phrased question and answer scales, so you make it easy for your clients to offer their input without feeling like the answer they want is just not there.

  • Vary your questions and answers, and use multiple choice questions in addition to scale questions. Here’s a rundown of the different types of survey questions to use in your survey.
  • Don’t use leading questions, which usually dictate what you would like to hear versus how someone might actually feel.
  • Avoid questions that only allow a “yes” or “no” answer, since they don’t provide enough levels of nuance for folks to choose from.
  • Use a response scale that does not lend itself as easily to acquiescence bias (for example: “Definitely will not, Probably will not, Don’t know, Probably will, Definitely will”)
  • When surveying internationally with templated CES, CSAT, or NPS surveys, check the open-ended feedback against the initial rating to check if cultural norms may be skewing the score.

5. Question order bias: Striving for consistency

Question order bias, also known as order-effects bias, can bias your survey responses through “priming” and the desire people have to give internally consistent answers.

For example, consider these two questions:

  • How happy are you in your life overall?
  • How happy are you with your marriage?

Studies have shown that when you ask the more specific question about marriage first, it influences how folks answer the more general question about how happy they are overall. More specific questions prime context, and the more general question becomes a summary of how people feel based on previous questions asked. If they answer that they’re happy in their marriage, they’re also more likely to say they’re happy overall due to a desire to remain internally consistent.

This is because people remember how they respond for each question, and want to respond to all of the questions in a consistent way. Question order bias has been found to occur in a wide array of scenarios. You can learn more about examples and the impact of question order bias in this article.

How to limit question order bias

The goal of your survey may impact how you handle question order bias. Here are some methods to try, depending on your situation:

  • Test your survey with an eye for priming in mind
  • For satisfaction surveys, start with a general question that measures the entire experience before asking specific questions about each part of the experience
  • For market research surveys, randomize question order
  • Group questions by topic, but randomize the order of the questions within that topic

6. Answer option order/primacy bias: Answer order matters too

The order of your answers for each question also makes a difference in how customers respond to your survey, especially when it comes to multiple choice questions. There are two types of order bias at play: primacy bias and recency bias.

Primacy bias is when people choose from the first few answer options, since they may not have taken the time to read through all the choices. Recency bias is actually when people choose the last answer in the list, since that last option is the “most recent,” and therefore more memorable, answer.

How to avoid answer order bias

First off, keep in mind that answer order bias only applies to multiple choice questions. You wouldn’t want to randomize the answer order of a rating scale question, where the order itself means something. Doing so would be confusing and lead to inaccurate answers.

Here are a few ways to avoid answer option order bias for multiple choice questions:

  • Randomize the answer option order
  • Limit your answer option list, but include a free response option to capture any choices you may have missed

7. Social desirability/conformity bias: The coolness factor

While acquiescence bias involves answering “yes” or in the affirmative, social desirability bias means that people answer questions in a way that they think will make them look good (or more socially attractive). They are conforming to acceptable norms, which can lead them to exaggerate about their habits, beliefs, and personal preferences.

Specifically, lifestyle choices that are “bad” or “unhealthy” (like drinking, smoking, expressions of negative emotions, or other negative habits) may be misrepresented. Extending out from that general concept, though, a person might avoid racist, sexist, or other intolerant associations by misrepresenting themselves on the survey form. They don’t want to be perceived in a negative way.

Some people may also exaggerate demographic information like income, education, or other social or lifestyle factors, regardless of whether the survey is anonymous.

How to reduce social desirability bias

These types of survey questions typically come up at the end of the customer survey, when you’re trying to learn more about customer demographics and psychographics. Careful question wording and cross-referencing answers for consistency can help you identify and reduce the impact of social desirability bias.

  • Allow anonymous responses
  • Carefully review how you’ve worded your questions and responses
  • Use neutral questions that avoid social desirability bias
  • Randomly select questions from the repository of possibilities
  • Check responses against what you know about your customers through previous answers or your existing customer data

Summary

Selection and response bias creep into every survey situation, but following survey design best practices can minimize their effect. It may not be possible to remove all forms of bias from every survey, but by carefully focusing on your goal, and using strategies to effectively address the most prevalent survey bias situations, you should be able to get the results you need.

You can also rely on survey tools like Delighted to provide a complete customer satisfaction survey solution so that you have all the resources you need to make it the most streamlined process possible. Sign up for a Delighted free trial to send 250 surveys for free.

Introducing QR code surveys: Get feedback wherever your customers are

Digital survey distribution methods (think email, SMS text, chat link URL, and web intercept surveys) get great response rates and high-quality feedback for two reasons: they’re user-friendly and timed to catch folks while the experience is still fresh.

QR code surveys, now available with our Link survey distribution method, extend those same exact benefits to feedback collection on real-world physical interactions. With QR code surveys, it’s easier than ever to get opinions on the go.

For example, say you have brick-and-mortar locations and would like to get post-purchase feedback. All you would have to do is print your QR code survey on the receipt. Try scanning the QR code below to see what we mean:

Thank you for your purchase!

Scan the QR code with your phone camera to provide feedback on your experience.

Survey link: https://delighted.com/t/mVkznW1o

Or, imagine you’ve just finished a presentation at a conference and see mixed reactions from the crowd. What would be the best way to ask for feedback then and there?

While you could provide a link to your survey on a slide, the audience would still need to go through the trouble of typing that URL (typo-free, no less) into a mobile browser. However, if you put a QR code survey in your presentation, all folks would have to do is whip out their camera phone and scan the code to access your survey. Great user experience? Check.

You could also follow up on the presentation with an email survey, but the experience would no longer be fresh (and you would also need everyone’s email). In-the-moment feedback? Check.

Using QR code surveys, you’ll be able to gather point-in-time feedback for customer touchpoints that are traditionally difficult to assess. In this post, we’ll walk through everything you need to know about QR code surveys, including top use cases and some quick best practices.

A brief history on QR codes and their popularity

But wait, what are QR codes exactly? QR code (QRC for short) stands for “quick response code.” You’ve probably seen them before — they’re the square-shaped barcode commonly found on receipts, product packaging, or printed ads. Scanning one with your phone usually opens a web page or app.

Even though QR codes were invented in Japan in 1994 to track the manufacturing process, they’ve since been widely adopted for making payments, adding friends on social media, and you guessed it — distributing customer experience surveys.

But wait, are QR codes still a thing? Yes! At first, QR codes saw slow consumer adoption, especially in the US. This is because you needed to download a separate scanner app to read the code, which is a pretty big hurdle. However, both Android and iOS phone cameras are now smart enough to recognize QR codes, no scanner app required. In fact, an estimated 11 million US households are projected to scan a QR code in 2020 (source).

What’s more, QR codes have been quite popular in China, where they’re the go-to way to make mobile cashless payments. Usage is also increasing in Japan and Southeast Asia. If you have a customer base in Asia or are thinking of expanding there, QR survey codes could help increase survey response rates, since consumers already use them regularly.

The case for QR code surveys

QR code surveys fill that niche for real-world feedback. After all, digital isn’t the only way for people to discover your business, and online follow-up may not even be possible if you don’t have access to personal contact information. Events and in-person transactions are both examples of customer experiences where a QR survey code can garner quality feedback.

While printing out link survey URLs can also work, a QR code makes gathering feedback in these situations painless. If you use Delighted link surveys, you’ll be able to generate a QR survey code for free.

Delighted QR survey codes can also be used with any of our customer experience survey types: NPS, CSAT, CES, 5-star, Thumbs, and Smileys. Add up to 10 customizable follow-up questions to the survey template for more detailed feedback. That way, you can tailor your QR survey for the insights you need.

Common QR code survey use cases

We’ve already mentioned a couple of use cases for QR surveys in passing, but let’s dive in a bit deeper.

Product or service experience feedback

Since QR codes are so versatile, you can easily use them to gather feedback on experiences as they happen.

  • Printed receipts: Add a QR survey to the bottom of a receipt to kick off the feedback process.
  • Signage: Post QR code surveys on flyers or signs for people to scan as they leave your store or venue. For example, car washes can put a sign up at the end of the wash for customers to scan and provide feedback.
  • Menus: For restaurant owners, print a code on your menus to gather feedback on food selection or service.
  • Assembly instructions: See in real-time if customers are having a hard time assembling a product by adding a QR code to the manual. Folks won’t even need to contact customer support — if their experience is negative, you can have someone reach out to help.
  • Product packaging: Include a QR survey for more general product feedback

Conference and event feedback

In addition to following up with attendees via email after a conference or event is over, gathering real-time feedback throughout is key to understanding if things are going well, or if you might need to pivot and address an unexpected issue.

Here are some ways to incorporate QR code surveys into an event:

  • Presenter slides: Beyond capturing feedback on the presentation itself, QR surveys can also add an interactive component to a lecture or talk. For instance, if you’re doing a talk around customer service, kick off the presentation with “On a scale of 1 to 5, how would you rate your last customer service experience?” Watch the feedback come in live on the Delighted iOS app and then recap the results prior to digging in. This is also a great way for professors and teachers to gather feedback and get students to participate.
  • Printed banners: Increase the prominence of your feedback surveys by printing them on conference banners, placed throughout the venue.

Printed ad and marketing material feedback

Ads in the wild only capture attention for a moment. If you can’t ask for feedback right then and there, your chance to understand if your marketing material is resonating well with your customers vanishes.

Here are some common marketing materials that could accommodate QR surveys:

  • Retail catalogs, brochures, and newsletters
  • Flyers, posters, and ads in subway stations or at bus stops

Commercial space and facilities services feedback

Gather tenant feedback with QR surveys displayed in prominent areas on the property, such as restrooms to monitor cleanliness, and outdoor spaces to gauge maintenance quality. The happier your tenants are, the less likely you’ll need to spend valuable time searching for occupants.

Now that we’ve covered some common use cases, let’s go through some tips on how to get the best results for your QR surveys.

QR survey best practices

As versatile as QR code surveys are, there are still a few best practices to follow:

Clearly state what scanning the QR code will do. Since QR codes have many applications, you’ll want to let your customers know that this particular code will take them to a survey. For example, “Scan this code with your camera phone to answer a 1-minute survey on your experience.”

Include a user-friendly link to the survey. If you’re worried about setting context, another way to prime folks for what to expect is to put the link version of the survey under the QR code image with readable url text. This also ensures that people who aren’t familiar with QR codes still have an avenue for providing feedback.

Use responsive formatting for your survey. Folks who scan the code will probably do so from a mobile device, so you’ll want to make sure your survey renders as intended to avoid biasing the results.

Test the QR survey code to make sure it works. With printed materials, it’s worth verifying on a sample if the QR code is rendering correctly and can be easily scanned. While the codes do account for a degree of distortion, an overly obscured or damaged QR code will not render correctly and could lead to a poor customer experience (e.g. someone dissatisfied with a product getting frustrated at a receipt QR code that doesn’t work).

How to make a QR code survey from a survey link

Like all other things Delighted, generating a QR survey code is easy. All you have to do is:

  1. Create your survey if you haven’t already
  2. Select Link as your survey distribution method
  3. Download the QR survey code in PNG or SVG format
  4. Add it to printed marketing materials, receipts, SlideShare presentations, and more

You’ll be gathering feedback wherever your customers are in no time.

You can also associate properties to your QR code, so anyone who answers is automatically segmented for easy feedback analysis.

Not using Delighted to gather customer feedback yet? Gain access to all of our survey types and distribution methods with a free trial (no credit card required). You’ll have customer feedback in minutes.

7 must-know types of customer survey questions with tips and examples

You’ve decided to send surveys to your customers and clients, gain feedback, and use those insights to improve your business. But knowing what you want feedback on is only part of the battle — survey success also depends on choosing the right type of customer survey questions to get you the insights you need.

Last week, we talked specifically about how to phrase your questions to avoid biasing the survey results. In this post, we’ll break down the 7 types of survey questions and answer scales, and the pros and cons of each.

Types of survey questions

At a high-level, there are two types of survey questions: close-ended and open-ended.

Closed-ended questions are more quantitative, and ask customers to choose from a list of answer options. Those answers can then be tallied into scores, percentages, or statistics that are tracked over time. Closed-ended questions work best when you have a good grasp of the exact topics you want feedback on, and would like data that can be easily segmented for ongoing reports.

Open-ended questions are qualitative and allow customers to answer in their own words. Qualitative feedback is less about a measurement and more about collecting customer impressions and opinions. While it doesn’t lend itself easily to a statistic, it does give you insight into customer attitudes and motivations. These questions require more critical thinking and provide insights into your company that you may not have been aware of.

Using surveys that contain both open-ended and close-ended questions gives you the best of both worlds. Let’s go through the various types of close-ended questions you can use in your customer surveys first.

Close-ended survey questions

There are a few commonly used types of close-ended questions: rating scale questions, multiple choice questions, visual scale questions, dichotomous questions, Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys, and demographic or firmographic questions. Each one is particularly suited for certain situations.

Rating scale survey questions

A rating scale is one of the most well-known survey options. It allows folks to indicate what they think about a statement or attitude on a 5 or 7-point scale. You can set up rating scales with either a bipolar or unipolar construct.

Bipolar means the scale runs from negative to positive with a neutral rating in the middle. For instance, from “very dissatisfied,” to “neutral,” and finally “very satisfied.”

A unipolar scale ranges from zero to positive, and is used when a negative rating wouldn’t make sense semantically. For instance, the star rating question, “How would you rate” wouldn’t have an option for negative stars, and would be a unipolar scale. A question rated along the lines of “effectiveness” would also be unipolar, since it’s impossible for something to be “negative effective.” It can only be “ineffective.”

Rating scale pros

  • Flexibility in creating the rating scale
  • Can be used to evaluate any part of the customer experience
  • Provides a statistic that is easily tracked over time

Rating scale cons

  • Doesn’t dig into why customers choose a specific rating
  • Requires some preparation to determine which facets of the business are most important to ask about

Rating scale tips

  • Use a balanced scale with equal positive and negative responses
  • Include a neutral response for those without strong feelings either way
  • Use this scale to find out what customers and clients think or feel about products, services, websites, advertising, or other aspects of your business

Rating scale example questions

The Customer Effort Score survey, or CES survey, is a great example of a rating scale survey. People respond on a scale of 1 to 5 on how strongly they agree with the statement, with 5 being the best. This type of disagree-agree scale is also known as a Likert-type scale.

[Company website] made it easy to find what I was looking for. The answers here would be:

  • 1: Strongly disagree
  • 2: Slightly disagree
  • 3: Neutral
  • 4: Slightly agree
  • 5: Strongly agree

The CSAT survey, or Customer Satisfaction survey, is another example of a rating scale survey.

How satisfied were you with [aspect of the customer experience]? The answers here would be:

  • 1: Very dissatisfied
  • 2: Slightly dissatisfied
  • 3: Neutral
  • 4: Satisfied
  • 5: Very satisfied

CES surveys measure how easy it is for people to accomplish their goal, while CSAT surveys measure satisfaction. Both questions can be modified to evaluate customer sentiment about specific customer touchpoints. For example, you could create custom follow-up questions after a customer support CSAT survey to ask for ratings on staff product knowledge, helpfulness, courteousness, and problem resolution. For more ideas on what to ask, here’s a full list of customer satisfaction survey question examples.

Multiple choice survey questions

Multiple choice questions might bring you back to grade school standardized testing — those timed tests that left you sweating while you frantically filled in the bubbles. In the context of a customer survey, these questions are much simpler for your customers to answer — that is, if you’ve provided a thoughtful, comprehensive set of responses.

To make things easier on your customers, you can also give them the option to select one or more options. Multiple choice questions are a great way to gather extra information to help you make new product decisions, understand where you can improve, or decide where to advertise to reach your audience.

Multiple choice question pros

  • Customers can choose one or multiple answers
  • Results can be compiled and analyzed easily for insight
  • Removes subjectivity from the answers

Multiple choice question cons

  • Limits answers to ones you’ve provided
  • Leaves out the reason why
  • Can be time-consuming to create

Multiple choice question tips

  • Should consist of at least three different options
  • Include an “other” option in case none of the choices fit
  • Answer options should be mutually exclusive
  • Answers should all be plausible and simply phrased

Multiple choice example questions

  1. How can we do better? Answers could be options for new or improved product features or service offerings
  2. How did you hear about [Company]? Answers could include TV, newspaper, magazine, [Company] website, or word-of-mouth

With Delighted, you can create your own multiple choice questions as additional questions to learn more about your audience after getting initial feedback on their experience with you.

Dichotomous survey questions

A dichotomous survey is a question with only two possible answers: yes/no, true/false, or agree/disagree. It is designed for fast, easy responses, and is perfect for straightforward evaluations. It also works well as a screening question. For example, you could ask your customers whether they’re aware of a certain product feature, and then dive deeper with a different set of questions depending on how they answer.

Dichotomous survey pros

  • Simple and quick to answer
  • Results are easy to understand at a glance
  • Allows you to divide customers into two different groups

Dichotomous survey cons

  • Doesn’t allow for higher sensitivity
  • Forces a yes or no answer when more information may be needed
  • Doesn’t have a neutral option for those who don’t feel strongly one way or the other

Dichotomous survey tips

  • Question should always be phrased for a yes/no answer

Dichotomous survey example questions

  1. Was your customer support issue resolved?
  2. Have you purchased/used [Company’s] product or service in the last 30 days?
  3. Have you ever used [Company] website to purchase a product or service?

Delighted’s Thumbs survey is a dichotomous survey. Instead of selecting yes or no, however, customers choose a thumbs up or thumbs down. When used as the initial question, it is always followed by an open-ended question so customers can provide more color to their answer. You can also create your own dichotomous questions using the Additional Questions feature.

Visual survey questions

Think emoji! Visual surveys make it easy for clients to select a rating because they elicit an intuitive response.

The smiley scale is well known in hospital rooms under the “rate your pain question,” with the crying face signifying intense pain and the smiley face signifying the least amount of pain. It is easier for someone to select an option when they can place an emotion behind it.

Visual scale pros

  • Easy to react to
  • Visually appealing
  • Transcends language barriers
  • Increases responses and engagement

Visual scale cons

  • Can only be used for satisfaction-style questions

Visual scale tips

  • Do not explain the scale, which counters the intuitive nature of the scale
  • Be sure that the question is phrased in a way that fits the context of a smiley face scale

Visual scale example question

How happy are you with the [Company’s] product or service?

Delighted’s Smileys survey is a fun and engaging way to gather product and customer support feedback from your customers. Follow up with an open-ended question for more details.

Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey questions

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey not only measures customer and client satisfaction, but also indicates brand loyalty. This survey question assesses the likelihood that someone will recommend your company to friends or family.

Even though the question uses a 0 to 10 scale, we set it apart from a traditional rating scale survey because of how the responses are scored.

Responses are sorted into detractors, passives, and promoters. Detractors are those who rate you 0 to 6, and are the least satisfied with your business. Passives are in between with a 7 or 8 score. Promoters give you the highest score with a 9 or 10 and are your most loyal customers.

NPS surveys are also always followed by an open-ended comment so folks can explain the reason for their rating.

Net Promoter Score pros

Net Promoter Score cons

  • More complex than standard satisfaction surveys to analyze
  • When used to measure the entire customer experience, it can be difficult to pinpoint areas for improvement

Net Promoter Score tips

  • Use this survey to understand your customers’ relationship with your brand
  • Send relationship surveys at regular intervals, such as yearly, bi-yearly, or quarterly
  • Don’t let the score be the only metric by which you evaluate customer loyalty — layer in other customer experience metrics such as lifetime value and usage frequency for a complete picture

NPS example questions

The classic NPS question is: “On a scale of 0-10, how likely are you to recommend [Company] to family and friends?” Follow up with an open-ended question asking why they chose a specific number. You can also modify the NPS question to ask about a specific product or support interaction.

Delighted has a templated NPS survey that you can easily customize to suit your needs.

Demographic and firmographic survey questions

Demographic survey questions show up at the end of almost every questionnaire. These questions help you understand who your clients and customers are and where they come from. They ask questions about location, age, income, gender, race, family information, personal habits, or even sometimes about pets or cars.

For B2B companies, firmographic questions are more common. These questions ask how many employees a company has, how much revenue, or how many locations they’re in for marketing and product development purposes.

Demographic and firmographic question pros

  • Tells you about your clients and customers so you know how to market and pitch your products
  • Helps you target specific audience groups for new customers

Demographic and firmographic question cons

  • Asks personal questions many customers and clients don’t like to answer

Demographic and firmographic survey question tips

  • Avoid asking what you should already know about your customers
  • Only ask for information that actually impacts your business strategy

Demographic and firmographic survey example questions

  1. What is your age? Provide mutually exclusive options such as 18-24, 25-34, 35-44, 45-54, 55+

  2. What is your annual household income? Provide multiple options such as 50,000 or below, 51,000-99,000, 100,000-249,000, 250,000 and above

  3. How many employees does your company have? Multiple choice options can include 1-10, 11-25, 26-50, 51-80, 81-120, 121-250, 251+

  4. Other questions can include race, marriage status, education, industry type, business locations, etc.

Demographic and firmographic questions are multiple choice questions. You can easily create them using Delighted’s additional follow-up questions.

Open-ended survey questions

Open-ended questions allow customers to give feedback in their own words. They’re perfect for following up on close-ended questions, so folks can give more context for their answer.

Open-ended question pros

  • Helps you understand the why behind their sentiment
  • Provides qualitative data
  • Can be handy for capturing simple customer information, such as email or product purchased, for surveys that are distributed in a more anonymous manner (e.g. kiosk or web)

Open-ended question cons

  • Time-consuming to answer and analyze
  • Less engagement

Open-ended question tips

  • Use open-ended questions to invite customers to explain their rating after a closed-ended question, so you can tie that open-ended feedback to a score

Remember that open-ended questions provide valuable insight into your clients’ and customers’ thoughts, but not statistical or categorical data.

Open-ended survey example questions

“Tell me more about why you chose [rating/option]” is the classic open-ended question for following up on a close-ended question. Asking “How can we improve?” or “Is there anything else you would like us to know?” at the very end of a survey can also capture any feedback your previous questions didn’t surface.

All of Delighted’s templated surveys (NPS, CSAT, CES, Smileys, Thumbs, and 5-star) contain an open-ended follow-up question so you can gain a deeper understanding of what your customers want.

Since analyzing qualitative data can be time-consuming, Delighted’s survey platform also helps you analyze your open-ended feedback to ease the customer feedback analysis process.

Choosing the right survey type

When creating client and customer surveys, follow survey design best practices to make sure you get the best results. How you design and use your surveys matters as much as the questions you select. Use these tips to create your surveys, and don’t forget to give it a preview before you send it off to your customers.

Here’s a quick summary of common best practices to follow:

  • Define clear goals for your survey
  • Distribute surveys through the best channel for your business
  • Keep your survey as short and straightforward as possible
  • Use skip logic so customers can skip questions they don’t want to answer
  • Enable conditional logic so customers are shown questions based on previous responses
  • Remove or rephrase any biased survey questions that might throw off your survey results

You can also check out our latest guide on the most popular customer satisfaction survey questions for more ideas on what to ask your customers.

To try out some of the survey question types above, sign up for a Delighted trial and start surveying customers for free. You’ll have feedback in minutes.

Avoiding Biased Questions: 7 Examples of Bad Survey Questions

While customer surveys can yield amazing insights into what your customers want and need, they can also be a liability if the underlying survey questionnaire is flawed. One of the most common causes of unreliable survey feedback is the biased survey question.

Customer feedback is not easy to come by, which makes every survey response all the more significant. It’s important to make sure the input gathered is as unbiased as possible, and provides a clear lens into the customer experience. When you have bad survey questions in your questionnaire, you end up wasting a valuable opportunity to surface critical insights from customers and employees about how to improve your products and services.

What are biased survey questions?

A survey question is biased if it is phrased or formatted in a way that skews people towards a certain answer. Survey question bias also occurs if your questions are hard to understand, making it difficult for customers to answer honestly.

Either way, poorly crafted survey questionnaires result in unreliable feedback and a missed opportunity to understand the customer experience.

In previous posts, we’ve given examples of customer satisfaction questions and survey design tips to help you craft the perfect customer experience survey. In this post, we’ll help you identify and fix biased survey questions, so that you can avoid inaccurate results due to poor question phrasing.

Here are 7 common examples of biased survey questions, and how to fix them for your customer experience survey.

1. Leading questions

Leading questions sway folks to answer a question one way or another, as opposed to leaving room for objectivity. If you watch legal dramas, you’re likely already familiar with leading questions. After watching his witness get harangued, the lawyer issues an objection for “leading the witness,” or putting words in the witness’s mouth.

In a courtroom setting, leading questions are usually filled with detail and suggest what a witness has experienced, as opposed to letting the witness explain what happened. In the context of a customer survey, you want to let your customers give an accurate account of their experience, instead of dictating how they should view it.

Identifying a leading question

You can usually identify leading questions by looking for subjective adjectives, or context-laden words that frame the question in a positive or negative light.

While a leading question may be a bit more innocuous in your survey situation than it is on the witness stand, it’s still important to avoid a leading question so that you have unbiased survey results. Here are some examples of leading questions, and how to fix them:

  • Leading question: How great is our hard-working customer service team?
    Fixed: How would you describe your experience with the customer service team?

  • Leading question: How awesome is the product?
    Fixed: How would you rate this product?

  • Leading question: What problems do you have with the design team?
    Fixed: How likely are you to recommend working with the design team?

Each of the bad examples above contains a judgment, implying that the customer service team is “great” and “hard-working,” that the product is “awesome,” or that you have “problems” with the design team. The corrected phrasing, on the other hand, is more objective, and contains no insinuations.

Leading questions are often unintentional, but if customers perceive your questions as manipulative, your simple leading question could lead to a higher survey drop-off rate, a negative impression of your company, or a severely biased set of responses. Just one of these outcomes can significantly undermine the end result you’re working towards with your customer experience program.

Fixing a leading question

Phrase your questions objectively, and provide answer scales with equally balanced negative and positive options.

2. Loaded/Assumptive questions

The goal of your survey should be to get an honest response that will offer insight and feedback into the customer experience. A loaded question contains an assumption about a customer’s habits or perceptions. In answering the question, people also inadvertently end up agreeing or disagreeing with an implicit statement.

Consider this question: “Will that be cash or credit?” The assumption in this loaded question is that the customer has already made up their mind to purchase. If they answer, they’re implicitly agreeing that they will purchase.

However, if this question came after a customer had already expressed a desire to purchase, it wouldn’t be loaded at all. With loaded questions in customer satisfaction surveys, it’s usually about context, and whether you’ve properly taken customer data into consideration.

Identifying a loaded question

Checking for loaded questions can be tricky. Make sure you’re reading through the entire survey, since context for the assumption you’re making may come from a previous question, or from your customer database.

Here are some examples of loaded questions:

  • Loaded question: Where do you enjoy drinking beer?
    Required qualifying information: That the customer drinks beer

  • Loaded question: How often do you exercise twice a day?
    Required qualifying information: That the customer exercises, and that they exercise twice a day

Because these types of questions are often context-based, the fix isn’t always to rephrase the question, but to make sure that your previous survey question or existing customer information qualifies the potentially “loaded” question.

For example, you could ask if your customer exercises twice a day first, and then ask how often they do so. If they don’t actually exercise twice a day, use conditional skip logic so that the customer doesn’t need to answer the irrelevant question.

Another way to avoid a loaded question is by fine-tuning when you send your survey. For instance, if you’d like to know why an ecommerce shopper prefers your web experience to a competitor’s, you wouldn’t ask that question while they’re browsing your site — that’d be too early. You’d pop the question in a web survey on your checkout page, when you know for sure that they’ve chosen to go with you.

Also check the answer options as well as question phrasing. Some loaded questions can be mitigated by providing an “Other” or “I do not ____” answer choice as a way to opt out.

Fixing a loaded question

Don’t make unfounded assumptions about your customers. Make sure you’re qualified to ask the question, skip the question if it’s irrelevant, or provide an answer option that the customer can use to tell you that the scenario isn’t applicable to them.

3. Double-barreled questions

To understand the double-barreled question, just think of a double-barreled shotgun. It shoots from two barrels in one go.

In the realm of biased questions, that double-barreled barrage is really a convoluted question involving multiple issues. By asking two questions in one, you make it difficult for customers to answer either one honestly.

Identifying a double-barreled question

When you proofread your questions, check for “and” or “or.” If you need a conjunction, chances are you’re asking about multiple things.

  • Double-barreled product question: Was the product easy to find and did you buy it?
    Fixed example (part 1): The store made it easy for me to find the product.
    Fixed example (part 2): Did you buy a product from our company during your last visit?

  • Double-barreled onboarding question: How would you rate the training and onboarding process?
    Fixed onboarding example (part 1): How would you rate the training materials?
    Fixed onboarding example (part 2): How would you rate the onboarding process?

As you can see, the fix for a double-barreled question is to split it up. Doing this has two benefits: your customers don’t get confused, and you can interpret the results more accurately. After all, in the product example, if a customer had answered “yes,” which question would they be answering? That they found the product easily, or that they purchased it? You would have no way of knowing via the survey results.

The other fix would be to ask only the question that meets your survey goals. Are you looking for feedback on how well your store is laid out? For the onboarding question, would you like feedback on the overall onboarding process, or just one part of it — the training materials?

Fixing a double-barreled question

Ask one question at a time. Don’t overcomplicate.

4. Jargon

Jargon is a word or phrase that is difficult to understand or not widely used by the general population. For your customer survey questions, keep your language simple. Edit out slang, catchphrases, clichés, colloquialisms, or any other words that could be misconstrued or offensive.

If you ever need to survey customers in multiple languages or locations, removing jargon will also make your questions easier to translate and more readily understood.

Identifying jargon in your survey question

The worst part about jargon is that you may not even realize you’re using it  — those phrases could be embedded in your company culture. To avoid confusing language, try to find people from multiple age groups or demographics who are not familiar with your company to test your survey.

  • Product question with jargon: The product helped me meet my OKRs.
    Fixed: The product helped me meet my goals.

  • Service question with jargon: How was face-time with your customer support rep?
    Fixed: How would you rate your experience with [team member]?

What are Objectives and Key Results (OKRs)? How do you know your customers use that system to assess their goals? Does face-time refer to the Apple video chat app, or does it mean you just spoke with a customer service team member in person? If a customer needs to spend extra time understanding the question, they may stop taking the survey altogether, or they won’t be able to answer well.

Fixing a question with jargon

Proofread and test your survey with an eye for removing all confusing language. Acronyms are a telltale sign that your survey may contain jargon.

5. Double negatives

While you’re checking your survey questions for jargon, don’t forget about proper grammar. A double negative occurs when you use two negatives in the same sentence. For instance, simplify “Don’t not write clearly” to “Write clearly.”

Avoiding a double negative may seem basic, but when you’re in a rush and trying to get your survey out, it’s easy to miss. It’s also quick to fix if you know what to look for.

Identifying double negatives

Check for double negatives by looking for instances of “no” or “not” paired with the following types of words:

  • No/not with “un-” prefix words (also in-, non-, and mis-)
  • No/not with negative adverbs (scarcely, barely, or hardly)
  • No/not with exceptions (unless + except)

Here are some examples of double-negatives, and how you can edit them out.

  • Double-negative: Was the facility not unclean?
    Fixed: How would you rate the cleanliness of the facility?

  • Double-negative: I don’t scarcely buy items online.
    Fixed: How often do you buy items online?

  • Double-negative: The website isn’t easy to use unless I use the search bar.
    Fixed: The website made it easy for me to find what I was looking for.

Errors like double negatives are easier to catch if you read your survey questions and answers out loud. Once you fix them, your survey will be easier to understand.

Fixing a double-negative

Two negatives make a positive, in the sense that they cancel each other out. To correct a double negative, rephrase the question using the positive or neutral version of the phrase.

6. Poor answer scale options

Survey answer options are just as important as the questions themselves. If your scales are confusing or unbalanced, you’ll end up with skewed survey results.

In general, carefully consider the best way to ask a question, and then think about the response types that will most effectively allow your audience to offer sincere feedback. Check that your answer options match these criteria as you craft your survey questionnaire.

Identifying mismatched scales and poor answer options

Sync the answer scale back to the question
For example, if you’re asking a question about quality, a binary “yes/no” answer probably won’t be nuanced enough. A rating scale would be more effective.

If you ask “How satisfied” someone is, use the word “satisfied” in your answer scale. If you’re using a smiley face survey, ask your customers how happy they are.

  • Mismatched answer scale example: How easy was it to login to the company website? Answer: Yes | No
    Fixed answer scale: The login prompt made it easy for me to log in. Answer scale: 1 - Strongly disagree | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 - Agree

Proofread for mutually exclusive answer options
If you’re using multiple choice answers, proofread the options to make sure they’re logical and don’t overlap. This issue often occurs with frequency and multiple choice questions. For example:

  • Frequency question: How often do you check your email in a day?
    Overlapping answer options: A. 0-1 time | B. 1-2 times | C. 2-3 times | D. More than 3 times

  • Multiple choice question: What device do you usually use to check your email?
    Overlapping answer options: A. Computer | B. Mobile Phone | C. Tablet | D. iPad

Which option does someone who checks their email once, twice, or three times a day choose? An iPad is a tablet, so which would you select? Always double check your answer options to remove redundancy and make sure the categories are mutually exclusive.

Cover all the likely use cases
For multiple choice questions, ensure your answer choices cover all the likely use cases, or provide an “Other” option. If your customers are constantly choosing “Other,” it’s a sign that you’re not covering your bases.

Double check your survey answer option functionality
If your survey question says you can “Check all the boxes that apply,” make sure people actually can select multiple options.

Use balanced scales
If you’re creating your own scale instead of using a templated agreement or satisfaction scale, make sure the lowest possible sentiment is at the bottom, that the best is at the top, and that the options between are equally spaced out.

  • Survey question: How was our service today?
    Unbalanced scale: Okay | Good | Fantastic | Unforgettable | Mind-blowing

  • Survey question: How satisfied were you with our service today?
    Balanced scale: Very dissatisfied | Dissatisfied | Neutral | Satisfied | Very Satisfied

What’s the difference between “okay” and “good,” or “unforgettable” and “mind-blowing?” Is “okay” really the worst possible experience someone could have? With a scale like this, it would be impossible to get useful insights.

Be consistent with scale formatting
If you’re using rating scales throughout your survey, be consistent about which end of the scale is positive. For instance, if you’re using 1 to 5 scales to rate agreement or satisfaction, make sure the positive end is always the highest number on the right.

Fixing your answer scales

Read through your questions and answers, and take your survey for a test run. Make sure your answers directly correspond to the questions you’re asking, and that your answer options don’t overlap.

7. Confusing answer scale formatting

There’s a strong likelihood that customers will be responding to your surveys from various devices, whether that’s on desktop, mobile phone, or tablet. Your answer scale formatting needs to take this into account, so the rating options are easy to scan and understand.

Checking for user-friendly formatting

Before you deploy your survey, check how it renders on desktop and mobile for various screen widths. Try to make sure answer scales fit nicely within the frame.

Examples of poorly formatted rating scales

Since people tend to skim, you want to make sure your answer scales are formatted as intuitively as possible. When the rating scale wraps to the next line, customers may mistakenly tend towards choosing “5” because it’s the right-most option, and haven’t scanned to the second line, leading to depressed scores.

Examples of properly formatted rating scales

For mobile, try to have the positive end of the scale at the top, since people are used to associating a higher score with a top position.

Fixing answer scale formatting

When you design your survey, try to make it responsive to screen width so that the scales always render as you want them to. Note that not all customer experience survey platforms are created equal, as some are more optimized for multiple devices than others.

Delighted surveys are optimized for every device, so customers can respond easily and accurately.

Summary of survey questionnaire best practices

Preventing biased survey questions from slipping into your survey is easy if you know what to look for. Most of the time, it’s about taking a few extra minutes to read through your questions to make sure everything makes sense.

To review, here’s a quick checklist of dos and don’ts for a foolproof survey questionnaire:

  1. Don’t lead the witness: avoid leading questions
  2. Don’t make assumptions: avoid loaded questions
  3. Don’t overload your questions: avoid double-barreled questions
  4. Don’t use confusing language: avoid jargon
  5. Do write clearly: avoid double-negatives
  6. Do check your answers: sync your answer scales to the question
  7. Do consider the user experience: format your surveys for all devices


For a rundown of the entire customer experience survey process, from setting goals to reporting on results, check out this survey design guide.

Most of the steps for crafting successful surveys involve careful planning and execution, but having a tool that supports the implementation of a successful customer experience survey strategy always helps.

Delighted offers a complete solution, with proven customer experience survey templates and customizable follow-up questions. Sign up for a Delighted free trial and start getting customer feedback for free.

52 Popular Customer Satisfaction Survey Questions by Customer Journey

A landmark study found that 86% of 362 companies surveyed thought they provided a “superior experience,” but only 8% of their customers agreed. That huge disparity highlights how sorely companies can miss the mark when it comes to understanding their customers’ needs and expectations.

A key way to close that gap and develop solid, lasting relationships with your customers is to ask them for feedback with customer satisfaction surveys. But when do you ask? And what questions should you use?

Enter the customer journey. Since any customer interaction is an opportunity to gather feedback, we’ve broken down the most popular customer satisfaction survey questions by key customer journey touchpoints.

In this post, you’ll learn about what questions to ask at each stage with suggested answer scales to surface the insights you need.

  1. Awareness: 4 web content surveys for improved engagement
  2. Consideration: 9 post-demo questions to help close sales
  3. Purchase: 4 questions to increase the likelihood of repurchase
  4. Onboarding: 5 survey questions for better product adoption
  5. Product: 11 survey questions for a stickier product experience
  6. Service: 9 customer support questions for streamlined service
  7. Loyalty: 10 questions to assess overall brand experience

Customer Satisfaction survey question types

Before we dive into the actual questions, here’s a quick rundown of the various survey question types we’ll be referencing and some quick best practices.

There are 3 core customer experience survey templates that consist of a single question with an open-ended followup: Customer Satisfaction (CSAT), Customer Effort Score (CES), and Net Promoter Score (NPS). In addition to these, alternative rating scales such as 5-star, smiley face surveys, or thumbs up/down surveys can be used as well.

When you design a survey, start with a more general question to capture how customers feel about a particular touchpoint or the overall experience. Templated CSAT, NPS, and CES questions work well as standalone surveys, or as the initial question for a more in-depth survey.

For deeper insights, use our Additional Questions feature to add up to 10 follow-up questions to that initial survey flow. You can design your own rating scales, use multiple choice options, or add more free response questions. Just be sure to follow survey design best practices when gathering, analyzing, and acting on that feedback.

Without further ado, here are the top 52 customer satisfaction question templates for insightful feedback on all the major customer milestones.

Awareness: 4 web survey questions for improving content engagement

Studies have indicated that as many as 88% of consumers research online before making a purchase, which means it’s more important than ever for your web content to make a lasting impression. The more engaging and helpful the experience is, the more likely customers will remember your brand when they go to make a purchase. Using a web-based survey, you can measure how your content is landing with your customers — surveying them directly on your site.

Here’s a breakdown of potential questions to ask in your web intercept survey.

  • CSAT survey: How [satisfied] are you with the content on this website? Answer scale: 1 to 5, Very dissatisfied to Very satisfied

  • 5-star survey: How would you rate the relevance of the [content]? Answer scale: 5-star rating scale

  • Thumbs survey: Did you find [the information] you were looking for? Answer scale: Yes or No

  • CES survey: The website made it easy to find what I was looking for. Answer scale: 1 to 5; Strongly disagree to Strongly agree

Note that CSAT surveys can also be modified to become Smileys or 5-star surveys by switching up the phrasing. For instance, “How would you rate…” with a 5-star rating scale, or “How happy are you…” for a smiley face scale.

Delighted survey templates also append a free-response question so web visitors can expand on why they chose their score.

Distributing your web content satisfaction survey

To get the most actionable, high quality feedback, make sure you’re only showing your web intercept survey to those who are actually interested in what you have to offer, and not random visitors who may have ended up on your website by accident.

The simplest way to do that is to set the survey to show for those who meet a certain engagement threshold: time spent on site, scroll depth, or number of pages visited. Once a customer has been qualified, show the survey upon website exit so there’s minimal chance of interfering with the visitor’s experience.

Consideration: 9 post-demo survey questions to refine the sales process

During the consideration phase, potential customers ask for a product demo or sign up for a free trial to get a better feel for features and pricing plans. Customer survey questions at this step will help you gauge if what you’re marketing is coming across clearly and give you a deeper understanding of customer needs.

Sending the survey post-demo also doubles as an easy way to follow up without being too pushy. Be considerate, and only ask the questions that are most relevant. Avoid asking any questions you should know the answer to from an earlier step in the process (such as title, company size, or sales revenue).

  • CSAT survey question: How satisfied were you with [the demo/the live chat]? Answer scale: 1 to 5, Very dissatisfied to Very satisfied

  • 5-star survey question: How would you rate your experience with [sales rep]? Answer scale: 5-star rating scale

  • Additional question: How well did the [sales rep] understand your needs? Answer scale: 1 to 5, Not well to Very well

  • Additional question: How well did the [demo cover/chat answer] your product questions? Answer scale: 1 to 5, Not well to Very well

  • Additional question: How well did the [demo cover/chat answer] your pricing questions? Answer scale: 1 to 5, Not well to Very well

  • Additional question: Which [feature] are you most interested in? Answer scale: Multiple choice with an “other” option or free response

  • Additional question: What motivated you to sign up for [a demo/trial]? Answer scale: Multiple choice with an “other” option or free response

  • Additional question: How much did the [demo/free trial] change your likelihood to purchase? Answer scale: 5-point scale; Decreased a lot to Increased a lot

  • Additional question: What else can we do to help you make a decision? Answer scale: Free response

Distributing your post-demo satisfaction survey

You’ll want to distribute your survey using a channel your customer expects — an email survey or SMS text survey tends to be a safe bet if your prospective customer signed up for a trial or scheduled a call. Send the survey up to 24 hours after the demo, and be sure any follow-up materials the customer requested have been given prior to dispatching the survey.

Purchase: 4 questions to ease the transaction process and understand buyer motivation

Once the customer has decided to do business with you, the last thing you want is for them to drop out due to a frustrating purchase process. This point is also when you can dig a bit deeper into what sold them on your product or service.

Understanding why people purchase can help make it easier for customers to repurchase down the line. After all, there’s a 60% to 70% chance that your existing customers will purchase from you again.

  • CES survey: [Website/Person/Company] made it easy for me to purchase [product/service]. Answer scale: 5-point scale; Strongly disagree to Strongly agree

  • Additional question: What made you decide to go with us instead of a competitor? Answer scale: Multiple choice with an “other” option or free response. Potential options could be Product features, Price, Quality of customer service, User experience, Warranty, etc.

  • Additional question: What other products would you consider buying? Answer scale: Multiple choice with an “other” option or free response.

  • Additional question: Were there any issues that could have prevented you from buying? Answer scale: Free response

Distributing your purchase experience customer survey

For an online purchase experience, a web intercept survey or email survey should do the trick. Send the survey immediately upon completion of the transaction for fresh, honest feedback.

Onboarding: 5 customer survey questions for improving product adoption

Once someone has purchased your product, the customer experience focus shifts towards customer retention. Now that your prospects are paying customers, their very first real interaction with your product will occur during their onboarding experience. To ensure they can feel the value of your service right off the bat, you want to make sure everything goes off without a hitch.

Monitor the onboarding experience with any of the following questions. Just be sure to select the one(s) that make the most sense for your use case:

  • CSAT survey: How satisfied were you with [onboarding/setup]? Answer scale: 1 to 5, Very dissatisfied to Very satisfied

  • CES survey: [Person/Article/Company] made it easy for me to [get started/use the product]. Answer scale: 1 to 5, Strongly disagree to Strongly agree

  • tNPS survey: Based on [onboarding/product setup], how likely are you to recommend [company] to a friend? Answer scale: 0 to 10; Very unlikely to Very likely

  • CSAT survey: How satisfied were you with how quickly [platform was set up/your item(s) were shipped to you]? Answer scale: 1 to 5, Very dissatisfied to Very satisfied

  • Additional question: What can we do to make your onboarding experience better? Answer scale: Free response

Distributing your onboarding experience customer survey

Survey your customers using whichever channel they used to access your onboarding materials. If they were watching web tutorials, use a web intercept survey to assess the quality of your content. For a call, send the survey along with any follow-up materials via email. Link surveys work well if your onboarding flow includes chat assistance.

Product: 11 survey question templates for a stickier product experience

Once folks have had a bit of time to familiarize and really start using your products, understanding how often they use your products and what they like about it will help you evolve with your customers as their needs change.

Surveying them on a regular basis will also help you understand if any new feature launches or process changes are helping or hurting, so you can forge ahead with confidence.

  • tNPS survey: How likely are you to recommend [product/service] to a friend? Answer scale: 0 to 10; Not likely to Very likely

  • tNPS survey: Based on the recent feature update, how likely are you to recommend [product/service] to a friend? Answer scale: 0 to 10; Not likely to Very likely

  • CSAT survey: How satisfied are you with [product/service]? Answer scale: 1 to 5, Very dissatisfied to Very satisfied

  • CES survey: [Product feature] made it easy for me to accomplish [feature goal]. Answer scale: 1 to 5, Strongly disagree to Strongly agree

  • Additional question: How satisfied are you with the quality of the product? Answer scale: 1 to 5, Very dissatisfied to Very satisfied

  • Additional question: How satisfied are you with the value for money of the product? Answer scale: 1 to 5, Very dissatisfied to Very satisfied

  • Additional question: How often do you use products from [company]? Answer scale: Multiple choice with an “other” option. Potential frequency options could be Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Every 2 to 3 months, Every 6 months, etc.

  • Additional question: How likely are you to [repurchase/renew the contract]? Answer scale: 1 to 5, Very unlikely to Very likely

  • Additional question: This [product/service] helps me accomplish my goals. Answer scale: 1 to 5, Strongly disagree to Strongly agree

  • Additional question: What is your favorite product feature? Answer scale: Multiple choice with an “other” option or free response

  • Additional question: What would you improve about the product? Answer scale: Free response

Distributing your customer product satisfaction survey

Email, in-app, link, or SMS surveys are all valid ways to ask customers for product feedback. For increased response rates, be sure test multiple channels. More often than not, capturing feedback from your entire customer base requires more than one.

Also keep survey timing in mind. Too early, and your customers won’t have anything helpful to say. Too late, and the feedback may be outdated. Give your customers enough time to use your product and see some results before asking for feedback.

Service: 9 customer satisfaction questions for enabling the support team

The quality of customer service a company provides can make or break the business. In fact, companies with a stellar service experience stand to make up to 8% more revenue than their competitors. If a customer complaint gets out of control and the conversation moves to social media and online review sites, the result is a reputation management nightmare that can result in lost business.

On the other hand, if the customer support team runs like a well-oiled machine, resolution times and strong CES/CSAT scores become brand differentiators that can help win new clients.

These questions are designed to identify where more training may be necessary, and help the customer support team resolve issues as best as possible.

  • CSAT survey: How satisfied were you with [customer service]? Answer scale: 1 to 5, Very dissatisfied to Very satisfied

  • CES survey: [Person/Support Article/Chatbot] made it easy for me to [handle my issue]. Answer scale: 1 to 5, Strongly disagree to Strongly agree

  • tNPS survey: Based on [your most recent service interaction], how likely are you to recommend [company] to a friend? Answer scale: 0 to 10; Not likely to Very likely

  • Additional question: How knowledgeable was [your customer service agent]? Answer scale: 1 to 5, Not knowledgeable to Very knowledgeable

  • Additional question: How would you rate [your customer service agent’s] ability to resolve your issue? Answer scale: 1 to 5, Not capable to Very capable

  • Additional question: How willing to help was [your customer service agent]? Answer scale: 1 to 5, Not willing to Very willing

  • Additional question: How satisfied are you with the amount of time it took to resolve your issue? Answer scale: 1 to 5, Very dissatisfied to Very satisfied

  • Additional question: How satisfied are you with the resolution of your issue? Answer scale: 1 to 5, Very dissatisfied to Very satisfied

  • Additional question: What could we have done to improve our service? Answer scale: Free response

Distributing your customer service satisfaction survey

For feedback on the customer service process, timing is of the essence. Ask for feedback immediately after the issue is resolved, whether that’s via chat, email, or text.

Another option is to keep a link survey in your customer service agents’ email signature, so customers can volunteer to give feedback whenever an interaction takes place.

Loyalty: 10 brand experience survey question to assess all touchpoints

After the customer has experienced all the major touchpoints your brand has to offer, what’s left is an evaluation of your overall brand experience. This allows you to gauge how loyal your customers are, and whether all those improvements to individual journey phases are moving the needle.

To do this, set up you survey so that you can identify the key drivers of your customer experience.

The key drivers of the customer experience are the touchpoints that have the greatest impact on whether folks will continue doing business with you. Start your survey with a broad question that covers the entire customer journey:

  • NPS question: How likely are you to recommend [company] to a [friend/colleague]? Answer Scale: 0 to 10, Very unlikely to Very likely

Then, use additional questions to probe into how satisfied that customer is with individual experiences. For instance, you may find that those who had a poor purchase experience would still recommend you to their friends, indicating that the purchase experience is a lower priority and not as much a key driver.

The following is a list of common key drivers, which you can adapt to suit your industry:

  • Additional question: How satisfied are you with product quality? Answer scale: 1 to 5, Very dissatisfied to Very satisfied

  • Additional question: How satisfied are you with the value for money of the product? Answer scale: 1 to 5, Very dissatisfied to Very satisfied

  • Additional question: How satisfied are you with the purchase experience? Answer scale: 1 to 5, Very dissatisfied to Very satisfied

  • Additional question: How satisfied are you with [product setup, installation, or onboarding training]? Answer scale: 1 to 5, Very dissatisfied to Very satisfied

  • Additional question: How satisfied are you with customer service? Answer scale: 1 to 5, Very dissatisfied to Very satisfied

  • Additional question: How satisfied are you with the warranty? Answer scale: 1 to 5, Very dissatisfied to Very satisfied

  • Additional question: How satisfied are you with the repair experience? Answer scale: 1 to 5, Very dissatisfied to Very satisfied

In addition to the initial NPS question, you can also try using the following loyalty questions as well:

  • Additional question: What types of issues would prevent you from doing business with us over a long period of time? Answer scale: Multiple choice with an “other” option or free form. Examples of choices could be: Quality of customer service, Quality of products, Product selection, Pricing, Don’t know, Other, Prefer not to say

  • Additional question: How likely are you to switch to another [company, provider, servicer, product]? Answer scale: 1 to 5, Very unlikely to very likely

Distributing your brand loyalty survey

Since a brand loyalty survey evaluates the overall relationship between you and your customer, send the survey out only after ample time to experience your brand has passed. You’ll also want to send these surveys out on a regular cadence to monitor the experience as you implement changes to your business.

Try every 30, 60, or 90 days to start. Similar to the other survey types, test out various distribution channels (email, web, URL link, and SMS text) to see what works best for your business and your customers.

Final tips on creating customer satisfaction surveys

The customer survey questions above are templated examples that can and should be customized to fit your company. They should also be personalized to your customers as best as possible to set context and increase the likelihood that your customers will respond.

The other thing to keep in mind is that you may not always be able to control who receives your surveys, especially in the case of link URL surveys or web surveys where the user is logged out. In these cases, you can use open-ended Additional Questions to ask those customers to provide their email, product in question, or any other information necessary to identify them and contextualize their feedback.

Are you ready to get started with gathering valuable information from you customers? The process is quicker than it seems, and Delighted can help.

Sign up for a Delighted free trial to send 250 surveys for free. We take the guesswork out of the survey process, so that gathering feedback can be a powerful yet straightforward process.

16 Best Practices for Increasing Survey Response Rates

Once you’ve designed and distributed your customer survey, the next step can be the most exciting part of the process: watching the responses roll in.

Unfortunately, the reality is that you may not get as many responses from your first survey project as you would like. This low survey response rate can lead to concerns over unreliable feedback or a lack of helpful customer insights.

A knee-jerk reaction for getting more feedback is simply to send your survey to more people, but that introduces its own risks. After all, what matters isn’t just the volume of feedback, but whether you’re capturing feedback from the customers who matter most to your business. The last thing you want to do is drown out the voices of your key stakeholders.

So how do you increase survey response rates? Thoughtfully. Here’s our heavily curated list of 16 tried-and-true best practices for increasing survey responses without sacrificing quality.

1. Scrub your contact list and focus on active customers

It seems basic, but you’d be surprised how many people overlook this step. In addition to making sure your list doesn’t contain bounced emails and outdated contacts, focus on making sure that the folks you’re surveying are still active customers based on metrics such as last login date or most recent purchase.

Recency of activity is a key driver for increasing response rates with quality feedback. Not only are active customers more likely to respond since the interaction is fresh, the feedback provided is also more relevant.

Less active customers, on the other hand, may not understand why you’re reaching out, and would be providing feedback based on who you were months ago, as opposed to who you are today.

If you’re interested in gathering feedback from less active customers to dig into why they disengaged, we’d recommend segmenting these customers out so you can analyze the feedback separately.

2. Adjust survey timing to the type of feedback you’re gathering

Timing is everything when it comes to getting quality feedback, and varies depending on industry, customer touchpoint, and the type of feedback you’re gathering.

Survey Timing Rules of Thumb
Feedback Type Timing Guideline
Relationship NPS feedback Every 30, 60, or 90 days
Transactional feedback Immediate to 24 hours post-interaction
Consumer Product Feedback 7 days after the product is in hand
B2B/SaaS Product Feedback 2 weeks to 1 month after implementation

For input on the overall customer experience, otherwise known as “relationship feedback,” send surveys out on a 30, 60, or 90 day cadence, so you can monitor how your customers feel about you as your business evolves.

For transactional surveys, which gather feedback on a specific customer touchpoint, send your survey within 24 hours of the interaction. Studies have shown that immediate feedback is 40% more accurate.

If you’re getting product feedback, give your customer time to use your product before sending them a survey so they have enough context to provide meaningful comments. For traditional retailers, this could be a couple of days after they’ve purchased and received your product. For more complicated B2B or SaaS platforms, this could be a couple of weeks after onboarding and platform implementation.

3. Keep your survey under 5 minutes long

Ask too many questions, and you run the risk of people quitting your survey in the middle (or not wanting to take it in the first place). At Delighted, we strongly believe in surveys being no longer than 10 questions, or around 3 minutes long.

Here are some tips to keep your survey short:

  • Don’t ask questions you already know the answer to. Do your best to sync data from your various customer databases so you don’t need to ask what type of product they ordered or how long they’ve been a customer.
  • Only ask questions if you have a plan for the feedback. Does demographic information influence how you’ll improve your product or service? If not, cut it.
  • Stay focused. When you design your survey, set a goal for what you’re trying to accomplish. Don’t ask questions that deviate from that goal — you can always create a separate survey later.
  • Enable conditional logic on your surveys, so that customers only need to answer what’s relevant to them.
  • Let customers skip questions.

4. Use a survey distribution channel that makes sense for your customers

Survey your customers using the channel that is most relevant to them. If your customers skew young, it’s highly unlikely they’ll respond to a phone survey or snail mail survey, but they may be more receptive to a text. On the other hand, if your demographic doesn’t have reliable internet access, an email survey is out of the question.

This may take some testing to figure out, but it’s worth it. One of our customers saw a 12% increase in response rates when they switched from email surveys to SMS surveys.

Also, keep in mind that it’ll likely take multiple distribution channels (email, web, link, SMS) to reach all of your customers. For instance, retailers might need a survey kiosk for brick-and-mortar locations, and email surveys for ecommerce customers.

Choose the distribution channel that works best for you and your customers. Here’s a breakdown of the 4 most popular customer survey distribution methods.

5. Personalize the survey experience

A recent study showed that in the US, UK, and Canada, 63% of consumers expect personalization, and 31% find it “very frustrating” when brands treat existing customers as if they are new customers.

Personalization is the new normal, and it also applies to the survey experience.

Personalize your surveys by addressing your customer by name and referencing the product or service they used. For example, if you’re texting or emailing your survey, customize the subject line to read “Hi Sarah - quick question about your order.” Simply customizing an email subject line like that can lead to a 26% increase in email open rate.

6. Speak your customers’ language, literally

Translate your surveys into your customers’ preferred language. To keep surveys consistent across all geographies, phrase your questions simply so they come across clearly in any language. Delighted provides standardized NPS, CSAT, and CES surveys in 37 languages.

7. For email surveys, follow email best practices to increase open rates

If you’re sending email surveys, the first step to improving your survey response rate is to improve your email open rate, which can range from 20% to 40%, depending on your industry. There are many things you can test to see what works best for your customers.

  • Try different subject lines. Just make sure it’s straightforward and clear. Though the default subject line for Delighted NPS surveys is already quite clear (How likely are you to recommend [company] to a friend?), you could try personalizing it or adding the amount of time the survey takes to complete. Here are a few more email subject line best practices to check out.
  • Customize the “From” field so that the emails looks like it comes from a person at your company instead of a robot or department.
  • Try adding a context-setting intro paragraph to the email. However, similar to the subject line, make sure it’s concise and gets to the point. This is where you could explain an incentive, or make the customer feel valued.

8. Set expectations for how long the survey will take

Let customers know the survey will only take a minute or two, so they don’t have to worry about the survey being a timesink. If you have multiple questions, use a progress bar or verbal cues like “Nearly there!” or “You’re almost done!” to encourage customers to finish.

9. Embed your survey directly into the distribution channel

Make it as easy as possible for customers to answer your survey. Instead of having them click a link that opens another window, put your survey front and center in the email, chat window, or text.

10. Make sure your survey looks good on multiple devices

Consumers increasingly split time between mobile and desktop. Mobile market share is at 46% versus desktop market share at 50%, with tablet taking up the remainder. This makes it more important than ever to ensure your survey experience is optimized for any device.

Depending on screen size, answer scales may be better rendered vertically (best at the top, worst at the bottom) or horizontally. When you’re creating your survey, test it on multiple devices to make sure formatting doesn’t end up tanking your survey results.

11. Keep the look and feel of your survey consistent with your branding

Treat your survey as customer outreach, and make sure it represents your brand. Use consistent fonts, colors, and logos so customers recognize that it comes from you.

12. Provide an incentive for taking the survey

Make it clear to your customers that they will benefit from providing feedback. That benefit could take two forms: an improved product that solves more of their pain points, or the more literal incentive of a prize or discount.

When using incentives, it’s worth keeping a close eye on the quality of data to make sure folks aren’t mindlessly answering questions just to get the incentive, otherwise known as “straight-lining.” Keeping an eye on trends in scores and the quality of the open-ended feedback can be helpful in this scenario.

13. Don’t send too many surveys to the same customer

If you’re constantly sending your customers surveys, they’ll stop responding due to survey fatigue. Many customer experience platforms have customizable survey throttling built in, which ensures your customers are never over-surveyed.

14. Prime and remind customers to take the survey

Nudge (but don’t shove!) your customers to respond. You can do this by letting them know a survey is headed their way ahead of time (a common practice for B2B companies), and by sending customers a follow-up note once the survey has been sent out.

If you’d like to prime your customers for a survey, have your customer success representatives tell customers to be on the lookout, and elaborate on how the feedback will be used. After the survey has been delivered, they can follow up with a gentle reminder on a call or via email.

However, make sure your success and service reps aren’t gaming the system by asking for favorable scores, which has been known to happen if satisfaction ratings are tied to compensation. You may get a higher response rate, but the accuracy of the feedback will be compromised.

To avoid spamming your customers when following up, only remind those who didn’t open the email. With Delighted, you can automate the survey reminder process to follow up with customers after 7 days.

15. Close the loop and follow up with customers

Customer experience surveys generally happen on a regular cadence, especially if you’re using relationship surveys. Following up with customers who have completed your survey lets them know they’ve been heard, and increases the chances that they’ll continue to provide feedback. Here are best practices for closing the loop on customer feedback.

16. Test, test, and test some more

You won’t know exactly how your customers will respond to your survey program until you try. Use multiple channels, A/B test various subject lines, and try different survey cadences to figure out what works best for you.

If this sounds like a lot of elements to keep track of…you’re right. But don’t worry, a dedicated customer experience platform takes care of the heavy lifting. All of what we’ve recommended can be accomplished via Delighted — easily. Start your free trial (no credit card required) and kick off your customer experience program today.

Announcing Delighted + Klaviyo for Feedback-based Ecommerce Marketing Automation

Gathering and analyzing feedback is fundamental to a strong customer experience program. However, all of that feedback is meaningless if you don’t act on that feedback and close the loop with your customers.

That’s why today, we’re very excited to announce the Delighted + Klaviyo integration, which is now available on all Delighted plans.

A number of our ecommerce customers requested this integration to get easy access to a key segmentation metric for their marketing campaigns: customer feedback sentiment.

Klaviyo is a leading ecommerce marketing automation and email platform. They specialize in helping marketers create automated, personalized campaigns using audience segmentation. Klaviyo allows you to trigger web forms and email flows based on customer behavior, such as how long a customer has been browsing your site, which products they’ve abandoned in their cart, how many products they’ve purchased in the past, and more.

By adding Delighted customer feedback into Klaivyo’s existing repertoire of key engagement metrics, you’ll be able to segment your audience based on how they feel about your company. This integration makes it easier than ever to improve customer engagement, act on customer feedback, and increase revenue at scale.

Derek Shanahan, Head of Growth at ecommerce company Minaal, gathers feedback using Delighted’s Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys, and is currently using the Delighted + Klaviyo integration. He says:

“I think the primary benefits we’re excited about are related to piping NPS scores into Klaviyo profiles and improving the customer experience as a result.

We sent an email campaign prior to the integration that resulted in a bad experience — an owner found our product wasn’t for him, and that wasn’t reflected in his profile so we ended up looking a little tone-deaf.

We’re maniacal about customer service, so we respond to every negative NPS submission with a personal email from our support team. But, the Klaviyo segments sit at a different viewpoint and are only as good as the data you feed them.

It was clear (and resulted in our request for the integration) that NPS data was a sentiment indicator we should incorporate into our segments and flows, which generate communications automatically and over time should be ‘smart’ enough to reflect the customer journey.”

With customer sentiment now synced back up to the customer profile in Klaviyo in real-time, it isn’t just the customer support team that ensures the customer feels cared for — marketing can strike the right tone with their messaging, too.

And that gets to the heart of why we’re so excited about this integration.

Closing the Loop with Delighted + Klaviyo

Generally, feedback gathered from customer experience surveys (NPS, CSAT, CES, 5-Star, Smileys, and Thumbs) spur two very important types of close-the-loop reactions: a piece of customer-facing outreach, and internal action for a product or process improvement.

From the customer’s perspective, that last piece of outreach, even if it results in a positive outcome, is likely the last piece of feedback-driven messaging that the customer receives. With Delighted + Klaviyo, you now have a way to segment customers and tailor campaigns based on customer sentiment on an ongoing basis — no manual data exports or spreadsheet email list management required. Once you set up the integration, the feedback data automatically goes through so you can create new audience segments based on sentiment.

For happy customers, easily trigger an email campaign flow in Klaviyo to:

  • Ask them to write a product review
  • Let them know about a referral promotion
  • Introduce a new product they may like

For customers who had a poor experience, use Klaviyo to ensure your customers don’t end up feeling like their feedback was never received:

  • Remove them from automated flows that might treat them as if nothing happened
  • Re-engage them by following up on their negative experience
  • Send a targeted email promotion with incentives to win back their business

Whether you’re using multiple customer survey types, different distribution methods, or reaching out at varying touchpoints, you’ll be able to sync the full collection of customer feedback right back to Klaviyo.

Then, you can further refine messaging for web forms and email flows for increased relevance and conversion at any step of the customer journey.

How the Delighted + Klaviyo integration works

After using the Delighted API key to set-up the Klaviyo integration (detailed documentation in the Help Center), any new survey response that hits your Delighted dashboard will automatically sync over to Klaviyo. If that particular customer email address isn’t in Klaviyo yet, a new Profile record will be created.

As long as the customer email address is associated with the Delighted feedback, survey data collected using any distribution method (email, link URL, SMS, or web) will show up in Klaviyo.

From there, you’ll be able to segment customers by rating to customize messaging for your campaigns.

Here’s the full list of Delighted customer feedback data that you’ll be able to associate with the Klaviyo customer profile:

  • Number of surveys answered (last 30 days and all time)
  • Timestamp for the survey submission
  • Type of customer survey (NPS, CSAT, CES, Visual scale)
  • Numeric score
  • Any additional feedback comments
  • Permalink for the Delighted survey

Check out all of the other help desk software companies, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools, and marketing automation platforms that Delighted integrates with to help you create a customer-centric organization here.

If you’d like to start collecting customer feedback to inform your marketing campaigns and business strategy, sign up for a free Delighted trial (no credit card required) and see how easy it can be.

9 Customer Experience Metrics to Help your Brand Succeed

Think of the shopping, dining or travel experiences you enjoyed most. They probably didn’t just come down to the quality of the food or the products that you bought. They were associated with an experience that, as a whole, was pleasing and memorable.

Every interaction between a customer and your brand defines the customer experience. And, with 81% of marketers predicting that customer experience is how they will differentiate themselves from the competition, prioritizing CX now is how you can stay ahead of the curve.

There is no other area that allows you to set your brand apart like customer experience. Other retailers may offer similar products. They may find a way to beat you on price. But, if you can offer an exquisite experience for all of the customer interactions that matter, you will be the brand that wins.

The key is understanding what a customer is experiencing each time they interact with your brand, and how you can make that experience even better.

What is a customer experience metric?

Like everything else in your business, customer experience — often written as CX — can be improved most effectively when it can be measured. Customer experience metrics are a collection of criteria that your organization can use to measure how happy your customers are, so that you can actively work towards increasing customer loyalty and reducing churn.

Some metrics that can indicate how your customers feel about you are based on operational data. Metrics like resolution time on support teams or the lifetime value of a customer are easy to measure, providing clear and objective data to set team goals.

Other criteria that deal more explicitly with customer sentiment toward your brand can be tougher to measure. These customer experience metrics measure things that can seem subjective, such as customer satisfaction. However, by asking your current and potential customers the right questions, you can get a clearer picture of how the customers you value feel about you.

By evaluating your operational data in the context of customer experience metrics driven by actual customer feedback and sentiment, you’ll have a better idea of where you’re hitting the mark with customers, and where there’s room to improve.

For instance, you might learn that customers are generally satisfied with their experiences with you, but aren’t excited enough that they promote you to their friends. Or, you may learn that your customer service agents are great at solving customer issues, but a majority of callers are waiting much too long to get access to that stellar customer service.

Over time, measuring your performance leads to the best customer experience possible, which, in turn, leads to more valuable relationships and better revenue for your brand. You can learn which actions are likely to reduce churn and make customer relationships last longer. You’ll also learn which actions you can take to turn current satisfied customers into happy advocates for your brand.

Which metrics should you track?

There is no one set answer to this question. The metrics you should track depend on what insights or knowledge gaps you are trying to fill, and the customer touchpoints you’re looking to explore. The important part is that you start. Measure the ones that align with areas of the business you’d like to improve, set benchmarks, and stay on top of them.

Your brand will not succeed or fail based on a single metric. Your success, instead, is based on what you do with those numbers. These are criteria that you can use to see where you need to enhance your brand experience based on values you can authentically promote. Over time, you should see improvement as you put changes in place. Metrics are just the tool that you use to gauge your progress and set goals.

Popular experiential CX metrics

Choosing your metrics can seem a little daunting. The four popular experiential CX metrics below are a good place to start. You can measure them using a customer feedback platform to learn more about how your customers feel about your brand.

Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) score

CSAT, or customer satisfaction, is a metric that measures how satisfied customers are with your products and services. It is most commonly measured every time one of your customers interacts with your customer service representatives. However, you can also use CSAT surveys to gather feedback on a product, sales demo, or any other instance where a customer interacted with your brand.

Depending on what touchpoint you’re gathering feedback on, this measurement can give you a good picture of how the teams responsible for each aspect of the customer journey are performing, and how well your products are resonating with your customers.

CSAT is typically measured through a one-question survey. Ask the customer to rate how satisfied they were with their interaction. Options can go from 1 for completely dissatisfied to 5 for completely satisfied. For more insight, append an open-ended comment form to the initial CSAT question so customers can explain why they chose that rating.

Then, calculate your CSAT score by dividing the number of people who rate their experience a 4 or 5 by the total number of people who responded. The number you get, expressed as a whole number, is your CSAT rating. So, if a total of 100 people responded to your survey, and you are given 60 5s and 13 4s, you have a CSAT rating of 73.

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

Net Promoter Score is a number that predicts how likely someone is to talk favorably about your brand. The higher your score, the more positive buzz your company is likely to generate. It also reflects higher trust in your brand. When people know the person who speaks positively about a business, it makes them more likely to do business with you, too.

In marketing, this is often referred to as “social proof,” and it is recognized as one of the most powerful tools in your repertoire. People trust the opinions of the people they know. If those opinions of your brand are positive, the trust that a prospect has in their friend transfers to you.

NPS is measured through a single question that asks customers to rate on a scale of 1-10 how likely they are to recommend you to a friend. Customers who are 9s and 10s are more likely to speak positively about your brand, and 0s through 6s are more likely to speak negatively.

This rating question is followed by an open-ended comment box where customers can provide extra feedback on the context that led to the score. This context is where you’re most likely to get the concrete feedback you need to improve your score, and your customer experience.

Your final Net Promoter Score can range from -100 to 100. To calculate your NPS, subtract the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters.

Customer Effort Score (CES)

This number describes just how hard it is for someone to achieve a specific goal with your brand. This goal could be getting a product shipped to them, resolving a complaint, or simply getting the answer to a question before they order.

The reason that this metric is valuable is because it helps erase friction between your customer and a conversion. Every additional hurdle a customer has to get over makes it that much less likely that they will continue to do business with your brand.

Determine your CES by asking customers to rate from 1-5 how easy it was for them to accomplish their goal, phrased “[Company] made it easy for me to [accomplish a task].” The number of people who agreed (rated you 4 or 5) divided by the total number of survey responses is your score.

Check out our guide to learn more about what Customer Effort Score is and how you can leverage it to improve the customer experience to increase loyalty.

Visitor intent

When someone walks into your storefront, navigates to your webpage or calls you on the phone, what do they wish to accomplish? How well does that intent align with what they actually do when they interact with your brand?

Intent can be found by surveying customers. For example, to learn more about how customers feel about your online Help Center, you can start with an in-app CES survey question: “[Company] made it easy for me to find the support resources I was searching for” with an agree-disagree answer scale. Follow up with an open-ended question that asks “What was the primary resource you were looking for today?” to gain more qualitative insight around their intent.

Once you understand what your customers are trying to accomplish, you can create or improve upon the experiences that help them accomplish their goals.

Employee engagement (eNPS)

Employee engagement, measured through an employee NPS (eNPS) survey, and customer experience are intrinsically linked. Employees who feel engaged and enthusiastic about the company and the job are likely to pass that positive feeling along to the customers when they interact. By the same token, employees with a low level of engagement are less likely to give each interaction their all.

Short, frequent, anonymous surveys are a good way to gauge employee engagement. You can modify the Net Promoter Score question to be employee-facing by asking “How likely are you to recommend working at this company to a friend or family member?”

Follow that initial question with Additional Questions about morale levels, the level of challenge they feel in their job, and how engaged they feel in their current tasks.

Top operational CX metrics

The experience-related metrics above are based on subjective criteria. Nonetheless, measuring them can give you some of the most direct information about how your customers feel about your brand. Using them together with these operational CX metrics can help you see how you are currently doing, and how you are progressing toward your goals over time. Many of these metrics can be extracted from your customer relationship management (CRM) tools or through specific CX metrics tools. Metrics to watch over time include:

Customer churn

Customer churn, which is also often referred to as customer attrition, is the rate at which customers choose to stop doing business with your brand. There is no one predictor that will lead to churn. However, keeping up with this number can show you when you are failing to retain customers. On average, a company will lose around 15% of its customers each year. If you can reduce churn to a level that is lower than your competition, you are ahead of the game.

Customer retention

Retention is the opposite of churn. Your customer retention rate is the proportion of your customers who come back to do business again with your brand. Attaining and converting new customers is time-consuming and expensive. If you can reduce churn and increase your retention rate, you can significantly increase your company’s net revenue over time.

Customer lifetime value (CLV)

Customer lifetime value is the revenue from a customer over the life of your relationship with them. The higher the lifetime value, the better your return on your investment in this customer. Keeping customers happy with your brand is key to retaining them and increasing their spending with you.

You can also increase customer lifetime value by using tactics that increase spending with you during any one session. For instance, a shopping cart add-on that suggests related products can increase customer lifetime value. Well-timed emails that check in on the customer and make them feel cared for also increase lifetime value.

Behavioral analytics

How do your customers interact with your brand? When they visit your site, how long do they spend there? What actions do they take? Which pages do they head to most? How often do they start an action, such as a purchase, but abandon it before they complete it?

Information in this category can tell you a lot about the experience that your customers are having on your site. If they are frustrated with navigation, the amount of fields you require them to fill out, or another factor, it will come through in their behavior. Watching how they behave can allow you to create a site that is more intuitive and user-friendly, and ultimately increase your conversions.

Tracking cookies, combined with customer surveys to measure visitor intent, can tell you about how customers behave when they visit your site. By tracking their behavior over time, you’ll be able to see which changes have the most positive impact.

Customer support metrics

These are measurements that will include technical details of interactions with customer support. How long until a customer receives a response? How long does it take to get from the initial conversation to a resolution? The latter should be measured in the number of interactions as well as the time spent by the customer each time they contact your brand.

Leaving a business because of poor customer service is an incredibly common occurrence. More than eight in ten consumers say that they’ve stopped doing business with someone because of bad customer service.

However, even more say that they will go back to a business who makes a mistake and fixes it through good customer service. The better your brand is at solving customer service dilemmas, the more likely that brand is to retain their customers over time. This, in turn, dramatically increases the lifetime value of each customer and your company’s revenue.

Each of these metrics should be measured on a regular basis so that you can see how your teams and your organization as a whole are working toward a better customer experience. Over time, you can see where you are improving, where your brand’s products and services are resonating positively with customers, and where you need to use new tactics.

We can help you get to the data that will tell you more about your company’s CX. Delighted makes it easy to create customized surveys that give you the answers you need in a simple, clear format. You can also easily integrate all of your experiential metrics into your existing CRM tools, so you can analyze customer feedback in the context of your operational customer experience metrics.

Ready to get started? Sign up for a free trial today to start collecting customer feedback.

Relationship vs Transactional Surveys for Measuring the Customer Experience

You’ve done the hard work and earned your customer’s attention, but do you know how loyal they are to your brand or how engaged they are in your business? Do you know why some customers tend to stay while others go?

Relationship and transactional surveys measure your customer experience, whether that’s through Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Effort Score (CES), or Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) metrics, so that you can better understand the “why” behind customer engagement and loyalty.

These metrics help you work out where you can improve your customer experience to boost engagement and increase sales from potential and existing customers.

But what is the difference between relationship and transactional surveys? How do you decide which type of survey is right for your business and customers?

Let’s take a closer look at relationship versus transactional surveys using NPS, CSAT, and CES surveys as clarifying examples.

What are customer relationship surveys?

Relationship surveys show you at a high level where your customer experience needs improving and where you are doing well in your business. They ask customers to rate you based on their overall experience rather than on a specific product or service.

The most popular and well-known relationship survey is the NPS survey.

Relationship NPS surveys

The NPS system, created by Fred Reichheld from Bain & Company in 2003, uses a simple, standard question to measure customer loyalty and advocacy: How likely are you to recommend [company] to a friend? That Net Promoter question is followed by an open-form comment box so customers can elaborate on their answer.

NPS surveys provide the high-level perspective that defines the standard relationship survey. Sent on a regular schedule, NPS surveys generate a metric you can monitor over time to ensure your company is delivering a continually improving customer experience. Beyond the metric, relationship surveys also drum up helpful open-ended feedback from customers — offering clarity into what initiatives correlate to strong brand loyalty, and where that loyalty is faltering.

NPS is relevant for any industry. In fact, in the highly competitive tech industry, the Temkin Group found that “NPS is strongly correlated to customers’ willingness to spend more with tech vendors, try their new products and services, forgive them after a bad experience, and act as a reference for them with prospective clients.”

In a nutshell, relationship surveys help you understand customer loyalty to your brand. In addition to the standard NPS question, there are also other relationship survey questions that can help you understand retention, advocacy, and purchasing loyalty.

Here are some examples of relationship questions you can append to the NPS survey for expanded feedback and more granular insight:

  • Retention: How likely are you to switch to another [company, provider, servicer, product]?
  • Retention: How likely are you to renew your [contract]?
  • Purchasing loyalty: Based on your experience, how likely are you to [purchase another product, use additional services] from [company]?

You’ll likely notice that these relationship survey questions are a bit more broad, and less specific to any particular interaction or transaction. This is by design. Relationship surveys are focused on surfacing feedback related to the overall customer experience. When coupled with the free-form follow-up question, relationship surveys can provide wide-ranging, holistic feedback about their experience — product, service efficiency, or otherwise. With just two quick questions, you’ll have multiple levels of insight into your customers.

Now that we’ve gone over what a relationship survey is, let’s break down the mechanics of setting up your relationship survey program.

Who should receive your relationship survey

The first step to sending a relationship survey is selecting which customers to ask for feedback. You can survey all customers for a broad approach, or choose specific customer or client groups for a more focused sampling. Who you survey ultimately boils down to the goals of your survey program and the feedback you’re trying to surface.

For example, try sending surveys to your lowest-sales or non-repeat customers. Since sales for repeat customers suggest you are likely doing something right with your customer experience, non-returning customers will provide a different perspective and help you figure out where you need improvement, or what you could do to motivate those customers to work with you again.

Best time to send your relationship survey

The second step is to decide when and how often to send your survey. Since relationship surveys are based on a complete experience of your brand, they should be sent after the customer has been able to experience your product.

To track your relationship survey score over time, survey your customers on a regular basis. Try 30, 60, or 90 day intervals, and see which is the best fit for your business and customers.

Ways to deliver relationship surveys

The third step is to determine what channel you want to use to send your relationship survey. Survey distribution can happen in person, over the phone, on a kiosk, via text, or digitally. In more recent years, online survey distribution methods (email, link, and in-app surveys), have gained popularity due to convenience for both the company and the customer, as well as scalability.

Generally, it makes sense to choose a survey distribution channel based on how you generally interact with customers. If communication predominantly takes place via email, send an email survey. If meaningful interactions take place in-app, use a web survey.

For a more complete breakdown of how to send customer surveys, read about the pros and cons of each of the survey distribution methods.

NPS software platforms help automate the entire process, from survey creation and distribution to feedback analysis and CRM data integration.

Relationship surveys are great for understanding how loyal customers are to your brand, but as we’ve said earlier, the feedback does tend to be high-level, and will likely cover the entire customer journey. In order to get more targeted insights, we recommend tailoring surveys for the touchpoints that your relationship surveys have surfaced.

That’s where transactional surveys come in.

What are Transactional Surveys?

A transactional customer feedback survey is tied to a specific customer interaction with your brand. Transactional surveys get you down into the nitty-gritty by referencing a specific transaction or service used. You’ll gain immediate, actionable feedback on specific products or interaction touchpoints, such as the sales experience, customer support experience, or even your website experience.

CSAT and CES surveys are two different types of transactional surveys. You can also modify the phrasing and timing of an NPS survey to turn it into a transactional NPS (tNPS) survey.

Let’s go through each of these survey types for the transactional use case.

Transactional CSAT surveys

Customer satisfaction (CSAT) surveys are the classic transactional survey, and can be used at any customer touchpoint to evaluate whether the interaction has met the customer’s expectations.

CSAT surveys ask “How satisfied were you with [company interaction/product]?” with a rating scale from 1 to 5. An open-form comment allows customers to explain the reason for their rating.

The stakes for customer satisfaction are high — studies have shown that 89% of customers switch to a competitor if they have a poor customer experience. Monitoring the satisfaction of key touchpoints and understanding how to improve them is paramount to future-proofing your business and driving growth.

Here are some examples of CSAT survey questions modified for different customer experience touchpoints:

  • How satisfied were you with [the sales experience]?
  • How satisfied were you with [the product]?
  • How satisfied were you with [the onboarding experience]?
  • How satisfied were you with [your customer service agent]?

Customer satisfaction surveys are an easy, straightforward way to gauge how you’re doing at any customer touchpoint. These transactional surveys should be sent to your customers immediately post-interaction or a few days after product delivery so that the feedback is fresh.

Transactional CES surveys

Developed in 2011, Customer Effort Score (CES) measures the ease of a customer’s experience with the statement: [Company] made it easy for me to handle my issue. Customers mark whether they “strongly disagree” or “strongly agree” on a scale from 1 to 5.

How much effort did it take for the customer to accomplish their goal? Studies have shown that reducing customer effort in the support process can also lead to increased loyalty, which is why CES is such an important metric.

You can modify the CES question in various ways to apply the survey to interactions beyond customer service. Here are some examples:

  • For feedback on a support ticket: “[Service agent] made it easy for me to resolve my issue.”
  • For feedback on the ease of an in-store or website experience: “It was easy for me to find what I was looking for.”
  • For feedback on the ease of the online purchase process: “It was easy for me to make a transaction.”
  • For feedback on a self-service feature: “[Tutorial/article] made it easy for me to resolve my issue.”

CES surveys should be delivered directly after a customer or client interaction to gauge the amount of effort it took to take an action.

What is a Transactional NPS vs Relationship NPS survey?

As mentioned earlier, the baseline NPS survey is a relationship survey that asks your customers to rate you based on their overall experience with your brand.

However, you can also modify the NPS survey question to make it specific to a service, product, or interaction. A transactional NPS (tNPS) survey question would be phrased: “Based on your most recent [experience/product purchase], how likely are you to recommend [company]?”

Whether you use CSAT, CES, or tNPS surveys as your preferred transactional survey type comes down to the customer experience you’re looking to gauge.

Interested in surfacing insights to drive down customer support resolution time? Consider CES for its direct alignment with customer effort. Trying to get a gauge on customer sentiment following a purchase experience? Leverage CSAT for a quick pulse on customer satisfaction.

Some companies find the “recommend” phrasing limiting for transactional use cases, and prefer to use CSAT surveys for those touchpoints. Since CES has its own angle, it is often the most effective format for measuring the ease of self-service and support interactions.

For simplicity’s sake, those who are already running a relationship NPS program may find it easier to get buy-in for tNPS, since their organization already understands the NPS metric. The “recommend” phrasing, when applied to a transaction, could also help those companies understand how much impact each customer touchpoint has on overall sentiment towards their brand.

No matter which transactional survey type you choose, survey distribution best practices are similar.

Who should receive your transactional survey

The specific experience you’re hoping to get feedback on determines who receives your survey. If you’d like feedback on a certain product, then only the customers who purchased that product should get a survey. Likewise, if you’re measuring the efficacy of your customer service team, only the customers who have reached out to customer service with an issue should be asked to provide feedback.

A more in-depth example would be if you wanted to evaluate your web content. For instance, say you want to measure the quality of a tutorial in your help center. You would only show the survey to people who have interacted with the page in a way that signals they are digesting the content (e.g. a certain time threshold, a particular interaction, scroll depth, etc.)

For transactional surveys, it’s all about the interaction you’d like to evaluate. Your audience must be qualified as people who have enough experience with that touchpoint to provide meaningful feedback.

Best time to send your transactional survey

Since transactional surveys are tied to a specific interaction, it’s imperative that your CSAT, CES, or tNPS survey is sent while the experience is still fresh on your customer’s mind.

Generally, the best practice for web, sales, or customer service interactions is to follow up immediately or by the next business day. For product feedback, following up within a few days of product delivery is customary, so that the customer gets a chance to use whatever they’ve purchased. Timelines vary by industry, so tailor follow-up to your specific use case.

Ways to deliver transactional surveys

For transactional surveys, the same distribution methods of email, SMS text, link URL, website, kiosk, and in-person all still apply. Once again, you should choose the method that aligns most closely with where the interaction takes place.

For instance, a CSAT or CES survey for live chat support should be sent directly within the chat box via link. On the other hand, request email feedback for a sales demo.

For retailers who have both a brick-and-mortar and ecommerce store, having multiple survey distribution methods can be key to improving both the in-store and online shopping experience. Feedback on the purchase process could be collected via kiosk or a survey link that’s been printed on a receipt for the in-store experience, while web surveys could be used for the online experience.

Similar to NPS, having dedicated CES software or a CSAT platform can help you manage your customer experience program immensely. Survey creation and distribution follow best practices for increased response rates if you run them through a customer experience platform. What’s more, customer follow-up, results analysis, and feedback integration into your existing customer database, chat tools, and CRM can all be automated.

The differences between relationship and transactional surveys aren’t just in the survey question and delivery timeline — they also differ in the types of follow-up you can perform once you’ve calculated your scores and analyzed your results.

Calculating relationship and transactional survey scores

NPS, CSAT, CES, and tNPS score calculation depends on the survey rating scale.

However, NPS relationship surveys have one more benefit: the segmentation of your customers into promoters, passives, and detractors. This feedback-based segmentation is built into the score calculation, and can be an advantage when it comes to promoting your brand and figuring out ways to increase customer engagement.

If you use both relationship and transactional surveys, you can benchmark a transactional survey score against your overall NPS score to see if that touchpoint has a positive or negative influence on loyalty, or in some cases, no influence at all.

Score calculation for the NPS rating scale

NPS categorizes respondents based on their rating. For example, customers who choose 9-10 are promoters and your most loyal customers. They are happy with your service or product and likely to recommend it to friends and family, which can be a great business driver.

On the other hand, negative word-of-mouth hurts businesses. Customers who choose 6 and under are detractors and are generally unhappy with your service or product. Detractors are unlikely to recommend your brand to their friends and family. In some cases, they may even write poor reviews on 3rd-party sites to drive business away.

These metrics help you decide where to focus your customer engagement, such as understanding what makes the detractor crowd disappointed in your brand and how you can rectify it. It is also good to know what makes the promoters happy with your brand and how you can get your numbers up.

You’ll also want to be aware of the passive customers who gave you a rating of 7 or 8. These customers are less loyal and subject to favoring competitors over your company.

To calculate your NPS, subtract the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters, or use our interactive NPS calculator to calculate your score.

With your customers segmented in this way, you have a clear picture of who you can ask to be a referral reference, or who might be open to testing out a new product feature for you. On the other hand, you also know what group of customers you need to focus on to proactively prevent churn.

Score calculation for the CSAT and CES rating scale

Since both of these transactional surveys are on a 5-point scale, the method for calculating the score is the same. Simply take the number of those who gave you a 4 or a 5, and divide by the total number of survey responses you received.

Transactional feedback is, by design, hyper-focused on specific interactions and moments in the customer experience. However, don’t view this feedback in a vacuum. A customer could be satisfied with a certain interaction, but if they found any other part of the experience frustrating, they could still have a tendency to churn. Or, vice versa, a customer may have had one hiccup that was caught by your survey, but still be willing to advocate for you.

Using both relationship and transactional surveys to monitor customer happiness ensures all your bases are covered, and gives you a holistic understanding of the key drivers of customer loyalty.

Relationship vs transactional surveys for your customer experience program

The best customer experience programs incorporate both relationship and transactional surveys to their benefit. Combining the two gives you a bigger picture of your customer experience, whereas relying on data from just one or the other can leave gaps in insight coverage and team metrics.

If you’re only going to use one type, decide which metric is more important for understanding client engagement and aligns with your goals.

Relationship surveys give you a better overall idea of customer loyalty. Send them out to your entire customer base on a regular basis for feedback, and activate your promoters for brand advocacy while routing detractors to customer support for follow-up.

Transactional surveys determine the quality of a specific service or product and allow you to improve individual relationships immediately after customers have interacted with your company. If you only use transactional surveys, you miss out on the opportunity to define your loyal customer base versus those at risk of churn.

Each survey type offers unique insight into your customers and clients. If you’re brand new to running a customer experience program, consider starting with an overarching relationship NPS program, and then branching out into CSAT, CES, or tNPS surveys when you’ve identified which customer touchpoints need a bit more work. If your key performance indicators (KPIs) are tied directly to the efficacy of the website or the customer service team, consider starting with a CSAT or CES survey.

Whatever you decide, Delighted can help. With our Projects feature, you can manage multiple types of surveys (relationship or transactional) all from one account interface. Sign up today for a Delighted free trial to create and send 250 surveys for free.

More recommended reading for setting up your customer experience program:

Are you maximizing your customer feedback analysis?

So you’ve done the hard work of gathering customer feedback. You’ve created the perfect survey with a reliable distribution method, and as a result, have a gold mine of customer input at your disposal. Now it’s time to put that data to use with some customer feedback analysis.

No matter how well-executed the survey, you won’t get much use out of your feedback if you don’t analyze the results.

With the right survey design methodology and tools for data interpretation, you’ll be able to surface key insights from your survey results, and help your organization thrive.

In this post, we’ll walk through all the basics of customer feedback analysis, from prepping your customer data to using survey analytics tools to simplify the process.

Analyzing customer feedback

Conducting survey analytics can be complicated. However, with a well-designed survey and a reliable reporting and analytics tool, anyone can quickly extract valuable insights from their customer feedback.

First things first — let’s make sure your customer data sets are in order.

Setting up the operational customer data

When you first designed your customer survey, you should have had an idea of who the people answering the survey would be, and how they interacted with your company. This customer data is the internal operational data that you want to associate with each respective customer’s feedback (experiential data).

Some common examples of operational data are: customer lifetime value, new versus existing customer, subscription duration, location, customer journey touchpoint, product purchased, service used, service agent, and user role. Even if your survey is an anonymous web survey, you can use the information you have, such as when and where the survey was delivered during the web experience, to segment the resulting data.

Connecting this operational data to the experiential data is the key to making the most out of your customer feedback and drawing meaningful conclusions.

Categorizing the experiential customer data

Customer feedback comes in two forms: quantitative metrics represented by ratings your customers have given you, and qualitative feedback in free-form comments where customers explain the reason for their ratings.

Here are the fundamental steps to categorizing raw customer feedback so you can join it with your operational data.

  1. Read the open-ended feedback. You don’t want to miss an opportunity for a breakthrough idea, or a chance to improve an existing feature/service.

  2. After reading over the feedback, sort comments into categories based on meaningful keywords mentioned, such as hours, location, customer service, product features, etc.

  3. Filter the comments within these categories into positive and negative groups based on the qualitative score.

  4. Note trends that surface based on your keyword and sentiment filters. This is where an analytics dashboard comes in handy for lifting out significant feedback.

  5. Compare the feedback across segments using your customer operational data, sentiment scores, and surfaced trends.

At first, you may need to do some manual analysis to get a feel for where your strengths and weaknesses are, and to understand what keywords your customers use to describe them.

If you have a customer feedback platform with survey analytics tools, you’ll be able to set up filters using those keywords so all your future feedback will be automatically segmented for quick dashboard reporting and analysis.

In addition to organizing your customer feedback by score and feedback channel, well-designed customer feedback platforms allow you to pass operational customer data into the platform easily, or integrate customer data into your existing toolsets.

Equipping your team with the best customer data reporting and analytics software available greatly simplifies the survey analysis process, so that your customer experience program scales with you as your business grows.

In the next section, we’ll examine all of the need-to-know components of customer feedback analytics and how they work, so that by the end of this post you’ll feel prepared to derive valuable insights from your surveys.

Extracting relevant insights from customer data

Data without insights is virtually useless; if you don’t know how to interpret your customers’ feedback, you can’t use it to your advantage. On the other hand, with the proper tools and knowledge, customer feedback can be a real game-changer for your organization.

According to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, loyal customers can be worth 10 times as much as a single purchase. Clearly, maintaining a positive relationship with your customers is in your organization’s best interest.

Properly interpreting customer feedback allows you to track customer sentiment over time, identify areas of weakness within your organization, and generate plans for future improvement. Dashboards are a great place to start.

Feedback dashboard analytics

One feature that will make life easier is an analytics dashboard. The raw data from customer feedback can be disorganized and overwhelming. A customer feedback dashboard, however, is a streamlined way of organizing and visualizing customer feedback.

Using a customer feedback dashboard, you can easily track feedback in real-time and perform keyword searches to target specific areas of customer concern.

Customer feedback dashboards enable you to recognize and integrate insights gained from survey results to benefit your organization. The best dashboard tools also seamlessly integrate with your favorite platforms and services (like Slack or MailChimp), so acting off of feedback is easier than ever.

Having a firm grasp of customer sentiment can be make or break when it comes to increasing your organization’s revenue and productivity. According to Ruby Newell-Legner’s “Understanding Customers,” it costs 6 times more to attract a new customer than it does to keep an old one. Customer feedback dashboards equip you with the tools you will need to maintain customer loyalty.

Using a customer feedback dashboard, your organization can:

  • Understand customer sentiment at a glance
  • Filter feedback on keywords and customer segments
  • Keep up with customer feedback in real-time

What’s more, a customer feedback dashboard gives all teams within your organization access to important customer data. That way all teams are on the same page, staying connected to real customer concerns.

Just ask JT Marino and Daehee Park, co-founders of the mattress company Tuft & Needle, how using a customer feedback dashboard has benefited their business.

Prior to implementing a customer feedback dashboard, Marino says “We weren’t hearing from people who were happy. We weren’t making the good things better.” That soon changed when Marino and Park decided to give a customer experience program a try.

Through the use of a powerful customer feedback dashboard, Marino and Park were able to determine that many of their customers were opening their mattresses in their living rooms as opposed to their bedrooms.

This exposed a design flaw in their mattresses: weak handles. With this new knowledge, Marino and Park were able to improve the design of their products to better suit their customers’ habits and increase customer satisfaction.

With a customer feedback dashboard, your organization will be capable of hearing the voices of the people who matter most: the customers.

Survey results analysis and reporting

Though data analysis and data reporting are two separate processes, in tandem they can provide actionable insights that significantly benefit your organization. But first, let’s go over some basics.

Data reporting is simply the process of tracking certain metrics within your organization (ex: number of sales and returns).

Survey data reporting goes one step further, and includes sharing the results and insights from your customer feedback surveys with the rest of the company. In order to arrive at those insights, the feedback data must be analyzed in the context of your internal business metrics.

The right customer experience management software makes data reporting and analytics easy, allowing you to recognize and track meaningful feedback trends within your body of customers.

Survey reports

Survey reports are all about rolling up your customer feedback data into an easily understood, shareable format. Reports are used to benchmark and track your overall customer sentiment over time to ensure that you maintain a high standard of customer satisfaction.

Many customer experience programs provide user-friendly visual aids, making it easy to share reports of customer sentiment on a monthly, quarterly, and yearly basis. If your operational data has been piped in, you’ll also be able to segment customer sentiment by product line, customer type, and purchase channel.

These reports allow you to identify the top themes that create unsatisfied customers. This can then guide your organization in its plans for future improvement.

Staying up to date on current customer feedback is just as important as tracking trends. With real-time customer feedback reporting, you can ensure that your organization is keeping up with its customers on a daily basis.

Survey results analysis

When you’re running a customer service team or managing the customer experience across multiple channels, your deepest insights may come from comparing the performance of one customer service agent to another, or comparing the customer experience for different retail experiences.

When you create this comparison table, technically known as a contingency table, to compare user survey results across operational data (product lines, business units, and customer segments, etc.), you’re performing what is called a “cross-tab analysis.” Cross-tab analysis summarizes all of your categorized customer data in a dynamic table, so you can look at different experiences side by side for deeper insights.

However, formatting your data to do this analysis can sometimes be tricky, especially if you’re doing it all in an Excel spreadsheet. Using a dedicated tool can save you hours of time on a weekly basis.

Let’s take a look at what a cross-tab analysis can help you uncover using the sample demo feedback above.

In this scenario, the in-person retail store experience is suffering. But what’s interesting is that when you compare channels side by side, you can see that the website and mobile app experience are faring significantly better.

After identifying this anomaly, dig into the open-feedback comments for more context to perform a root cause analysis. Compare what type of interactions are taking place in-store versus digitally, if there is a customer segment in particular that is having a bad experience, and get to the source of the negative reviews.

If you have multiple store locations and product collections, you could also pivot the customer data along those segments. Layering in other operational data, such as existing versus new customers and customer lifetime value can also result in interesting insights.

You can try pivoting this data yourself in the Delighted demo account.

Having a handle on the benefits of data reporting and analytics is critical. But, it’s also important to be intentional about how you source your customer data.

Next, we will discuss how different types of customer surveys can enable you to extract the kinds of customer feedback you need.

Insights Based on Survey Type

As you may have suspected, different types of customer surveys yield different types of results. The type of survey you choose, then, should be reflective of the insights your organization aims to gain.

Below, we’ll walk you through three types of customer surveys that yield actionable results.

Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys

NPS surveys measure customer satisfaction and loyalty. These surveys pose one question: How likely are you to recommend this product or service to a friend or colleague? (On a scale of 1-10). Following this question, customers can choose to engage in a freeform follow-up where they can further explain their rating.

In an NPS survey, those who answer 9-10 are considered Promoters, while those who answer 1-6 are considered Detractors. Anyone who responds with a 7-8 is considered a Passive.

NPS does not only provide a general sense of how your product or service is doing. It also gives you an opportunity to target detractors in hopes of improving their customer experience.

Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) surveys

CSAT surveys are used to measure a customer’s satisfaction with a specific situation. These surveys ask: How satisfied were you with (product or situation)? Customers choose a response between 1-5 with the option of a freeform follow-up. Respondents who choose 4 or 5 are considered satisfied.

CSAT surveys are a great way of gaining insight into specific customer experience interactions. For example, after a customer support conversation or after a visit to a retail store.

Customer Effort Score (CES) surveys

CES surveys measure the amount of effort it takes for a customer to complete a certain action. For example, a CES survey might pose a statement like, “Microsoft made it easy for me to resolve my issue today,” and ask you how strongly you agree (between 1-5).

CES surveys are more important now than ever as customers expect products and services to be delivered with little customer effort.

As stated above, each type of customer feedback survey has its own purpose. Using a well-rounded customer experience management platform enables you to choose between these major types of customer feedback surveys so that you can tailor your customer experience program to suit your organization’s specific needs.

Conclusion

When you take the time to read, sort and analyze feedback using the processes noted above, your customer surveying efforts will result in actionable insights.

Customer feedback dashboards make feedback easily accessible, and can be customized to your organization’s needs. With proper data reporting and analytics, you can easily track specific themes and trends in customer feedback, allowing those metrics to inform future decisions.

Ultimately, by using a customer experience program, you are ensuring that your customers are being heard.

Now that you’ve got a better grasp of the basics, it’s time to choose a customer experience program that works for you and, more importantly, your customers.

Try gathering and analyzing feedback with a free Delighted trial.

How to Close the Loop on Customer Experience Feedback

You’ve collected, analyzed, and derived insights from customer data - now what?

The customer will be waiting for acknowledgement or an update from your company, so creating an efficient, organized, and candid system to close the loop with your clients and make the required changes you need is vital.

Since your customers’ needs and wants are always evolving, the process of staying on track with the innovation needed to maintain relevance can be daunting. The sheer amount of data alone that comes in from surveys can cause delays in responding to customer feedback and hinder efficient growth.

Customers need to feel heard and understood. To have answered a bevy of surveys but not see any significant change is discouraging.

To help both your company and clients feel successful after customer feedback has been delivered, you need to have an efficient process for taking action and closing the loop. Keeping some best practices in mind, let’s dive into how to interpret customer feedback and channel those insights to the right teams for execution.

Driving change with data

Insights are just numbers and words without action. Taking the next step to delve into the customer experience with your products or services is about interpreting this data in a functional way, and not solely reporting it in graphs and charts.

To apply your newfound data insights, create an efficient process to get back to your clients quickly and enact change. Once these appropriate changes have been put in place, measure the results of your actions to make sure you’re making the right decisions.

In this post, we’ll show you how to apply these survey results to drive meaningful change in your organization.

Taking action on customer feedback

Collecting user feedback is just the tip of the iceberg. Once that is completed, it’s time to focus your energy on making meaningful improvements.

As you take action on user feedback, keep these four factors in mind:

Inform decisions: Staying in tune with your clients means collecting and reporting back on customer feedback, interpreting the data, and routing the insights to the people who can make the biggest impact with the information.

Close the loop: When dealing with negative feedback, identify the detractors and set up ways to connect them directly with your help desk. Develop long-term solutions to safeguard against future negative experiences while turning existing unhappy customers into your biggest fans.

Engage with promoters: Using your feedback, identify the promoters, create a post-survey follow up process to maintain that positive relationship, and encourage brand advocacy and engagement from loyal users.

Follow up with passive customers: There will always be some customers who are passive or neutral. People in this group could shift into promoters (or detractors), so keeping an eye on them and following up when necessary is key.

Let’s take a closer look at these factors below, with each broken down into key steps.

Inform decisions

How can you leverage different types of surveys to inform decisions? This is an all-important question when thinking about your bottom line and how to better meet your clients’ needs.

Step 1: Collecting and reporting customer feedback

Surveying customers in an intentional way leads to accurate data for understanding your customers’ expectations. Knowing what aspect of the customer experience you want to improve upon, asking the right questions, and following survey design best practices is a great way to start.

Step 2: Interpreting the Data

Being familiar with the different kinds of surveys and knowing which to apply for your intended goals will make all the difference when interpreting the data. Here are some of the most popular customer survey types:

Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a popular survey type that measures customer loyalty. The feedback collected from NPS surveys is great for informing business strategy and identifying what needs to be improved at a high level.

NPS surveys are a great way to identify both brand promoters and detractors among your existing customers, and also measure satisfaction.

By simply asking the question, “How likely are you to recommend us to a friend or colleague?” a company can discover critical information for stimulating growth.

Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) surveys are popular for getting feedback from a recent, specific experience. CSAT surveys are great for gaining insight into customer support interactions and product experience.

When thinking about these interactions and experiences, some common ways businesses can interpret this data is by looking at different departments’ scores to see how successful they were.

From here, competitive loss surveys can be run through marketing to inform future campaigns and measure how well customer support practices are working. You can also use post-purchase feedback to refine and increase success in the sales process.

Customer Effort Score (CES) surveys promote loyalty by helping you understand where you can reduce the amount of effort customers need to exert when doing business with you.

Strong CES ratings have been correlated to increased brand loyalty and higher repurchase rates. Plus, since it’s applicable to any customer-facing process, you can use CES to take corrective action at any relevant step of the customer lifecycle.

It’s a helpful tool to measure the effectiveness of self-service transactions and customer support interactions.

Graphic surveys are a quick and easy way for customers to give immediate feedback in place of a long, drawn-out survey.

They can come in the form of smiley/frowny faces, 5-star rating systems, and thumbs up/down surveys. When using graphic surveys, it’s important to keep the questions short, to the point, and relevant to the answer scale.

Step 3: Routing data to the people who can make a difference

Once you have the insights and data from your specific survey method, you can start solving problems and improving on customer satisfaction.

Whether that means starting a dialogue with your customer success department and marketing, or taking a closer look at how a specific product feature has affected customers, being able to route feedback to the team who owns that step in the customer experience is what will drive change.

Let’s take a look at an example from the company, Bonobos, who successfully used real-time customer feedback to improve the customer experience.

Bonobos used NPS surveys to track feedback about big operational changes. At the beginning of 2014, the company experimented with adding an extra step to the shipping process. They suspected the change would cause a handful of inbound customer questions and perhaps a few grumbles, but the data told a different story: customers couldn’t stand the change. “We were able to literally just watch the scores decline,” Dunn says. “That enabled us to have the confidence to roll back the change.”

When using customer feedback to improve your business, understanding the types of surveys to use, how to draw conclusions from them, and who the information should go to all need to come together to have the greatest possible impact on your company’s future.

While customer surveys can help you understand your strengths and predict brand loyalty, they can also help you address negative feedback. In the next section, we’ll look more into how to improve a negative customer experience.

Close the loop

How do you close the loop on negative feedback? To quote Fred Reichheld from Bain and Company, “It’s not the score that matters; it’s what you do with it to make promoters that really counts.”

Closing the loop requires listening to what the customer has to say, and figuring out how to solve the problem.

In the steps below, we’ll walk through how to make customers feel you are committed to listening to their feedback and how to develop the necessary changes to shift them from detractors to promoters.

Step 1: Identifying detractors

As mentioned in an earlier section, the NPS framework is a great way to identify who your detractors are. Common examples of detractors are customers who answer anywhere from 0-6 on a 10-point scale, or customers who share negative feedback by word-of-mouth on social review sites.

According to SMBCEO, detractors are two times as likely to spread their negative opinion than promoters are to spread positive feedback, and that “it takes nearly 12 good experiences to make up for one unresolved poor experience,” so you can see why it’s vitally important to identify detractors as soon as possible.

Step 2: Connecting to your help desk

When it becomes clear who the people are that need your attention, the personal touch can be key. When facing detractors, it is important to make them feel appreciated and heard, so a more direct line to you and your company via a connection to your help desk can send a clear signal you’re available and want to help.

Plus, “If they should encounter any new issues, they’ll feel comfortable knowing they can reach out to a real person on your team who cares. This is incredibly valuable. It gives you the opportunity to head off any future problems before they have a chance to sour the relationship.”

Step 3: Turning unhappy customers into your biggest fans

It can be discouraging for a business to see that there are unhappy customers out there. However, these negative clients can become future promoters if you figure out a solution to their problems.

They can be re-engaged.

As many of us have experienced, a common complaint in the world of technology is that people don’t get enough personalized human interaction. With this in mind, a personal phone call to hear someone out and find a solution can help make a customer literally and figuratively feel heard.

Personal emails asking open-ended questions can help clients open up and feel connected to you, as well. You can also offer proactive solutions to the problems they’re having so it doesn’t feel like a dead end to them.

Once you are able to identify any detractors, offering help or access to you in a proactive and open way shows the client you’re willing to create change for them. By responding to detractors in a timely manner, you have every chance to turn a formerly negative situation around.

Engage promoters

How do you make the most of promoters?

When considering how to best leverage promoters you’ve already gained, don’t fall into the trap of assuming they’ll spread the word on their own or that they don’t need special attention. Remember, promoters “…can amplify your strengths, drive referrals, coach new users, and even help guide the product roadmap.”

Step 1: Identify promoters

As with detractors, the NPS program is a helpful way to identify who your promoters are. When you combine NPS, CSAT, and CES programs, you can paint a more helpful picture of exactly why some customers may be more loyal versus likely to churn.

Studies indicate it costs two to four times more to acquire a new customer than the annual cost of keeping an existing customer, so by identifying who your promoters are, you can save your company a lot of time and money.

Additionally, if a customer is happy with your services and feels appreciated by you, there’s a much higher chance they’ll refer your services. As referrals from loyal customers have a 92% retention rate versus 68% for a customer acquired from advertising (source: Bill Bleuel, PhD, Graziadio Business Report), you can see why working with your promoters is so important.

Step 2: Post-survey follow up

One option to create strong, effective change and to show your loyal customers you’re listening is to establish a survey action committee that leads the customer listening effort. Members of the committee should represent different key areas of the business. Showing this level of care can promote goodwill, higher levels of engagement, and increase survey participation rates in general.

Through a committee like this, you can also reach out and communicate any results you gather and what your plan of attack will be in addressing them.

Step 3: Encourage brand advocacy and engagement from loyal users

In many cases, new clients will want to hear from current or former clients about their experiences. Your promoters can be a great resource to tap into for this. If you reach out to a few loyal customers, they may be willing to speak with potential clients occasionally. From their personal experience, they have a unique perspective to offer.

This sentiment can be extended by simply asking a promoter to write a review for your company on a highly trafficked site like Yelp or Trustpilot, as well.

To give promoters further personalized attention, you could invite them to participate in round table discussions, giving them a platform to discuss how they solve problems, maximize value, and what else they would love to see from you.

For example, once you’ve gathered your information from the round table discussion, you can then utilize this engagement to generate great content for guides, FAQs, blog posts, and more. They can take the shape of a simple video conference, a visit to your office, or even a nice dinner in a nearby city.

It’s easy to focus all your energy on detractors, but when you are able to identify and leverage promoters fully, the benefits are exponential.

Follow up with passive customers

The actions you can take with promoters and detractors tend to be more straightforward. But what about passive or neutral customers?

Even though a neutral assessment doesn’t hurt as much as an outright negative review, you still feel a twinge when you see a passive rating roll in. These ratings essentially translate to “Meh, it was okay. It got the job done.” You still think to yourself, “What could we have done to make this customer rave about us?”

Passive and neutral customers should not be ignored. As we’ve said before, good is not good enough. The appetite for a better experience is bottomless, and next to detractors, passive customers are the ones who are most likely to go looking for a different solution.

However, since the action you can take to close the loop with these customers is not always clear, it is important to be thoughtful when following up.

Step 1: Identifying passive customers for outreach

When you have a CSAT, CES, or NPS program in place, you can identify passive customers by how they rate you. Passive or neutral customers are the ones who give you a score of 3 on a 1-5 CSAT or CES scale, or a 7-8 on the 10-point NPS scale.

However, because passive customers by definition may not have a problem that requires “solving,” reaching out to every single neutral customer may not be time-efficient or useful. What you can do is some further analysis to put their rating into context so that you can have a fruitful conversation.

The passive customers you want to prioritize for follow-up are:

  • Those who provided an open-ended comment following their rating. These customers are likely to be open to further discussion, since they went to the trouble of providing context for their feedback in the first place.

  • Those whose scores have shifted. The beauty of having an ongoing voice of the customer program is that you will have multiple feedback points for your customers. If ratings are on a downward or upward trend, bring that up during follow-up for a more meaningful conversation.

If your passive customers have not provided any open-ended feedback, check to see if passive scores all tend to occur for a particular location, product, or point in the customer journey. That way, you can ask for details about that specific part of the experience and increase your chances of gaining actionable feedback.

Step 2: Digging deeper with follow-up conversation

All of the customers you survey need to know they are heard. Similar to promoters and detractors, follow up on the survey response with an email or a call. Speaking in person may garner more nuanced insights into the interaction in question.

Another way to automatically ask for more information would be to append the additional question, “What could we have done to make your experience better?” to your templated NPS, CSAT, or CES survey. You can use conditional logic so that anyone who responds with a passive score is shown the question.

Step 3: Consider the feedback in your business strategy

If the follow-up yields tactical actions that your team can take, such as making amends for a service issue, or better demonstrating a feature that could solve a pain point, follow the previously mentioned steps that you would take for a customer who is a detractor.

More often than not, though, the feedback you receive from the passive customer will be overarching in nature, and speak to a deeper issue that requires more planning to resolve. In that case, be sure to take the feedback as context for the expectations that customers have of your industry, and incorporate it accordingly in your plans for future growth.

Conclusion

Using surveys to gather not just data, but true insights into a customer’s experiences and evolving needs can drastically alter the success and satisfaction of your clients, and even attract new ones.

According to an article published by The Harvard Business Review, clients who are given surveys are more likely to be retained and were more profitable than customers who were not.

This sentiment applies to all of your customers, and as long as you are diligent in following up and engaging with them, your company’s bottom line will inevitably grow.

Explore Delighted’s full-service solution for delivering a world-class customer experience, and start surveying your customers for free.

10 Customer Survey Design Tips for Actionable Feedback

An effective customer experience survey is a conversation with your clients and customers. It’s a handshake and a request for feedback in your effort to continually improve your products and services, both on the front lines and behind the scenes.

Since there’s any number of questions you could ask your customers, a strong survey design process is necessary to help you understand the type of feedback you’re looking for, prioritize the questions to ask, and plan for how you’ll analyze the data and share insights. Poor survey design, on the other hand, can lead to a lack of responses, misleading or vague results, and a missed opportunity to respond to customers and grow your business.

Effective customer survey design, in particular, allows you to gather actionable insights into your products and services. Customer surveys are important sources of data, which you can use to transform your business. For a truly useful survey your customers will love to take, here are 10 tips to help you design your survey, write effective questions, connect with your audience, and turn that data into action.

1. Brainstorm your purpose

The first step is to determine the purpose of your customer experience survey. It’s important to define your overall objectives so you can gauge what you expect to get out of the survey, and plan for what you’ll do with the information.

Some common goals for customer experience surveys are:

  • Benchmarking customer experience metrics
  • Getting feedback on your product
  • Improving the sales or support experience
  • Determining employee or customer satisfaction for retention
  • Testing branding decisions
  • Scoping interest in new product areas

Once you’ve brainstormed the goals you’d like to achieve, prioritize what you’ll be able to target within one, succinct survey. You can always address other goals in separate surveys as part of your ongoing conversation with your audience.

2. Determine your survey type

The business goals for your survey project determine what type of customer experience survey you’ll need, and who you’ll want to survey. Keep in mind that requesting feedback from your customers or prospects could be an unexpected interaction from their perspective, so be sure to explain why you are conducting the survey and give instructions if necessary.

Customer Satisfaction Surveys

The most important role of a customer experience survey is to understand and monitor how your audience feels about your products, services, and overall brand. That’s why customer satisfaction survey design is such an essential part of every company’s arsenal, and also why there are a range of survey types that are popular for gauging customer satisfaction. Here are the main customer experience survey types:

An example of a templated NPS survey with the rating scale.

Since each customer is at a different stage in the customer experience lifecycle, no one survey will effectively offer the insight you need. By understanding the different customer survey types, you can figure out which surveys to use for continual feedback and actionable data. Before you know it, you’ll be using multiple surveys for all your customer touchpoints in your voice of the customer (VoC) program.

The goal here is not only to understand where you can improve, but also to see if customers are responding positively to the changes that you are making. As you work insights from feedback data into your organization, you will ideally be able to see improvements in the business metrics that matter the most to you, whether that’s increased engagement on your web tool, fewer customer complaints, or the holy grail of results—increased revenue and reduced customer churn.

Branding Surveys

If you’re just starting out or you’re rethinking the overall look and feel of your company, a brand perception survey can help you move forward with branding decisions. It is a way to understand how your customers, prospects, and employees think about your brand. Insights from branding surveys can help you develop your marketing strategy and check if your product experience is truly aligned to your brand values.

With market brand research, gain key insights into your customer base, specifically regarding their demographics and expectations, but also related to their purchase habits for forecasts. You can also learn how you measure up to your competitors in an industry comparative analysis.

Employee Engagement Surveys

According to Gartner, “70% of business leaders agree that employee engagement is critical to achieving business results.” While most companies consider using surveys for their external clients and customers, one of the most important ways to leverage a survey is to gauge the buy-in of your employees. A key part of improving your audience’s experience is in finding out how your staff perceives your company (and by extension, your products and services).

An NPS survey can be modified to become an eNPS survey by adding the word, “working.”

Determine how you can improve employee engagement via an Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) survey, pulse surveys, or 360-degree surveys. The eNPS and pulse surveys are really designed to be a quick snapshot, which can be used over time for general insights about how your employees feel about the company. The 360-degree survey, on the other hand, offers more in-depth, strategically relevant feedback from a range of sources (managers, peers, reports, the employee and customers, etc.) to help individual employees grow.

If your team is fully onboard with improving the company, and if they are passionate about making it a better company to work for, you will see better employee retention. You will also notice an improvement in the perception of how your audience sees your company.

3. Keep your survey simple (and short)

Surveys can gather whatever information you like about your audience, products, or services. Depending on if you’ve ever conducted a customer survey, it may feel as if this is a one-shot deal, that you have to gather as much data as possible right away. But, remember, this is a conversation. In most instances, it will not benefit you to ask 100+ (or even 15+) questions because your audience will lose interest and bounce.

Watch out for survey fatigue. Most surveys should be long enough to easily be accomplished in 5 minutes, with up to 10 questions that are targeted, directly addressing the areas you need to cover. How often you survey your customers can vary by industry, but you want to be careful not to send surveys so often that customers stop responding to them. In short, be aware of the time considerations you’re asking of your audience. Do not take up one second more than is necessary.

Customer feedback platforms like Delighted offer a range of services, including time-tested and optimized survey templates, to ensure that the survey gets to the point right away. These customizable templates help you measure popular customer experience metrics, such as NPS, CSAT, and CES. For more in-depth feedback, you have the ability to add additional follow-up questions. Delighted also has built-in survey throttling, to ensure you’re not in danger of over-surveying the same customer.

4. Follow questionnaire design best practices

For a survey to be as effective and informative as possible, it must be balanced—structured in a way that proves that you are looking for both positive and negative responses.

For customer experience surveys, it is a best practice to start your survey with a question that asks for an overall rating of the interaction so that you have a trackable benchmark, and then follow with an open-ended question.

For any additional follow-up questions, what you want to avoid at all costs are biased questions that influence your customers to answer a certain way, or make it difficult for them to answer honestly.

Here are some common best practices to follow when crafting your questionnaire:

  • Consider varying types of survey questions. Mix open-ended questions with multiple choice and scale questions so your feedback is well-rounded and gets at “why.”
  • Avoid leading questions, which can sway your feedback by influencing your customers to answer a certain way.
  • Ask one question at a time. If you ask “Is the product fun and useful,” you’re really asking two questions and are likely to get back vague results.
  • Keep most of the questions optional.
  • Avoid complicated or jargon-filled sentences.

Your survey must be as error-free and clear as possible, as it’s an official piece of outreach to your customers. If the survey is haphazard, confusing, or in any way a waste of time, you’ve lost an opportunity to gather valuable insight.

5. Avoid asking questions that are too personal

While a survey is a conversation, there is still a line you shouldn’t cross. Beyond being considerate of your customers’ time, you also need to be aware of the questions you ask and how those questions will be perceived from an increasingly security- and privacy-conscious audience.

Would you want a close relative or friend to answer personal questions? If you are asking questions that require specific answers that would divulge personal details about lifestyle choices or patterns, is the survey anonymous? Could the questions be considered offensive or embarrassing? While it’s common to ask demographic questions, do you really need to ask about age, race or income level? What additional value will each of those questions add to your analysis?

You must carefully consider how your questions could be perceived by an audience across multiple demographics and culturally diverse backgrounds. Avoid wording your questions in a way that could mislead or raise red flags. Business communication can be friendly and professional without over-personalization or requesting too much information.

6. Get feedback on your survey

Before you send out your survey, test it by sending it to yourself and some colleagues. Reach out to testers with a variety of experiential backgrounds to receive the best possible range of feedback. Request input from experts/stakeholders (for example, testers who have experience with your products as well as those who will be benefiting from the data).

  • Be prepared to ask for specific feedback.
  • Ask each of them to fill out a quick checklist.
  • Get together and talk about it.
  • Read the survey questions aloud.
  • Consider possible variant questions.
  • Preview the survey on mobile platforms and browsers.
  • Time the survey to make sure it is reasonably short.

Beyond just general structure, your testers need to dig deep into the “guts” of the survey, challenge your preconceived notions, and ask why. This may be your first (and only) chance to make a great first impression on customers.

If you do a good job making the survey a painless experience, you will have an audience that you can reach out to again for more insight. If the survey is poorly designed and implemented, your audience may never bother to respond to your survey requests again.

7. Decide on survey distribution channels

With the wide range of survey distribution channels that are currently available, you’ll need to determine the method your audience is most likely to favor. In general, though, the tried-and-true digital methods of email, web intercept, SMS text message, and URL link are popular channels due to cost, efficiency, and strong response rates. You can reach the majority of your target audience with these channels, and platforms like Delighted create optimized surveys for each experience.

An example of a survey embedded directly into email for higher response rates.

If you are missing out on a specific demographic because they do not use these channels, you can still reach out to them directly via a phone call, direct mail, or in-person. That direct, one-on-one approach makes a huge difference in your response rate.

As you think about how you’ll deliver the surveys, also keep in mind how often you’ll be surveying your customers. Is it a one-time thing after a special event or a redesign, or is it a recurring survey that you’ll send to a broad swathe of customers to benchmark your customer experience? For in-person surveys, repeat studies can be quite expensive. But, if you’re planning on surveying digitally, recurring surveys will not be as difficult to implement.

8. Take feedback analysis into account

Since you’ve already determined the purpose of your survey, you should have an idea of the kind of feedback the survey will generate. To make sure you are able to derive insights from that data, it is a good idea to have a plan for survey results analysis in place.

So, as you draft your survey questions, consider how the feedback data will be segmented and what comparisons you’ll want to make. Here are some common ways to think about segmenting your customer feedback so you’ll be prepared when the survey results come back.

By customer segment

How might the feedback differ based on how much that customer has spent on your services, what they purchased, and how long they’ve been with you? Associate customer lifetime value and retention metrics with your survey results so you can analyze and prioritize the feedback along those lines.

By geography

Uncover if the customer experience varies by city, state, or country to discover what business processes need to be improved where, and whether customers in different locations might have different expectations.

By interaction channel

Is this a customer who interacted with you via chat or email; online or in person? If you have this information handy, make sure you can map it to the end feedback to understand which channels need attention.

Associate customer operational data with your survey feedback for an insights-ready dashboard.

Tying your internal customer data with the survey results will allow you to dig deeper into which customers are having the best and worst experiences, and which aspects of your brand experience are the root cause. If you can automatically port your operational data into your customer experience platform, all the better.

The side benefit of understanding what customer data you already have is that you won’t have to ask your customers for that information. You can keep your survey to the point, or replace the questions you would have asked with something more insightful.

9. Say “Thank you!” and inspire action

This step is such a simple one that it’s often overlooked. Since the feedback process is a conversation and your audience has taken the time to participate, you need to say, “Thank you!” At the very least, the final page of your survey should explicitly thank the customer for their time.

Add a call-to-action to your survey thank you page that asks promoters to spread positive word of mouth.

Beyond the simple ”thank you,” you can also create a custom response depending on how the customer answered your survey. You can ask your promoters to review you on a third-party site or act as a reference; or route your detractors to a customer service team member to resolve their issue. This, too, is part of your ongoing conversation (and relationship) with your customers.

Depending on the length of the survey and the complexity of what you’re asking for, you could consider offering a reward. You don’t need to give away anything extreme, but a discount or prize drawing would be a nice gesture of appreciation.

An upfront incentive may also encourage participants to take a few extra minutes to answer the questions, help them be more resistant to survey fatigue, and also keep them willing to participate in future surveys.

10. Next steps: Find a platform that will help you achieve your survey goals

After all that planning and foresight, you’ll be raring to get started. Since not all customer feedback platforms will offer the same services or support, you must consider the best method for managing your entire customer experience program. You need a solution that will allow you to quickly and easily send your survey to your target audience.

Delighted offers:

  • Six templated customer experience survey types (NPS, CSAT, CES, 5-Star, Thumbs, Smileys)
  • The option to add follow-up questions for deeper feedback
  • Expert knowledge base for survey design best practices
  • Four optimized survey distribution methods: email, web, SMS text, and URL link
  • Built-in dashboards for real-time feedback analysis
  • Integrations to funnel feedback throughout your organization
  • Insights into your products and services

Sign up for a Delighted free trial to send 250 surveys for free.

Sending Surveys: 4 Top Online Survey Distribution Methods

Surveys are an important part (perhaps the most important part) of understanding your customer. A well-crafted survey can provide a wealth of insights around how customers think about your market, product, or service, and enable you to better solve customer problems, reduce the risk of them leaving, and accelerate your business’s growth.

When directed well, a company can thrive on the results and insights gathered. However, a survey won’t do much good if no one responds or if surveys are sent to the wrong people.

Though surveys are easily created and distributed with advanced software and programs available today, it can still be hard to reach your entire audience. Not only that, but it can be difficult to provide the right kind of encouragement for the most accurate and honest answers.

Employing the best survey distribution method for your customers, understanding when to survey them, and being thoughtful about tactics to increase response rate will directly affect the efficacy of your survey.

In this article, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of the most popular customer experience survey distribution methods, and talk about a few tactics that can help improve survey response rates.

Improving Ease, Efficiency and Response Rates

Why is increasing survey response rates often a challenge?

According to a chapter written by The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, “It is widely accepted that nonresponse is, at least in part, related to the perceived burden of taking part in a survey.” Without the proper motivation, surveys can easily be ignored, and what motivates one group of people will not motivate another.

Survey participation relies heavily on the ease and enjoyability of the overall experience and is an important aspect of survey design. To that end, customizing your survey distribution method to be as unobtrusive and enjoyable to your audience as possible can play a large role in your success.

Survey Distribution Types

As hinted at above, different situations call for different survey distribution types. While surveys can absolutely be conducted in person or over the phone, we’ll be speaking to the survey distribution methods below due to ease and efficiency.

Beyond just that, they are the most inexpensive and easiest to execute at scale for most companies.

Some unexpected advantages of using online survey methods are that companies can have the option to add in videos, audio clips, and links that may not otherwise be available in other types of surveys. What’s more, customers also have the flexibility to take the surveys on their own time and at their own pace. They are also much less likely to suffer social desirability bias - a type of response bias that is the tendency of survey respondents to answer questions in a manner that will be viewed favorably by others.

So without further ado, let’s take a look at using email, SMS, websites, and URL links as a means to survey your customer base.

Email

With email distribution, a basic way to distribute email surveys is to use a hyperlink text to your survey URL with the headline, “Take this survey.”

You can also hyperlink an image to make your survey request more clickable for your customer. This image can come in various forms, whether it’s an attention-grabbing button or a picture in the background that draws the eye.

The least obtrusive and efficient method though, assuming you’re sending an HTML email, is to embed the first survey question directly into the body of the email. Doing this often leads to a direct increase in response rate.

When do you distribute surveys via emails?

Many companies will send out email surveys after a customer has had time to experience a product or directly after a customer has received a service. It’s also important, though, to keep in mind that times of day are likely to increase or decrease your chances of having the survey filled out. For example, Campaign Monitor found that most emails are opened during the normal business hours of 9am-5pm. In addition to specific times based off of hour of purchase, your relationship with the customer/client and the type of service you provide can also determine when you should send a survey.

Pros

  • Emails have a unique ability to set a certain level of expectation for the respondent. Customers can preview who is contacting them, why they are being contacted, and understand ahead of time if there’s any incentive attached to the email survey.
  • Emails can easily include supplementary content for your survey, such as images or an introductory message for context.
  • Email surveys often come at minimal cost, but with fast data collection from your desired audience.
  • Email surveys can be triggered to send based on a recurring cadence or a specific interaction. Automated timing and personalization make it very easy for companies to send email surveys.

Cons

  • The absence of an interviewer generally means that more open-response questions are harder to explore in the moment.
  • It may be harder to reach populations who do not rely on email communication, such as the elderly or those who don’t have access to the Internet.
  • There’s a chance for survey fraud, and according to Explorable, “There are people who answer online surveys for the sake of getting the incentive (usually in the form of money) after they have completed the survey, not with a desire to contribute to the advancement of the study.”

Improving email survey response rates

The first step to improving email survey response is to improve your email open rate. A compelling subject line that contains an offer or sets expectations increases the likelihood that your customer will open the survey email. Personalization or incentivization can go a long way in drawing someone in. If you compare “Take Our Survey” with “Hi John, take a short survey and get 25% Off,” most people would feel more compelled by the latter option.

Also, keep the survey short and sweet to up the odds that your customer will not only start, but also finish the entire survey. Let them know how many questions there will be or how long the survey will take to answer.

Email survey best practices

Generally speaking, standard survey best practices apply:

  1. Keep the questions clear and concise. Don’t overcomplicate things.
  2. Keep the design on brand, without too many distractions in the background.
  3. Try and keep the survey as brief as possible. The longer it is, the less likely it’ll be completed. The same goes for the answer options. Keep it straightforward.
  4. Put the most important questions in the beginning, but don’t be afraid to randomize the others if order isn’t important.

SMS

What does SMS survey distribution look like?

SMS surveys are a valuable way to get important feedback from your customer base. With an SMS text survey, you can get immediate feedback on an event or product from a client while they’re on the go.

You can either text a code with an invitation to the survey, or you can send your survey directly in the text with single choice, multiple choice, or free response options.

Similar to email surveys, SMS surveys also tend to get higher response rates when the first question is embedded into the text, and also when incentives are included.

When to distribute surveys via SMS?

Text message surveys should be delivered after the service or product has been used so that customers are able to provide meaningful feedback.

Pros

  • Survey data can be collected in real-time based on geo-location or time of day, so you can measure sentiment in the moment.
  • With the prevalence of mobile phones, you have the ability to reach target respondents anytime, anywhere, especially younger demographics.
  • Using SMS surveys is cost-effective and easy. The prices vary, but often SMS surveys can be five to ten times cheaper than an in-person survey.

Cons

  • Probably the biggest limitation of using SMS surveys is gaining the customer’s consent to send a SMS survey in the first place. Also, keep in mind that not everyone has a phone, so depending on your target demographic, text surveys may not be the way to go.
  • Though SMS surveys are convenient, character count restrictions can limit how much you can ask or convey.
  • There’s a higher chance of error or misleading answers due to typing mistakes or fast responses that may not have been thought through.

Improving SMS survey response rates

As with email surveys, incentivizing SMS surveys can go a long way in motivating customers to participate.

By keeping your survey simple and direct, you raise the chance of it being completed as well. People don’t often want to spend long periods of time answering questions on their phones if it requires a lot of time or attention. As with any tool, SMS surveys must be deployed in a selective, strategic way.

Best Practices

Over 95% of text messages are opened and read, so to keep the respondent hooked, here are some best practices to keep in mind.

  1. Because texting is more informal, keep the survey short and simple. Be clever, concise, and as brief as possible.
  2. Get permission before sending texts. This is where incentives can come into play, offering prizes or deals for those who opt-in to receive texts.
  3. Respond in real-time through automated, yet personal messages to keep your customers engaged and let them know their feedback is appreciated.
  4. Keep track of which messages and promotions are working and which aren’t.
  5. Choose a customer experience survey platform that can deliver surveys quickly and relative to time zone, and that can grow at the same rate as you do.

Website

What does web (intercept) survey distribution look like?

Web intercept surveys sound more complicated than they actually are. In reality, they’re website pop-ups that ask a person on your website to answer some quick questions on the digital brand experience.

Whereas in the past, web surveys may have appeared annoying or distracting at best, and as thinly veiled schemes to gather personal information at worst, they’ve since become more sophisticated.

When to distribute surveys via website?

If done with the correct frequency on a website, these surveys empower your web audience to provide feedback based on the content consumed or actions taken.

Using cookies to track the amount of time spent on the website or other user actions can help pinpoint the optimal time to serve the pop-up survey.

Pros

  • One of the biggest advantages of web surveys is real-time feedback that is easily tied to a certain action or webpage.
  • Web intercept surveys don’t require an in-depth relationship with the respondent, unlike with SMS surveys. They also allow anonymity in answering the survey.
  • Surveys triggered upon immediate usage of a web tool allows customers to be more detailed in their feedback.
  • A customer experience metric (NPS, CSAT, CES) can be generated directly after a client interacts with your company.

Cons

  • Since the information collected is often based off of a specific experience, you won’t have feedback on the other parts of the experience, or the brand experience overall.
  • Web users may view these surveys as intrusive or not worth their time, which can lead to non-responses.

Improving website survey response rates

Pinpointing your ideal audience is important when increasing response rates. As mentioned before, use cookies to trigger surveys based on metrics such as time on the site, number of pages viewed, or a site conversion. With that in mind, keeping your survey short is the way to go. Remember, you are capturing what is happening with your customer while it is happening.

Best Practices

Web intercept surveys have a good response rate for several reasons, largely due to some best practices such as:

  1. Being short. Staying away from jargon, keeping the wording simple, and having the least amount of questions possible is vital.
  2. Clean design and formatting. Leave some white space around the questions for readability. You want the survey form to be inviting, and not too cluttered or distracting.
  3. Clear labeling. The questions should be close to the field they are related to.
  4. Contextual timing and placement. Show the survey at a point within the user experience that allows you to gather the transactional feedback you need.

URL Link

A link survey is a highly versatile and efficient way to distribute your surveys. What’s nice about using link surveys is that you can take that link anywhere, online and offline.

The survey link can be embedded in an article, shared via social media, or even printed out. You can often choose the number of responses allowed per person or per link within a time frame to keep your feedback accurate.

When to distribute surveys via link?

For link surveys, it’s less of a question of “when” and more a question of “where.” Timing for your link surveys is more dependent on the medium you are working with, the type of feedback you’re trying to gather, and the audience you’re trying to reach.

For example, some common use cases for link surveys are:

  1. Embedded in a live chat window. If you offer support through live chat, you can send a link to your customer satisfaction survey immediately after the chat has ended.
  2. Embedded in an email signature. This would be a more passive request for feedback, since the survey likely isn’t the main focus of the email communication. Customers would be able to provide feedback each time they receive an email from you, to rate the quality of the interaction.
  3. Printed on a receipt. Gather feedback after customers have purchased a product in-store.

When your company needs to have a versatile survey that can be placed in almost any online or offline platform, link surveys are a good bet.

Pros

  • Link surveys are highly versatile and can be utilized in many different online and offline platforms.
  • Every time the link is accessed by a new respondent, you can design it so that the questions can be randomized to alleviate question choice bias.

Cons

  • Depending on where you share the link, you may be less able to follow up on getting a response.
  • Respondents are less targeted - anyone can share the link, so you’re not always 100% sure who is responding.
  • Link surveys tend to have lower response rates than other survey distribution methods that are specialized for that channel. For example, a link to a survey in an email would receive fewer responses than a survey embedded within an email.

Improving link survey response rates

Being strategic in where you use a link survey can make a difference in how many responses you receive. By keeping track of what platforms are receiving the most traffic and feedback, you’ll be able to better identify when and where to share the links.

Link surveys follow very similar best practices to the other distribution methods mentioned above. Keeping the survey short is always a good idea. If you notice a survey is not gaining much traction, review your strategy and test the survey through other interaction channels.

Best Practices

Given the versatility of link surveys, it’s important to keep some survey design best practices in mind to get the most out of them:

  1. Keep it relevant. Make sure you’ve established what you want to learn from using the link survey. These goals will then determine who you’re asking on what platforms.
  2. Be mindful of your question and answer scales. Ensure they match the use case where the link will appear, so that your customers can answer honestly.
  3. Make sure the survey is concise. You’re always more likely to get a response if you respect your customers’ time.

Conclusion

When choosing from these core online survey distribution methods, there is a lot to consider. While all of the methods we’ve gone over are time and cost efficient, there are still some major differences to keep in mind.

With email-based surveys, you can easily set expectations and incentivize a response. If you’re more interested in a quick snapshot of information, then SMS surveys are your golden ticket.

Website intercept surveys also help you gather in-the-moment feedback online, and don’t require a customer email or phone number. Finally, if you’re looking to gather feedback across a variety of platforms, a link survey could be just what your customer experience program needs.

To ensure you’re gathering feedback from your entire audience, you’ll likely need a combination of distribution methods and a customer feedback platform that can monitor how often your customers receive each type of survey.

Test a survey distribution channel to see what works best for your business with Delighted - your first 250 surveys are free.

7 Tips for an Effective Voice of the Customer Program

First things first - what is a voice of the customer (VoC) program and why should you have one?

A VoC program is the way a company gathers, analyzes, and acts on customer feedback to create a customer-centric culture. A successful voice of the customer program puts your customers’ needs center stage, and ultimately drives brand, product, and service improvements for an unbeatable customer experience.

When most companies want to improve their customer experience with a VoC program, they often start with just one customer survey type—usually a net promoter score (NPS) or customer satisfaction (CSAT) survey. However, for a voice of the customer program to reach its full potential, you’ll need an understanding of how your entire audience feels at every stage of the customer experience lifecycle.

If you’re capturing feedback from the right people, at the right time, through the right channel, you’ll be able to make meaningful improvements to your customer experience that will differentiate you from your competitors and lead to revenue growth. In fact, when the Temkin Group calculated the ROI of customer experience, they found that a moderate increase in customer experience can lead to an industry average of $775 million dollars in revenue growth over 3 years for a typical billion dollar company.

Here are 7 tips for designing an effective VoC program that ensures you’ll get actionable feedback for improving your customer experience.

1. Ensure your VoC program is set up for success

A strong VoC program includes customer feedback collection and analysis, which results in a list of actionable, prioritized insights that can be implemented across your organization. Constant monitoring of your customer experience metrics will let you know whether the changes you’re making are moving the needle.

If you’re embarking on surveying thousands of people with different survey types, make sure you’re following survey design best practices. Using a dedicated voice of the customer platform is also an option. VoC platforms generally include proven CX survey templates, and can help you manage and analyze all of the incoming feedback.

2. Use both relationship and transactional surveys

Customer experience surveys fall into one of two buckets: relationship or transactional. A relationship survey measures how your customers feel about your overall brand experience, while transactional surveys get feedback for a specific interaction (i.e. transaction).

Think of a relationship survey as the big picture benchmark, and the transactional survey as the nitty gritty tactic that helps you accomplish your overarching customer experience goals. Of the customer experience survey types, net promoter score (NPS) surveys tend to be used as relationship surveys, while customer satisfaction (CSAT) and customer effort score (CES) surveys tend to fall into the transactional bucket.

If you’re just starting your voice of the customer program, run a relational NPS survey to get a feel for how customers perceive your overall brand experience. When you have identified some trends in your feedback, say a product issue that keeps cropping up, or a fulfillment delay that everyone’s complaining about, use a transactional survey to dig into the details.

3. Consider your customer experience lifecycle and the teams responsible for each stage

Document your customer experience lifecycle to help you understand all of your customer touchpoints, and identify milestones where transactional feedback would help you improve a specific experience.

Sample B2B Customer Experience Lifecycle Milestones for Transactional Feedback

For example, in the Adoption phase immediately post-purchase, would the customer success team like feedback specific to the onboarding process via a CSAT survey? For support ticket feedback, would the customer service team like to benchmark their performance with a CES survey?

Your customer experience survey type, distribution channel, and survey timing can all be customized for a particular touchpoint. With the right CX platform integrations, you can easily trigger surveys to send based on an interaction and funnel feedback directly to the teams who can follow up with customers.

4. Collect feedback based on customer segmentation

Your company’s user personas can also influence how your gather feedback. For B2B and SaaS companies, the account owner who makes the purchase decision can likely provide different feedback from the everyday users who are in and out of your platform on a daily basis.

For B2B2C companies, gather insights from both your direct consumers as well as your partners. Customizing your surveys for each audience will help you determine how to make your service stickier for your entire customer base.

5. Survey your employees as well as your customers

Your direct customers aren’t the only people who can provide feedback on your product and business—your employees can, too.

As studies have increasingly found that a positive employee experience leads to a stronger customer experience, gathering employee feedback through an employee NPS (ENPS) survey has become just as necessary as getting feedback from customers.

You can easily customize a Delighted NPS survey to ask the ENPS question, “How likely are you to recommend working here to a friend or family member?” to surface employee insights and start improving employee engagement.

6. Catalog your customer interaction channels

Depending on your business, there are likely multiple ways for a customer to interact with you.

Do you run an ecommerce website as well as a brick-and-mortar location? Do you meet with customers at a yearly conference? Leverage web intercept surveys, link surveys for printed marketing materials, or a customer satisfaction (CSAT) survey as an event survey to gather feedback from customers at any or all of these touchpoints.

7. Build reporting and customer follow-up into your plan

While the ability to gather feedback at will is enticing, make sure there are clear goals in mind for each of the surveys you plan to send out. When you’re choosing a voice of the customer platform, look for one that can easily manage multiple survey projects for your entire organization.

It is also important to make sure the impacted teams are set up to take in and act on that feedback. Delighted’s Reports and Integrations help broadcast actionable insights wherever you need them to go, so that the teams that can make a difference know what they need to do.

If you take all of 7 of these tips into account when designing your VoC program, you’ll be able to surface experience gaps in every stage of the customer journey, and track impact over time.

Get your VoC program off the ground with a Delighted free trial and send 250 surveys for free.

Introducing Projects: Run multiple survey projects from one Delighted account

Most of our customers start their customer experience journey with Delighted tracking a single metric like NPS or CSAT. As they experience the power of customer feedback to drive actionable insights and improvement, they often want to expand to understand other parts of their customer journey.

Today, we are launching Projects so that you can expand beyond a single customer experience (CX) metric. Now, you have the power to layer in other survey types for new touchpoints, different teams, and more. And all of this with the ease and simplicity you expect from Delighted.

Using Projects

We’ve redesigned our main navigation to bring Projects to life and make it easy to switch between projects, manage existing projects, and create new projects. Plus, if you only have a single project, the experience will be nearly identical to before.

The project menu is conveniently located at the top left of all signed in pages. So you are always just a few clicks away from switching to the project you are interested in.

Managing Users

We’ve built Projects so it’s clear to account owners and admins who has access to which projects, and so that it’s easy to invite new team members to the right projects. You’ll have complete control over granting access, increasing permissions, or removing folks from survey projects.

Billing

Billing is fully transparent with Projects, so you can always know how many surveys you have available in your account along with other plan-specific features and limits. Your subscription capabilities are shared across all of your projects. For instance, if your plan allows for 10,000 surveys per month, you would be able to survey 5,000 people in your NPS project and 5,000 people in your CSAT project.

Navigation updates

As part of this refresh, we have elevated Integrations to the main navigation, and the Settings menu is now the Account menu. All of the features that were under Settings now have a new home elsewhere in the platform. If you are looking for a specific feature and can’t find it, this help doc outlines all of the changes.

Start using Projects

Our currently available $249/month plans and higher include up to five projects.

If you are interested in using Projects, head here to upgrade your plan.

The 7 Customer Survey Types for a World-Class CX Program

Creating a great customer experience (CX) is important—but where do you start?

At their core, customer experience programs uncover how customers interact with your brand, product, or service. The best CX programs ask the right questions in the right way at the right time to the right audience.

Luckily, there are several tried and true methods of collecting and analyzing customer data. In this post, we’ll walk you through 7 customer survey types that can be leveraged to contextualize your customer feedback and dramatically improve your CX program.

Launching a Customer Experience Program

So, let’s start with the basics. A customer experience program refers to the processes and methods relating to understanding a customer’s interactions with a given product or service.

According to a recent Ecoconsultancy and Adobe survey, the 3 areas of focus for organizations when it comes to their customers are: (1) making their experience as valuable as possible, (2) making their experience personalized, and (3) making their experience easy to understand.

This being said, most organizations aren’t sure how to get from where they are to a personalized, easy CX program. The success of a CX program often depends on a company’s ability to effectively capture customer data, so choosing your method of capture is the first and most important step. Customer data could come from interactions with the product (user metrics) or conversations with employees, such as salespeople and customer support staff (anecdotal evidence).

Some of the most important CX data comes from surveys.

Surveys can take the form of market research surveys, where surveyors are looking to better understand a buyer’s persona and characteristics. Customer surveys, by contrast, are used by companies to ask targeted questions to existing customers.

A well-crafted survey can provide a wealth of insights around how customers think about your market, product, or service, and enable you to better solve customer problems, reduce the risk of them leaving, and accelerate your business’s growth.

Customer Experience Survey Types

There are a variety of customer experience surveys that can be employed to collect customer feedback. Each survey type provides a different customer insight and should be used at a specific point in the customer experience lifecycle, so choose wisely!

In this post, we will help you understand and effectively use the following surveys:

Net Promoter Score (NPS) Surveys

What is NPS?

Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a method for understanding customer satisfaction and loyalty. Created in 2003 by Fred Reichheld, a partner at Bain & Company, the NPS system has been widely-adopted across all industries.

The score is a derived from asking customers a single question: How likely are you to recommend this product or service to a friend or colleague?

This initial question is followed by an optional freeform follow-up question, so your customers can explain why they chose that rating.

In a nutshell, NPS is used to assess overall brand, product, or service satisfaction from a quantitative and qualitative perspective.

How is NPS calculated?

Respondents are asked to select a number between 1 and 10, with 1 being “not likely at all” to recommend and 10 being “very likely”.

Those who select 1-6 are considered “Detractors”, while those who select 7-8 are “Passives”. Ideally, you have a large number of results coming in the 9-10 range, the “Promoters” of your product or service.

To calculate your NPS, you want to subtract the percent of Detractors away from your percent of Promoters. For example, if 60% of responses were Promoters and 15% were Detractors, your Net Promoter Score would be 45.

Note: NPS is expressed as a number, not a percentage. The lower bound for NPS is -100 (all Detractors) and the upper bound is 100 (all Promoters).

Why does it matter?

NPS provides a convenient benchmark for your product’s success. Companies like Apple, Amazon, and Netflix have Net Promoter Scores in the 60-70 range.

Net Promoter Score also provides a snapshot of customers who have problems (Detractors) and who love your product (Promoters). Answers to the open-ended follow-up question explain what you need to improve to turn your Detractors into Promoters.

Because NPS is easy to report, it becomes a powerful benchmark. Executive teams can set a quarterly NPS goal and track whether that goal is met or not – a great first step in making your CX program data-driven.

How to best leverage NPS surveys?

Industry-leading organizations, from Southwest and USAA to Zappos and Amazon, utilize NPS. Moreover, NPS is a key metric for anyone looking to discover how their product or service is performing in the market.

Brick-and-mortar stores measure NPS to understand how well their store experience is working, from the store layout to the customer service. Meanwhile, fast-growing startups can use NPS surveys to better segment customers and understand how their product can be refined to drive more growth.

How to best create and deliver NPS surveys?

Net Promoter Score surveys are quick and painless surveys, both for the company and the customer. The best way to create an NPS survey is to use an online service that specializes in NPS customer surveys.

While Net Promoter Score surveys can be used anytime in the customer lifecycle, the best way to start your NPS survey program is to send it to customers who have had time to experience your product, and then follow up on a monthly to quarterly basis to assess your brand as a whole.

How to best analyze and act on the feedback?

Once Net Promoter Score data is collected, it’s important to know why users selected the answers they did.

Analyzing NPS survey results includes understanding the three cohorts: Promoters, Neutrals, and Detractors. This information can be used to personalize outreach to respondents, more effectively utilize their feedback, and improve their overall experience.

Once you understand who the Detractors are, you can create specific marketing or customer support programs (like 1-on-1 calls) to help them be successful. These campaigns can reduce churn and help save existing accounts.

Companies can also turn Promoters into advocates – asking Promoters to provide testimonials or referrals. Promoters are also great candidates for upselling and cross-selling because they clearly understand your value proposition.

Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) Surveys

What is CSAT?

Customer Satisfaction, abbreviated CSAT, is a measure of a customer’s contentment with a specific situation. A CSAT survey has two parts, a question and an open-ended response.

A CSAT survey asks: How satisfied were you with this product or interaction? Respondents can choose options 1 (very dissatisfied) to 5 (very satisfied).

CSAT surveys are used to understand contentment with a specific feature, interaction, or transaction.

How do you calculate CSAT?

Respondents who select 4 or 5 are considered “Satisfied Responses,” and the formula for CSAT is:

CSAT = (Total Number of Satisfied Responses / Total Number of Responses) x 100

When calculating CSAT, be sure to round final results to the nearest whole number.

Why does it matter?

Unlike other survey types, CSAT offers granular insights into a specific customer interaction. This provides a detailed view of how a particular digital or in-person experience exceeds, meets, or misses a customer’s expectation.

Customer satisfaction surveys should be utilized throughout the product lifecycle in order to dissect how different aspects of the product are performing, such as signup, onboarding, and after using core features.

How to best leverage CSAT surveys?

CSAT surveys are used by any organization looking to analyze specific customer interactions. Customer satisfaction surveys are ideal for business leaders looking to understand sentiment at a single point in time.

In other words, the value of CSAT is its ability to quickly assess how satisfied your customers are with your offering. Organizations should follow up within 24 hours of an interaction.

Common use cases for CSAT surveys include:

  • Right after a customer support conversation
  • Following a product demo with sales
  • After a visit to a service center or retail store
  • Once an introductory course or onboarding is completed

How to best create and deliver CSAT surveys?

The best way to create CSAT surveys is to use an online survey tool. This allows your team to focus on getting the survey out quickly, instead of working on writing and formatting the survey.

CSAT surveys are also a flexible survey type, being able to be delivered by email, text message, and pop-ups on websites and in apps.

It is best practice to send the survey in the channel where your customers would normally interact with you or your product. For example, if you have an ecommerce store, you can have a link to fill out a CSAT survey after checkout or in a follow-up email.

How to analyze and act on feedback?

Customer Satisfaction surveys provide a high-level view into your interactions with customers. While looking at the summary data may be helpful, it should be a jumping off point to segment and analyze the data.

Popular segmentation methods include evaluating CSAT by department (sales vs. customer support), by region (North America vs. Europe), by use case (mobile app vs. website), and by product offering (Subscription A vs. Subscription B).

Customer Effort Score (CES) Surveys

What is CES?

A Customer Effort Score (CES) is a measure of how much effort was required for a customer to complete a specific action. CES surveys break apart the end result (which may be satisfying) with the process of getting to the result (the effort).

CES surveys are a great way to understand how seamless a particular process or flow is in your product or service.

How do you calculate CES?

Start off by sorting your responses into ranges. For example, disagree would be all responses between 1 and 2, neutral is 3, and agree would be 4 and 5. Customer Effort Score focuses on the “agree” range. To find your CES take the number of responses in the agree range (4 and 5) and then divide by the total number of respondents.

For example, let’s say you have 10 customers who marked 4 or 5, with 20 total customers who completed the survey. This means that 50% of respondents fell into the agree range, giving you a CES score of 50. The higher your score, the more effortless your experience.

Why does an “effortless experience” for customers matter?

Today, customers are conditioned to expect instant gratification.

Closely tracking the amount of effort required to reach an intended result can provide key insights – with the goal of having a seamless experience that fosters user happiness and retention.

Companies looking to improve funnel metrics and conversion rates would particularly benefit from CES surveys.

How to best leverage CES surveys?

Customer Effort Score is a powerful survey for people evaluating how users reached the intended result.

There are particular sections of the customer journey, such as onboarding or checkout, that are good targets for CES. If you anticipate roadblocks, you can trigger a CES survey and see how customers faired.

How to best create and deliver CES surveys?

The best way to create a Customer Effort Score survey is using existing survey software, which has CES built-in. This method allows you to select CES survey and quickly get surveys out to respondents.

CES surveys can be delivered across a number of channels, including website, in-app, email, and text message. Given that effort is related to a particular interaction, sending a follow-up email with a survey link is the best practice.

How to best analyze and act on the feedback?

CES is a powerful tool because of its specificity.

Companies use CES surveys to understand where their product or service is meeting customer expectations, and where things are confusing, slow, and laborious.

The results of a CES survey can be utilized to make changes to marketing, sales, pricing, customer support, and more. CES survey results also make great candidates for A/B tests (to see which variant leads to lower customer effort).

Graphic (Star, Smiley, Thumbs Up) Surveys

Graphic or emoji surveys refer to surveys that allow customers to interact with a graphic rather than select a number or provide a written response. Graphic surveys are intuitive, fast, and visually impactful.

There are three main graphic survey types:

  • Star Surveys
  • Smiley Surveys
  • Thumbs Up Surveys

Why choose a graphic survey?

Graphic surveys provide a seamless way for customers to provide feedback. Instead of offering a long written survey, a 30-second graphic survey can provide insights into how a current experience is going.

How to best leverage graphic surveys?

Star surveys are best used after a specific service is offered, such as a hotel stay or ridesharing trip. These situations are nuanced and the 5-star method allows for a good level of customization.

Smiley surveys are best leveraged in follow-up messages to better understand customer or employee satisfaction.

Specifically, smiley faces are intuitive, as well as language agnostic and great for websites or services that have multi-lingual customers.

Thumbs up surveys capture raw customer feedback since customers only have two answer options - “thumbs up” or “thumbs down.” Common use cases include:

  • Directly following a support conversation
  • In-product after a specific feature is used
  • To quickly gauge if customers are enjoying your new app
  • At the bottom of a webpage to capture its effectiveness

How to best create and deliver graphic surveys?

Graphic surveys are best created using a survey solution that comes out-of-the-box with support for 5-star surveys, smiley face surveys, and thumbs up surveys.

When crafting graphic surveys, be sure that the question you’re asking makes sense with the graphic survey scale. For example, in a star survey, ensure that 1 star means “poor” and 5 star means “great”.

The best delivery method for a graphic survey is the one that allows for users to answer in an organic way. If you have an online product, look into providing a quick thumbs up or down survey on the website.

If the experience was more complex (like a hotel stay, flight, or ride), then provide a follow-up survey 24 hours after the fact.

When using a smiley survey, keep the message short and focused on satisfaction. The message below is easy to read and does not lead the respondent into feeling a certain way about your brand, product, or service.

Keep a thumbs up survey specific. Ask a direct question about an experience or a recommendation provided by your service.

How to best analyze and act on the feedback?

Graphic surveys are a quick way to gather large amounts of customer data. They also serve as a starting point to launching more detailed customer experience programs, like follow-up surveys or customer calls.

The best way to analyze graphic survey results is to segment users into buckets, and create a plan-of-action for each group.

Custom Surveys with Additional Questions

What are the benefits of a custom survey?

A custom survey is a survey type that includes targeted questions, specific to your market, product, or service. Custom surveys uncover details about the customer experience not otherwise possible.

For instance, your team can ask follow-up questions to expand on what survey respondents previously mentioned.

When should you use custom surveys?

Custom surveys are the best fit for understanding why a customer experience exceeded, met, or fell short of expectations. For instance, ask customers what part of the experience was lackluster (NPS or CSAT) or particularly difficult (CES).

How to best create and deliver custom surveys?

It’s important to partner with the right survey solution. Specifically, a company that allows for flexibility in generating custom surveys and sending via multiple channels.

You can also use conditional logic to guide survey takers down a particular path, saving them time and ensuring you get the best quality responses.

How to best analyze and act on feedback?

When you receive custom survey feedback, break down responses into three sections: Fix Now, Fix Later, and Fine As Is.

This filter will help your team prioritize what can be improved now, increasing the customer experience. Don’t get bogged down in having too much information and being unable to act!

Summary

Successful CX programs rely on knowing how, when, and why to survey customers.

Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys provide a great assessment of your brand’s appeal and competitive differentiators. Similarly, Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) surveys uncover valuable information about a customer’s overall satisfaction with your product or service.

Customer Effort Score (CES) surveys are best deployed to understand a specific roadblock or frustration that users may face. CES is an aide for all companies looking to build seamless experiences.

Graphic surveys are the most visual and quickest survey types to fill out. Use star surveys, smiley surveys, and thumbs up surveys to gauge customer sentiment in the “here and now”.

Finally, for a deeper understanding of your customers’ experience with your brand, use custom surveys with additional questions.

Now that you understand how to appropriately use the 7 customer survey types, you are one step closer to launching a world-class customer experience program.

Get started today with 250 free surveys from Delighted.

Announcing Reports: Survey results analysis and reporting made simple

When you’re juggling feedback from multiple sources and various customer segments, customer experience survey data analysis can get very overwhelming, very fast.

That’s why today, we’re very excited to introduce the much-requested Reports section of the Delighted platform, which is made up of three features: Snapshot, Over Time, and Pivot Table. With Snapshot and Over Time, you’ll be able to visualize your survey results in presentation-ready charts instantly. Using Pivot Table, you can summarize your survey data in one user-friendly, interactive table. You can also use it to see the most frequently used keywords from your open-ended feedback to surface unexpected trends.

Reports works with every survey type (NPS, CSAT, CES, 5-star, Smileys, and Thumbs), and makes it easier than ever to evangelize your customer experience program across the company on a regular basis.

Use Snapshot and Over Time for CX survey reports

With Snapshot and Over Time, your team can understand how they’re doing at a glance. The built-in chart graphics make the quarterly and yearly reporting process easy.

Because Snapshot includes both quantitative (donut chart, histogram, table) and qualitative (sample feedback) data, you get a comprehensive understanding of your overall performance, all in one place. Delighted intelligently shows the most meaningful comments based on length and key terms in your Snapshot Report.

Filter the data by time frame and Trends or Properties to drill down to the exact segments you care about.

Over Time shows how the makeup of your score changes on a monthly or quarterly basis in a column chart and corresponding table, so you can immediately identify upward or downward trends and get ahead of them.

Once you segment the results with Properties or Trends, you’ll be able to pinpoint the exact product or service changes that have affected your customer experience scores (for better or for worse). Use Over Time to be proactive about potential problems before they get out of control, or bring positive changes to light.

Both Snapshot and Over Time can be filtered by time period, and by the Properties and Trends that you have set up to segment your survey data.

Learn more about Snapshot and Over Time in our Help Center.

Use Pivot Table for survey results analysis

Pivot Table summarizes all of your survey data for analysis, so you can dive into how your Properties and Trends correlate to feedback scores.

For quick comparison, use just one filter to see how a Property segment (e.g. Agents, Locations, Products, Purchase Experience, etc.) performs.

For deeper analysis, use two filters to drill down into different Groups, Trends, Properties, or Additional Questions. Analyzing the data this way helps you understand how important certain aspects of your customer experience may be to overall customer satisfaction, so you can prioritize working on the areas that will actually move the needle.

Pivot Table also has a bonus feature: Keywords. Keywords are a filter you can use to surface the most commonly used words in your open-ended feedback. That means you no longer need to read through all of your feedback to find patterns - Pivot Table automatically does it for you.

Discover which words are most commonly associated with positive or negative feedback, and then turn those words into a Trend to monitor how those scores change over time.

Learn more about the different ways to use Pivot Table here.

Reports is available at 2 tiers: Standard and Premium. Standard Reports includes Snapshot and Over Time. Premium Reports includes Snapshot, Over Time, and Pivot Table.

If you don’t have Reports yet, upgrade your plan here.

Expand your customer experience program with Smileys, Thumbs, and Link surveys

In support of our mission to be a turnkey customer experience platform, we’re excited to announce three new features to help you grow your customer experience program:

  1. Smileys surveys for intuitive customer satisfaction feedback
  2. Thumbs surveys for simple yes/no feedback collection
  3. Link surveys for feedback in any customer interaction channel

These three new additions complement our existing survey types, so you can have a holistic feedback program that covers your entire customer journey.

Let’s dive into each of these new features!

Smileys and Thumbs

With our brand new Smileys and Thumbs surveys you now have access to the most intuitive, universal, and fun way to gather quick feedback. And they are both available on all of our platforms immediately – Email, Web, SMS, and Link.

A fun alternative to the traditional Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) survey, the Smileys survey is best for satisfaction-oriented questions. It uses five distinctive faces that range from very unhappy to very happy, so it’s obvious which end of the scale is positive or negative. Read this article to learn more about best practices for Smileys surveys.

With Thumbs surveys, customers have two options: thumbs up, or thumbs down. Customers can love it or hate it; agree or disagree. Simplifying the decision process makes it easier to respond, increasing response rates. The binary nature of the survey also ensures you receive the most essential feedback – the good and the bad.

Common scenarios for using the Thumbs survey would be if you need to understand whether an article is useful or how a customer feels about a customer support interaction. After determining what a high-level issue may be, you can dive deeper with Additional Questions or a survey type that allows for more layers of nuance. Head over to our Help center for more information on Thumbs survey best practices.

Similar to our existing Net Promoter Score (NPS), CSAT, Customer Effort Score (CES), and 5-star surveys, Smileys and Thumbs surveys are fully customizable and allow customers to provide an open-ended comment for additional context.

To start using Smileys or Thumbs:

  1. Select either Smileys or Thumbs as your survey type.
  2. Choose your distribution method (Email, Web, SMS, or Link).
  3. Customize the question and branding of your survey.
  4. Send the surveys out and wait for the feedback to roll back in.

Link surveys

Link surveys turn all of your customer touchpoints into an opportunity to gather feedback. Whether you want to embed them in email signatures, post them on social media, use them in chat windows, or print them onto receipts, your avenues for feedback collection are now limitless.

You can also append up to 10 Additional Questions to your link survey for deeper insights into your customer experience.

Additional Questions show up after the initial survey question and comment form, and can be configured to follow conditional logic based on the initial rating. That means you can ask customers who had a positive experience a different set of questions than those who had a negative experience. These follow-up questions can have four types of answer options: free response, scale, select one option, or select many options.

To start using the new Link platform:

  1. Choose your survey type (NPS, CSAT, CES, 5-star, Smileys, or Thumbs).
  2. Select Link as your distribution method.
  3. Customize your branding and question.
  4. Add Additional Questions if applicable.
  5. Share or embed your link anywhere you want.

Visit our Help center to learn more about Link surveys.

To expand your existing Delighted customer experience program with Link, Smileys, and Thumbs, reach out to our Concierge Team to ask about enabling these features in your account.

Introducing Delighted for iOS

Today, we’re launching Delighted for iOS to give you access to all of your Delighted feedback anywhere and everywhere. With Delighted for iOS, all your customer feedback is just a tap away on your iPhone or iPad.

Download Delighted for iOS from the App Store today

Making customer feedback readily available and actionable has always been at the heart of what we do at Delighted. What good is customer feedback that’s trapped in a spreadsheet? Delighted for iOS extends this goal by bringing all of your feedback to your iPhone or iPad. Now, no matter if you are traveling and don’t have access to your work machine, or want to quickly check your latest feedback in between meetings, Delighted for iOS makes that possible.

With our initial release, we have focused on providing the most important elements of the Delighted Dashboard – analyzing survey results in the real-time stream of feedback, and taking action to optimize your customers’ experience.

Analyze Results

After you sign in, all your feedback will be available and as new feedback is received the app will stream in new responses instantly. In addition, you can tap any response to reveal a detail view, so you can see any properties associated with the response.

Take Action

While it’s helpful to know the overall health of your customers, taking immediate action to resolve a customer issue or acknowledge positive feedback may be the difference between a brand champion and a lost customer. Delighted’s iOS app enables you to view the details of any survey response, leave a note for other members of the team, or share the customer feedback to take action. Your mobile updates automatically sync with the Delighted web app to ensure everyone has access to the latest customer data.

We are excited to bring the Delighted experience to iOS for the first time, and we have big plans for its future. Our goal is to make it the perfect way to ensure everyone in your company has access to customer feedback to continually improve your business on behalf of customers.

Download Delighted for iOS from the App Store today

Upgrade customer experience surveys with Additional Questions

Great companies continually strive to deliver more perfect customer experiences. This starts by better understanding the experience of each individual customer. Gaining the insight you need to deeply understand your customers and appropriately take action comes down to the questions you ask and how you ask them.

Delighted’s mission is to empower companies to achieve these goals. With Delighted, you can easily create and deliver NPS, CES, CSAT, and 5-star surveys. Each survey asks one question, allow responders to provide a rating answer and elaborate on their answer with a written verbatim comment.

We continually optimize the creation and delivery of these surveys so you can provide the absolute best survey experience for your customers. This results in more survey responses, but it is also important to us to help companies gain more insight on those survey responses so they can more deeply understand their customers and improve customer experiences.

This is why today we are launching a new feature called Additional Questions – allowing you to add specific follow-up questions to customer experience surveys based on the initial survey rating response.

Here’s how Additional Questions works:

By adding contextual follow-up questions, your customers can expand on their earlier survey rating and provide crucial feedback to help you decide on how to positively impact their experience moving forward.

With Additional Questions, you can ask up to 10 fully customizable questions after your default survey question and comment page.

The 4 question types include:

  • Free response
  • Scale
  • Select one option
  • Select many options

The questions asked can be contextual to the survey rating response using conditional logic. When creating a new question, simply select “Who should see this question?”. The targeting options are based on the survey rating types (e.g., for NPS that would be Promoters, Passives, and Detractors).

For example, after a negative survey response, you can ask a multiple-choice question that provides a pre-defined list of potential issues the customer encountered to help them provide context (and help your team identify high priority areas to improve).

For a positive response, you may want to follow up with a more direct question and allow a free response answer so the customer can provide detail on their positive experience with your company. This is a great way to source customer testimonials and opportunities to strengthen the customer relationship further.

The added flexibility Additional Questions provides enables you to create fully custom customer experience surveys to meet your needs and deliver deep insight on your customer’s experiences.

Setting up Additional Questions and creating powerful custom surveys is just as easy as the rest of Delighted. And unlike other general purpose survey tools, customer experience best practices are built in to help ensure you still have a great survey response rate. No new expertise or skill set is required to build and scale a powerful customer experience program using Additional Questions.

You can learn more about setting up Additional Questions in our help center.

Currently, Additional Questions is available in surveys delivered through Delighted’s Email and Link platform. Support for Web and SMS delivery is on our roadmap.

Additional Questions is now available in price plans at $249/month or higher ($224/month with an annual commitment). Learn more about plans here.

Delighted + Qualtrics

We’re excited to announce that Delighted has been acquired by Qualtrics, the world leader in enterprise customer experience management.

Qualtrics serves many of the largest, most sophisticated global organizations. Joining forces will allow Qualtrics and Delighted to serve organizations of all shapes and sizes, from the newly founded company to the Fortune 50.

Please know that Delighted is here to stay. Our mission remains the same: to make every customer experience perfect by bringing the power of world-class customer experience to every organization. The pace of product innovation will accelerate as we expand the Delighted team with incredible talent, leveraging the resources and expertise of Qualtrics.

We are excited to continue helping you make every customer interaction a powerful one.

You can learn more about the acquisition here.

Playing it safe is risky

Large companies with massive head counts, mountains of cash, and endless expertise, are rarely successful in creating truly differentiated experiences. Paradoxically, it’s the smaller companies with just a handful of employees and very little capital who are able to deliver the highest quality and most differentiated customer experiences.

But why?

There are many factors that restrict the ability for large companies to create differentiated experiences, but it usually boils down to one thing: the larger you get, the higher the stakes.

As a company grows, appetite for risk diminishes and a rational decision making process of risk mitigation takes hold. The more you have at stake, the more you’re compelled to focus on reducing risk instead of maximizing the potential upside that differentiated experiences can enable.

The music and film industries are notorious for this sort of dynamic.

Producing and promoting an album is expensive and time consuming. Like any hit driven industry, just a handful of artists generate the majority of all earnings. But there’s a ceiling on the number of albums a single artist can produce. As such, it’s in the interest of the label to do everything they can to ensure that new albums are successful.

It only makes sense that they’d rely on safe bets: songwriters who have written hit songs, producers who have produced hit songs, backing bands who have recorded hit songs, and sounds that are currently trending in hit songs. In an effort to reduce the risk of a flop, they’re forced to play it safe and create albums optimized to sell, not break new ground.

If it’s ground breaking music you seek, look to indie artists. Unlike their publicly traded, corporate-backed counterparts with demanding shareholders, these artists have nothing to lose. Producing songs with the same formulas used by larger labels, without the marketing war chests to back them, will inevitably lead to them being lost in the shuffle. Indie artists need to cut through the clutter by producing work that is special and unique.

In the film industry, where a single release can cost upwards of $350,000,000 to produce, simply breaking even is critical. Anything less could jeopardize the health of the company, and at the very least, be career-ending for the executives involved. The stakes are astronomically high. As such, there is a strong incentive to do everything possible to ensure that every film is as broad-reaching and palatable as possible. This leaves very little room for untested, original ideas. These films lean on safe building blocks: franchises with built-in fan bases, tried-and-true stories, recognizable actors, gratuitous special effects, and battle-worn directors.

Independent film makers, by contrast, rely on raw creativity, unique storytelling, and a healthy dose of luck. The Blair Witch Project was a $250,000,000 worldwide phenomenon that had a budget of only $60,000. Having absolutely no resources for marketing or advertising, the filmmakers’ only option was to generate as much buzz as possible – and buzz comes from great experiences that people want to talk about.

When you are starting a company, you have nothing to lose – no money, no customers, no revenue, no product, no fan base. While this may feel daunting, it’s your biggest advantage. It affords you the freedom to take big swings – something for which larger incumbents won’t have the stomach.

If you want to avoid mediocrity as you grow, it’s important to focus on making something special and unique. Don’t let capital investments drive how you make decisions about the resulting experience. Sometimes this may even mean investing less. Constraints breed creativity and can help you and your team feel more comfortable with failure. And not fearing failure can often be the key to success.

10 ways to do more with your promoters

We’ve previously written about why you should be following up with detractors. This is standard practice for anyone running a successful NPS program. But we often see companies overlook the massive upside of leveraging promoters to their advantage. Promoters are your biggest fans, and they’re willing to go to work for you! They can amplify your strengths, drive referrals, coach new users, and even help guide the product roadmap.

We’ve put together 10 ideas from our customers to leverage the power of promoters.

1. Reach out to them

Loyal customers like to be acknowledged. Chefs and managers of the world’s best restaurants make it a point to forge personal relationships with their customers, especially their regulars. You can apply this same philosophy to your business. Have an executive on your team reach out to promoters with a personal note, thanking them for being a customer. The simple act of writing a personal note will go a long way towards deepening the relationship a customer has with your company.

2. Provide a way for promoters to promote

Once a promoter has recounted their positive experience verbatim, this is the perfect time to provide them with a low friction way to promote your company. The experience is fresh in their minds, and they rarely need more than a nudge to share that experience with the world. Provide them with a pre-filled tweet, Facebook post, or link to your “refer-a-friend” program.

3. Solicit feedback on upcoming products

Promoters tend to know your product better than anyone else, and will often have great insight into where the product could go in the future. These are the people for whom your product perfectly addresses the problem they are trying to solve. Not only can they help you build better products, they are often excited about any opportunity to shape the future of the product they love.

4. Give them exclusive access to limited edition products

Some of our ecommerce customers grant promoters early access to limited stock products – typically items that will see a larger public release in the future. Promoters are thrilled to be among the first to try out a new product, and the company can test reception of the product before a wider rollout. Promoters who are active on social media can generate buzz for the new product, priming demand for the release.

5. Give them exclusive access to beta features

As you develop new features for your product, you’ll often want to test them with real users before releasing them into the wild. Promoters are perfectly suited for this sort of role. As we’ve noted above, promoters are often more than willing to help shape the product they know and love. They are also less likely to be sensitive to rough edges. They’ll often provide rich actionable feedback and criticism that comes from a supportive and knowledgeable place.

6. Ask for a review

Online review sites can be an important factor in the buying process for prospective customers. Reviews on sites like Yelp, Trustpilot, G2Crowd, or StackShare can make or break a customer’s willingness to try your product. Politely asking promoters for a review can lead to significant increases in the quantity and quality of reviews. However, avoid asking for reviews too often as this can negatively affect the relationship.

7. Hold round table discussions

The conversational nature of round table discussions can bubble up insights that don’t often reveal themselves in one-on-one feedback sessions. Customers love sharing tips and tricks with other people in their field. Great starting topics include: how they were solving the problem before they were a customer, unique tips or processes they have in place to maximize value, and a deep dive into specific features they love. These discussions can generate great content for guides, FAQs, blog posts, and more. They can take the shape of a simple video conference, a visit to your office, or even a nice dinner in a nearby city.

8. Have them participate in a case study

Do you have a customer with a particularly interesting story? Consider asking them to participate in a case study. Use the case study to dig into the challenges they were having before using your product, how they’re currently using your product, and the value they are seeing as a result. Case studies provide social proof and instill trust in prospective customers. Companies often welcome an opportunity for positive exposure and are eager to tout their focus on customer experience to their customers. These profiles are most common in the B2B world, but even companies like Apple will do interviews and produce video testimonials highlighting how people use their products.

9. Be a customer reference

In the B2B world, prospective customers, especially in the enterprise space, often want to speak with existing customers about their experience before selecting a solution. Your promoters are a great source for these conversations. Reach out to a few of your promoters in different industries and see if they’d be open to occasionally speaking with prospective customers. Promoters know how to maximize the value of your product, and are uniquely positioned to enlighten others on how to do the same.

10. Hire them

Training a new hire to be as deeply familiar with your product as you takes a long time. When you find someone who already has a high level of familiarity with your product, you can save months of onboarding time. Not only are promoters typically highly familiar with your product, that familiarity comes from actual time spent using the product. This sort of deep, real world immersion can be a huge asset, and is rarely achievable by the people creating the product.

It’s easy to focus all of your attention on detractors. After all, promoters are happy customers. And as the saying goes: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” But promoters can be immensely valuable in ways beyond simply spreading the word about your product. Let them help you – you’ll likely find that they’re eager to do it.

Good isn’t good enough

When is it safe for a company to let up on the gas when it comes to improving customer experience? This is a question we hear a lot at Delighted. Should you continue to invest in customer experience if your customers are satisfied with the current experience? It’s common for a company to create a unique experience, gain early traction in their market, then shift their energy from improving that experience, to scaling and driving efficiencies. After all, why invest in increasing the quality of your customer experience if your NPS is already 10 points higher than your competition?

While it’s important to know where you stand against your competition we caution against letting competitors define your investment in customer experience. It’s always better to benchmark against yourself, and continuously take advantage of opportunities to increase the quality of your customer experience. Put another way, you should be focused on improving your experience to protect against future competitors that may not exist yet, but will almost certainly crop up in the future.

There is always an appetite for a better experience – be it a service experience, a quality experience, or a product experience. Because of this, the best experiences today will be table stakes tomorrow. Once a level of customer experience becomes the norm, people will look for newer, higher quality experiences. And the most discerning customers – those willing to pay a premium for a better experience – are the first to seek greener pastures.

This opens the door for competition.

This is the critical junction – when an experience begins to reach normalcy and stagnate – where new players enter an industry. They’ll peel off early adopters, leaving customers who are less willing to pay for differentiated experiences. The incumbent is forced to adjust to their new reality of lower revenues and profits, by cutting costs and corners. This further widens the gap between the old experience and the new, more desirable one.

Coffee shops are a great example of this phenomenon. Starbucks realized there was an opportunity to create a much better experience around the daily ritual of coffee. They created an experience that recreated the atmosphere and sophisticated drink selections of Italian cafes. They were able to steal the most valuable segment of the coffee drinking market, by providing a experience people were eager to pay a premium for. But over time, as Starbucks grew more and more ubiquitous, their core coffee experience stagnated. As a result, the same early adopters of the Starbucks experience were ready for something new.

Enter the artisanal roasters/shops.

Companies like Blue Bottle, Stumptown, and many others, have picked up where Starbucks left off. They’ve begun to court the discerning coffee drinkers for whom Starbucks is no longer appealing, by offering an even better atmosphere, more skilled baristas, and higher quality coffee – often using ultra fresh beans roasted in-house. For instance, Blue Bottle has invested heavily in the quality of their coffee, and never sells beans (brewed or bagged) that are older than 2 days from the roast date.

Another example industry is fast food. In a market dominated by McDonalds, Burger King, and Taco Bell, companies like Chipotle, Sweetgreen, Lyfe Kitchen, and others, have recognized an opportunity for something better than traditional fast food, but less formal than traditional “sit down” restaurants. They’ve begun to chip away at fast food restaurants’ market share by attracting customers who want higher quality food, a more welcoming atmosphere, and healthier menu choices – and they’re willing to pay for it.

The car industry in the United States changed dramatically during the 1980’s. Japanese competitors Honda and Toyota began to gain market share in an environment where customers were looking for higher quality vehicles (not to mention smaller and less expensive) – the sort of vehicles that GM, Ford, and Chrysler were ill equipped to produce. U.S. automakers were slow to respond and consequently lost market share year after year. The U.S. automakers went from nearly 80% market share in the late 1970’s to 45% market share by 2010. Honda and Toyota raised the bar for quality to such a degree that they were able to leverage their early success in small cars to larger cars and SUVs over time – the most profitable and highest volume segments of the market.

The appetite for better experiences is insatiable. There are always customers who will pay for a better experience. It’s this constant search for the best that provides a foothold for new companies to exist and grow. By definition, new companies exist because they provide an experience that their customers can’t get elsewhere. When deciding when your experience is “good enough” it’s important to remember that to stay relevant over the long term, you’ll need to invest in improving your experience.

The best coffee cart coffee in 1970 is nothing like the pour over you can get at Blue Bottle today. The cheeseburger from McDonalds in 2000 hasn’t improved much at all, yet tastes have become more sophisticated. And the best selling Ford in 1980 would be a complete flop if released today. Customers will always demand better experiences, and they will find the companies that can provide them. To stay relevant focus on continually improving your own experience so customers continue to choose you in their quest for the best.

When to send your NPS survey

Selecting the precise moment in which to solicit feedback from your customers can have a huge impact on both the quality and quantity of the feedback you receive. Survey too early and your customers may not have a full story to tell. Survey too late, and you lose the raw emotion felt during the experience, as well as those critical details that tend to fade away over time.

The key to running a successful NPS program is your ability to maximize the number of people who provide feedback, as well as the completeness of that feedback. Survey timing affects both of these simultaneously. With a bit of careful planning, you can vastly improve the quality and quantity of feedback you receive.

The old way

Many companies conduct their feedback programs on an annual or quarterly basis. They typically involve long and complex surveys sent to nearly all of their customers, past or current, in one large blast. Administering feedback programs in this manner is time consuming and complex. Companies rarely want to go through that pain more often than is absolutely necessary. And sadly, the results typically don’t scale with the effort put forth.

Customers are asked for feedback at seemingly random times and often cannot recollect the finer details of their experience. Requesting too much information at the wrong time is a recipe for disaster in the world of feedback. Companies who survey in this manner typically see only single digit percentages of customer participation, usually with very little verbatim feedback.

A better way

With modern feedback platforms like Delighted, you have the flexibility to survey customers at the most optimal moment in their journey. That moment varies by business type, but is always centered around the point where a customer has experienced enough of your product or service to be able to confidently recommend it, or not.

We’ve put together a few guidelines on how to identify the right moment to survey your customers:

Retail and E-commerce

When a physical good is involved, survey timing is relatively straightforward. You can typically pinpoint the optimal survey point by starting with the delivery date and adding just enough time for the customer to fully experience the product.

In the case of a consumable like food, that point would be soon after delivery. In the case of products with longer evaluation windows, like mattresses, you may want to wait a few weeks from the delivery date to survey customers, as the evaluation of a mattress typically doesn’t happen overnight.

Men’s clothier Bonobos surveys customers a few days after their new clothes arrive, giving customers time to try them on, while allowing a little extra time for customers who don’t open the package the day it is delivered. Another approach is to stagger surveying, asking some customers for feedback shortly after the product has been delivered, and others a few weeks later. This can give you a wide angle view on the customer experience.

Surveying doesn’t have to be limited to first-time buyers. However, the tempo of surveying should track with the relative uniqueness of each order. The more unique each order is from the last, the more often you should ask for feedback – within reason. If each order is totally unique, surveying folks every couple months is reasonable. If your product does not change, you probably don’t want to survey your customers more than once a quarter to 6 months, just frequent enough to make sure you’re maintaining the experience you’ve been delivering.

B2B and SaaS

The buying process for business customers can take much longer than it does for consumer customers. This can make deciding on the right moment to ask for feedback a bit tricky. It can be helpful to break the customer journey into two phases: the early phase, and the on-going phase.

In the early phase, you’ll ask for feedback once a customer has successfully onboarded and has started to get value from your product. Many SaaS companies will ask for feedback a few weeks to a month after a customer subscribes to a paid plan, while service-oriented companies will typically survey shortly after completing a job or project for a client.

For on-going relationships, you can ask for feedback on a quarterly, semi-annual, or annual basis. The time period you choose should be aligned with the stability of your delivered experience. If your service rarely changes, you’ll want to pick a longer time period – a short time period could result in duplicative feedback. If you are a young software startup with a product and support team that is changing rapidly, quarterly surveying may be more appropriate.

On-Demand

For companies that deliver an experience or product at the push of a button, survey timing is critical – but the same general principles still apply. Rental car company Silvercar surveys customers shortly after they return the vehicle. At this point they’ve experienced the entire service lifecycle including booking, pickup, driving, and returning.

HotelTonight sends their surveys the day after a guest checks out of a hotel. HotelTonight cares about both the booking experience in their app, as well as the complete guest experience at the hotel. Neither of these companies will survey customers again for a few months. This blackout period ensures that they’ll be able to collect feedback from these customers in the future.

Consumer Products

Companies that produce physical products should start with a similar approach to retail and e-commerce – giving customers enough time to experience the product they’ve purchased.

One recent trend is the increasing use of companion web services and mobile apps in conjunction with physical products. Customers will often have to register or activate the product on the manufacturers website or mobile app. This can enable a much better understanding of product usage patterns, as well as provide a direct method of communicating with the customer who may have purchased the product from a 3rd party retailer.

As with retail and e-commerce, the optimal point to solicit feedback will vary with the type of product. While some products allow for snap judgement, others will require the customer to more deeply integrate the product into their lifestyle before they can form an opinion – like a new smart thermostat or home audio system. In those cases, if you were to survey the customer when the product was registered or activated, you’d miss the key insights that can only be gleaned after weeks of use. Even worse, customers who are surveyed before they’ve fully evaluated a product, are likely to give you a low NPS score, even if they go on to eventually become a loyal promoter. People typically won’t feel comfortable recommending something they have not yet fully vetted.

Summary

As we’ve discussed, choosing the right moment to survey can have a profound effect on the quality and quantity of the feedback you receive. While the specifics around when to survey vary with different business models, the core principle remains: think about when a customer will have had a complete experience with you, and survey shortly after that. With a bit of simple planning, you can dramatically improve the value of your customer feedback program.

12 reasons to follow up with detractors

Running a successful NPS program is more than simply asking your customers for feedback. It’s about using that feedback to fundamentally improve your product or service. But an often under valued aspect of doing NPS well is rigorously following up with detractors – folks who didn’t have a great experience and wouldn’t recommend you. We’ve worked with thousands of companies who have seen the power of following up with detractors and we’ve compiled the top 12 reasons you should follow up with your detractors.

1. Convert detractors into promoters

The audacious goal of any customer focussed company is to deliver a perfect experience to every customer, every time. A lofty goal for sure, and it’s unrealistic to expect you’ll be able to meet this level of experience each time. Knowing that you’re almost guaranteed to miss the mark sometimes, then you should view detractors as gift not to be squandered. You’ve successfully unearthed a tangible opportunity to right a wrong (or series of wrongs). It may seem counterintuitive, but you’ll likely find that some of your most loyal customers are former detractors. A detractor’s expectations are already low, which means they have high upside. Simply showing them that you care is often enough to turn them around.

2. Hold you and the team accountable for each customers’ experience

As your company and customer base grows, it’s all too easy to drift into thinking about the customer experience in numerical terms, instead of real human experiences. You begin to say things like: “1% of customers experienced a late shipment”, or “3% of customers were affected by this bug”. This sort of thinking leads to a disconnect between what you deliver, and what your customers actually experience. When you follow up with folks who didn’t have a great experience, it’s impossible to escape the fact that you let a real person down. Having a one-on-one conversation with a customer, forces you to own the decisions you’ve made. You can either stand behind them, and risk losing the customer, or you can fix them. Whatever you choose, these one-on-one conversations serve as a mirror for the experience you actually deliver.

3. Fill in the blanks when a detractor does not leave a comment

Detractors may not always leave a comment with their score. And if they do, they may not share the whole story. When you close the loop with them, you have the chance to learn more about their entire experience. What caused the issue? What were they expecting? Were they told something that wasn’t true? This is invaluable for both helping the customer in the moment, as well as providing your team with a complete picture of where you can improve.

4. Connect with people who may never have contacted support

Many issues, like a slightly late package, or a couple small bugs in a piece of software, don’t usually warrant an email to customer support. But these experiences add up! And they will slowly turn people into detractors. If you’re not actively looking for detractors, you may never know they exist. Only a small percentage of your total customer base will ever contact customer support, but a much larger percentage will happily share their experience with you when asked in a simple way.

5. Stop issues from becoming unsolvable

As stated above, people don’t typically start out as detractors. They come into the relationship hopeful that your company will help them solve their problem. Sometimes there’s an acute issue that triggers someone into becoming a detractor overnight, but the more common scenario is an accumulation of small issues – each one amplified by the last. Annoyance turns to frustration, and frustration turns to rage. Following up with detractors as soon as you identify them can help stave off negative snowballing of irreparable harm.

6. Open a line of communication for any future issues

Once you’ve turned a detractor around, they will remember that positive experience. If they should encounter any new issues, they’ll feel comfortable knowing they can reach out to a real person on your team who cares. This is incredibly valuable. It gives you the opportunity to head off any future problems before they have chance to sour the relationship.

7. Show you care and that you are listening

Providing feedback to a company is much like tossing a penny into a fountain – you hope something good will come from it, but don’t expect much. When you follow up with a detractor, you’re sending a very clear signal that your company actively reads and responds to feedback. Even if you’re simply apologizing for a minor annoyance, this is far beyond what most companies are willing to do. When customers feel under appreciated, they adopt a less forgiving posture. Issues are met with hostility and fervor. People have been trained that this sort of reaction is the only way to get the attention of a company. Responding to detractors in a timely fashion can disarm them, and pave the way for a much more constructive conversation.

8. Solve problems proactively

Detractors are often upset about things that can be solved relatively quickly by your support team. Maybe they can’t find their tracking number, or they want to return something but missed the window by a day. Maybe they’re requesting a product feature that you happen to have in private beta. Many of these acute issues can be resolved by your support team instantly. They can respond with the customer’s tracking number and info about when it will arrive. They can grant an extension on the return policy and include a free return shipping label. They can invite the customer into a preview of a feature that has yet to be launched. There’s nothing more rewarding than realizing that you already have a solution for a customer. These customers are often the easiest to convert to promoters.

9. Share upcoming improvements

If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to address the issues of your detractors immediately. But some feedback will illuminate “soft” areas of your product or service for which there is no quick fix. These typically surface when an otherwise happy customer happens upon a blind spot, or takes a path outside of your finely optimized core experience. While you may not be able to fix these issues immediately, it’s still good practice to acknowledge the pain the customer is feeling, and share any upcoming improvements that could address their concerns. The key here is to open a channel of communication that you can use to inform them of any new developments, and give yourself more chances to retain them.

10. Find the root cause

You may find that a seemingly innocuous piece of feedback actually speaks to a much larger systemic problem within your organization. As you follow up with detractors, you’ll have the opportunity to dig deeper into each particular experience, and uncover details that would rarely be shared in customer feedback. While these problems are trickier to identify, they typically solve an entire class of issues for people once they are resolved. For instance, you may find that many first-time customers don’t buy again or are confused about policies around returns. As you dig in, you may come to learn they are unsure of the quality of your products and are nervous about your return policy. This may lead you to create a whole campaign about how you offer a 100% happiness guarantee.

11. Minimize fallout

Some detractors are more vocal about their negative experiences than others. They leave feedback on review sites, forums, and other channels where word-of-mouth testimonials can carry a lot of weight. Reaching out to your detractors as soon as they leave feedback can help you nip any potential fallout in the bud. Once they know you actually care and are working to fix their issue, they’ll be far less likely to share their initially bad experience with others. Better still, they may share the positive interaction they’ve had with you.

12. Get a better grasp on churn risk

Detractors carry higher churn/attrition rates than passives and promoters. However, not all detractors are equal. Some may have just tipped into being detractors, while others maybe be on the verge of calling it quits. Following up with detractors can help you prioritize your efforts, focussing first on the most at-risk customers.

Following up with detractors is a critical step towards improving your NPS and providing a world-class experience for your customers. It’s easy to be excited when the feedback is flowing in and you are working to improve the experience behind the scenes. But as we’ve covered, there are many great reasons to follow-up with detractors the moment they reveal themselves. It will certainly take extra energy, but the benefits are multi-dimensional. You’ll speak with more of your customers, learn more from them, convert many into loyal promoters, give them a great reason to stick around, and better prioritize product improvements – all leading to more revenue and growth.

Remember me?

You walk into your favorite coffee shop – you’ve been here dozens of times before. You order your typical cappuccino, and wait for the barista to ask for your name. You’re not quite sure if they remember you. This is when some baristas will simply ask, “What’s your name?”. Some will soften it a bit and ask, “What name should we use?” – a minor adjustment that avoids the full concession that they don’t recognize you. After all, maybe you have a nickname you sometimes use, or a name you use when ordering where there could be potential conflicts.

But there’s a better alternative. One that draws you in and makes you feel as though they know you, but are simply having a momentary memory lapse…

“Remind me of your name again…”

It’s a subtle difference, but it matters. And it’s a great example of the holistic thinking that produces outstanding customer experiences.

Of course, the ideal situation is that they actually remember you and your name. Bonus points if they pre-empt your order and ask, “Your regular cappuccino to go?”.

But not every barista will remember every regular customer, let alone a customer who’s only visited once or twice before. The interesting question is, how could you make the customer feel like a regular, regardless of how often they buy from you? “Remind me…” phrasing bridges the gap between feeling like a totally anonymous customer and being recognized and known by name. It allows the barista who recognizes the customer, but can’t recall their name, to engage them in a more personal way.

Now, we certainly wouldn’t find it thoughtful or endearing if we knew that the person asking us was a new employee who couldn’t possibly have helped us before. It can’t be used as a trick. But when used appropriately it’s quite a nice enhancement to the experience. Especially in response to such a common and mundane exchange.

The best companies think about customer experience from end-to-end. And they understand that new and repeat customers are different, each deserving of a tailored experience. The hospitality industry has always led the way here. Four Seasons kept index cards (before computers) with guest preferences – from pillow fluffiness, to preferred brands to stock in the mini bar. All in service of making the guest feel more comfortable and taken care of during their next stay.

Where in your business is there opportunity to turn a mundane interaction into something more thoughtful and endearing? Where could you acknowledge your loyal customers more and make them feel recognized?

The microwave curse

A microwave oven is supposed to be a convenient way to heat up a meal, pop some popcorn, warm some milk, or myriad other simple cooking tasks. It’s a welcome alternative to much slower options like an oven or stove.

First introduced as a device to save time for specific cooking tasks, the microwave is now an appliance that aims to perform every cooking task. You’ll often find highly specific settings for things like cooking a turkey or adjusting the power level in individual percentage point increments. It’s not uncommon for the modern microwave to have more than 30 buttons. It’s gotten out of control.

The modern microwave is a case study for a product that has continually added new features and capability without reconsidering the holistic experience and the usage patterns of customers. While each individual addition may have sold an incremental microwave, they weren’t later held accountable for the complexity they brought to the whole.

How many of the features added to microwaves in the past 40 years are used by the majority of microwave users? Are people really cooking a turkey in their microwave? If they are, is it more than once per year? Do they really need to be able to set the power level to 43%?

Not only are the additions likely underutilized, they complicate the process of using a microwave for the everyday use cases. When you try to address every use case, you end up not solving any of them well.

What if your microwave only had 3 buttons – one to add 30 seconds, one to remove 15 seconds, and one to cancel? That might seem extreme, but it would likely get closer to how people actually use these appliances instead of trying to solve every possible use case.

Even well-intentioned additions to a product or experience, that give people more options or capability, will eventually lead to a complex, unfocused product if not reconsidered and pruned from time to time.

Don’t ask your customers if you already know the answer

Haphazardly crafted surveys are everywhere. It’s an epidemic. Surveys can suffer from a variety of issues, and they all result in the cardinal sin of squandering customers’ precious attention. One of the most notorious time wasters is when a company asks for information they already have.

Consider this all too common scenario:

You book a flight to Maui for a long overdue vacation. You land, check your email while taxiing to the gate, and find a customer feedback survey from your airline waiting in your inbox.

Here are the first 3 questions:

What is your email address?
What was your flight number?
Which airport did you depart from?

Right off the bat, you’re asked 3 things that the airline certainly already knows. They sent you the survey via email, so they have your email address. They knew when to send the survey – after you landed – so they know your flight number. And if they know your flight number, they know your departure airport.

Why are they wasting time collecting information they already have? Customer feedback is a gift, not a right. Don’t squander that gift by asking superfluous questions. At best it’s a missed opportunity – at worst it’s offensive.

So why does this happen? To be fair, the likely reason is that the people administering the survey simply can’t muster the engineering resources required to build a survey that is deeply integrated with existing customer data. As a result they fall back on a hodgepodge of antiquated tools that makes correlation to customer data virtually impossible. While unfortunate, that’s no excuse! Customers don’t care about office politics or the deficiencies of your tools. That’s your problem.

The easiest way to avoid this sort of mistake, is to move away from hand-crafted surveys, and incorporate a modern customer feedback product into your arsenal. These allow you to attach any amount of customer data to surveys upfront, so you’re not hoisting the responsibility onto your customers. Even better, the best products allow you to deliver surveys directly from the place where your customer data lives, by integrating with CRM tools like Salesforce, or payment processors like Stripe.

Respecting your customers’ time is the key to running effective customer feedback programs. Removing superfluous survey questions leads to increased completion rates, happier customers, and higher quality feedback.

What’s the secret to growing your business 240%?

Silvercar is a premium rental car service operating in 15 markets in the United States. We spoke with them about how they got started, lessons learned along the way and how Delighted has contributed to their growth.

Silvercar was founded in 2012 when the founders got stuck renting a white minivan for a golf weekend. They realized there was an opportunity to remove the hassles of the typical car rental experience so they created a premium car rental experience with silver Audi A4 cars and other amenities. “It’s not just about renting a car and having the process not suck,” says Allen Darnell, chief technology officer at Silvercar. “It’s about how we use technology to fix that process and deliver a great experience.”

Delighted is one of the technologies that has spurred Silvercar’s growth because of the immediate access to actionable customer feedback. This allows the Silvercar team to connect with customers, address pain points, share best practices across all locations, and constantly improve.

Read the case study to see how Delighted helps Silvercar continually increase customer loyalty as the company grows, drive industry change, and maintain an NPS of 80–85.

4 ways Net Promoter Score can boost your business

We started Delighted just over 3 years ago and we’ve seen growing interest in Net Promoter Score® (NPS). The interest has ranged from those who are very familiar with the methodology to those who are looking to build a business case to start using it, to those that have no familiarity with NPS at all. Even though NPS has been around for over 10 years, there is still a limited amount of helpful information on how to get started with NPS. We decided to create a primer and provide examples of how the NPS methodology can help any type and size of business.

What is Net Promoter Score and how does NPS work?

NPS is used to measure customer loyalty, a critical metric for business success. Bain & Company introduced NPS in 2003. It’s become widely accepted since then, with businesses using it as a standard for tracking customer loyalty and satisfaction. NPS helps you measure customer loyalty by asking a simple question:

How likely is it that you would recommend Company X/Product Y/Service Z to a friend or colleague?

Customers leave a score from 0 to 10. Based on the score they provide they are bucketed into three groups: promoters, passives and detractors. Promoters are customers that give a 9 or 10 score, passives a score of 7 or 8, and detractors a score of 0 to 6.

In addition to the rating question, the NPS asks a follow up question where customers share the reason for their score, in their own words. It is this open ended feedback that represents the voice of the customer and provides invaluable feedback for any business.

A bit about the three groupings: promoters, passives, and detractors. Promoters are fiercely loyal to a brand and willingly recommend it to friends and family. Passives have neutral feelings or experiences with a brand. They’re not likely to harm a business with negative word-of-mouth, nor are they likely to recommend the business. They’re just unenthusiastic and may switch to a competitor who offers something new or more interesting. Detractors are not happy with the company and are likely to share their negative experience online and with friends and family.

Once you have collected responses from your customers you are ready to calculate your NPS. The NPS calculation is simple – you subtract your percentage of detractors from your percentage of promoters. NPS scores differ from industry to industry but generally speaking a score of 50 or higher is a good score.

NPS fuels business growth

Implementing NPS across your customer base ensures your team gets a varied and steady flow of feedback – both positive and negative. Positive recommendations are crucial to growing your business. In the original Net Promoter study, Fred Reichheld found that the response to the “willingness to recommend question” had the strongest link to customer behaviors that boost repeat purchases or referrals. Word of mouth from your best customers (i.e. promoters) have a powerful influence on purchasing decisions. In 2011, Harvard Business review reported that a referred customer is 18 percent more loyal than a customer acquired through other channels; a referred customer also generates 16 percent more in profits.

An NPS program will help you identify your promoters whom you can connect with using a variety of marketing programs. Your promoters can create a ‘referral engine’ for your business by recommending your business to their family and friends, thereby bringing new customers to your business with a stronger sense of loyalty at a lower cost of acquisition. Conversely an NPS program will help you identify your detractors and give you the opportunity to turn them into passives (which is a worthwhile effort because they are less likely to damage your brand) or promoters (which is the ideal scenario because they are ambassadors for your business).

NPS delivers valuable, unfiltered customer feedback

In terms of customer feedback, long, complicated surveys typically don’t accomplish much. In Scoring Success, a paper by David Whitlark and Gary Rhoads, the professors discuss the benefits of including open-ended questions so respondents can freely express their opinion of your business. The open ended follow up after the initial scoring question is key to the success of an NPS program. Customers are empowered to speak their mind, and it’s these comments that allow you to improve your business processes in order to continue to build loyalty amongst your customers.

In 2013 Munchery, a food delivery service, underwent one of the riskiest processes for any business: a complete overhaul of its brand. Using NPS, Munchery monitored the reaction to the changes in real time. Based on customer feedback, Munchery decided to move to biodegradable packaging. The feedback helped ensure the re-brand was smooth and integrated the feedback customers had been sharing.

NPS can improve your product development process

Used correctly, customer feedback can have a tremendously positive impact on your product development process. In many organizations, product development teams are not exposed to direct customer feedback – the feedback is either sanitized or summarized by another department before it reaches the development team, or worse, the feedback never even makes it to the product team. By implementing insights gleaned from NPS, you will uncover opportunities for new features, changes to your policies, deeper understanding of how your product impacts customers, and help your team better empathize with your customers. Every company wants to be customer focused and NPS provides a reliable way to actually be customer focused day in and day out.

NPS offers practical business insights to improve customer experience

In 2006 Phillips, the global electronics manufacturer, started using NPS. Soon enough, Phillips discovered the need to have support for customers on weekends. The team found a way to offer support on the weekends and customers have been thrilled.

While Phillips has been using NPS for over a decade, Tuft & Needle, whose mattress is rated five stars on Amazon, started using NPS more recently. Started in 2013, Tuft & Needle was inspired by a poor mattress buying experience, and the founders wanted to ensure that their customers had a dramatically better experience. Tuft & Needle was receiving feedback that the mattress setup process was good, but not great. The team was able to discover that customers were opening the mattress boxes in their living room – where there’s space – and then moving the mattress to the bedroom. So Tuft & Needle added strong handles to the mattress sides and also added more information to let customers know they should open the box in their bedroom.

Whether you’ve been using NPS for years, or are new to NPS, both these examples illustrate that companies of all sizes, and in all industries, can use the NPS methodology to improve internal processes and create an experience that customers love.

There’s no point to NPS without action

While NPS delivers valuable feedback, your business must be committed to act on the feedback. NPS has the power to deliver great insights, but there’s no point to the insight without action. A Bain study discovered that organizations that deliver consistent customer value grow at more than twice the rate of the competition.

If you don’t yet have an NPS program sign up for our 7 day free trial. If you’re new to NPS start small. Begin by launching NPS in one department. This way you won’t become overwhelmed with feedback, or overwhelmed by any changes in your processes that may be required to address the feedback. Once you have seen initial success it will be easy to use NPS to make an impact across your organization.

Introducing Web and SMS – two new ways to gather feedback with Delighted

We started Delighted to help businesses deliver great experiences based on feedback. Customers want to share their experiences with businesses, and in turn, businesses want to use customer feedback to improve. Before we started Delighted we noticed a problem; the feedback experience was often frustrating – poorly timed surveys that were far too long, contained irrelevant questions and were hard to use on mobile devices. We wanted to fix this, so we set out to create the best possible experience for providing feedback.

We focused on email first. Businesses like Uber, Bonobos, Blue Bottle Coffee, Slack, Cisco, HotelTonight and countless others use Delighted, delivered via email, to gather actionable feedback from their customers.

But email is just one of many ways businesses and their customers connect and communicate. And we want to ensure that sharing feedback can happen anywhere and anytime.

That’s why today we are launching Web and SMS – allowing you to gather feedback directly on your website and from customers instantly via text message. Now, you can gather feedback across the three major platforms of email, web, and SMS all within a single, unified, easy to use product.

Let’s dig in to each new experience:

Delighted Web makes it simple and easy to gather feedback directly on your website or in your web application. You can gather feedback from visitors even if you don’t know their email address, opening up a whole new group of customers and potential customers who can now share feedback about their experience. With Delighted Web setup is easy, with a simple JS snippet you add to your page, and you’ll be collecting feedback immediately. Plus you can rest assured that folks won’t be over surveyed with our Adaptive Sampling and Throttling features. Whether you’re a B2B SaaS company that wants to gather feedback from everyone inside your product, or an ecommerce site that wants to gather feedback at the end of the buying process Delighted Web can help.

Delighted SMS is the instant way to gather feedback. If you already communicate with customers via SMS it’s the perfect fit. Plus it works across all mobile devices – from flip phones to smart phones. It’s tailor built for SMS with a conversational experience so customers simply reply with their score and then share their feedback; emojis and all. And we’ve created Smart Scheduling so you won’t be accidentally annoying customers at 2am by buzzing their phone with a request for feedback (we automatically schedule the texts to send during the day).

Delighted Web and SMS are available right now, all you need to do is sign up or sign in to your account and click “Survey people”. Pricing is simple, and we offer plans for either a single or all three platforms and usage is based on how many people you survey each month, just as it has been with Email.

We’re excited to launch these new experiences for gathering feedback and can’t wait to hear how you’re using them. Sign up for your free trial today!

Good or familiar?

As creators we are surrounded by work that influences how we perceive our own: admired work of respected peers, work aligned with current trends, or simply well-executed instances of well-worn patterns. But the work around us has gravity, and it pulls us towards similar solutions, and clouds our ability to assess our work on the basis of its own merit.

Creators don’t set out to emulate, but they can drift towards familiar and recognizable options in the vast sea of possibility. The familiar is comforting. When we successfully emulate aspects of work around us, however inadvertently, our minds fool us into thinking we’ve created something good, when in fact we’ve simply created something familiar. It feels correct. We’re lulled into accepting the recognizable.

But this is when we should push further.

It’s a lonely and scary place to be, creating something new. There’s nothing with which to compare the work – no shelter of the familiar. But this untethered feeling precedes breakthrough. New work by definition won’t be familiar. It demands a leap of faith. No great work came from someone playing it safe.

Join us

We believe small teams can accomplish great things. We’ve focused on building Delighted with a concentrated and efficient team. Since day one, we’ve been a team of three. Now we’re ready to add a fourth member.

We’re looking for the right person to help accelerate our engineering efforts and make Delighted even more useful for our customers.

If you’re looking to do your best work on a team dedicated to great customer experiences we’d love to chat.

Read more

Thanks,
The Delighted Team

We’ve launched

Delighted is out of private beta and officially open to the public!

We’ve spent the last year working closely with customers like Design Within Reach, Bonobos, Eventbrite, Goodreads, TaskRabbit, HotelTonight, Munchery, and many more, to create an extraordinarily useful tool.

Delighted is built around the simple truth that great products come from companies who deeply understand their customers. We want to help companies form that level of understanding, and use it to make great decisions every single day.

If you’re already a Delighted customer, we’d be grateful if you’d tell anyone you think we could help. If not, it’s a great time to give Delighted a try.

Thanks,
The Delighted Team

Perks

These days it’s common practice for tech employers to tout lavish perks in their recruiting efforts. A top spec Mac, huge displays, free drinks, snacks, laundry services, in-house barista, etc. You name it. It’s all been done.

As supplementary support for people doing extraordinary work, these things can be very helpful. But when perks become the primary focus of recruiting and retention discussions, that may be a sign you’re lacking the environment great talent is actually seeking out.

Great talent isn’t looking for free snacks. They’re looking for meaningful work, clearly defined (and matching) values, brilliant peers, and an environment where they can do the best work of their lives. They want to be operating at their highest level of performance possible, free from distraction and friction.

The right environment reduces friction.

While perks can alleviate the very top level of friction, the deeper sources of friction are much more debilitating. Things like fuzzy goals, conflicting values and directives, picking up the slack for poor performing peers, and distracting office politics. No amount of perks can make these tolerable. Furthermore, if you do manage to land a great candidate, you’re not likely to retain them for long in this sort of environment.

Finding great talent is hard. And while many great companies offer impressive perks, the causation must not be confused. Offering perks isn’t a shortcut to attracting great talent, it’s merely the tip of the iceberg.

Rules

Businesses often create frustrating rules when customers behave in unexpected ways. Here are a couple examples:

It goes like this: The business feels pain from an unanticipated customer behavior. But instead of taking responsibility – addressing the mismatch on their end – they pass the pain down to the customer by way of a rule. Often expressed in a contemptible manner, these rules preemptively scold all future customers regardless of whether or not they exhibit the offending behavior.

They create friction.

The best businesses aim to eliminate friction. They set aside blame, and seek to go with the grain, creating a path of minimal resistance for customers. They believe that their customers shouldn’t be subjected to the complexities of merchant account fees, or how laundry is sorted behind the scenes of a hotel.

Great businesses realize that frustrating rules are merely band-aid solutions for localized problems. They often only apply to a small group, yet chip away at the integrity of the overall experience for everyone. In short, these frustrating rules benefit the business at the expense of customers.

The team is the product

Every product is a reflection of the team behind it. Just as user interfaces are the conduit between humans and the functionality of products, products are the conduit between customers and the team of people solving a particular problem.

There are no good or bad products, only good or bad teams making products. The product is an extension of the team. Each delightful detail or frustrating interaction is the direct result of decisions made by the team.

The age of shrink-wrapped software is over. It used to be that when a product did what the customer wanted, they could use it unchanged, indefinitely. The point of view of the team behind the product mattered very little. If the shoe fit, you wore it.

But these days, software products are living, evolving organisms. Now, the customer rides shotgun on the road trip of a product’s development. This shifts the focus away from the present state of the product, and towards future iterations. Where will the team take the product next? How will they make the hard prioritization decisions? Will core workflows change? Customers are at the mercy of the team.

Customers are no longer buying static products, they are buying into the point of view and values of the team behind it. They now must trust that the team deeply understands the problem at hand, and will not leave them high and dry with unexpected curve balls and poor prioritization. The line between product and team is blurring, and now, more than ever, the quality of the team is just as important as the quality of the product.

Care

Truly great products and experiences come from people who care. It’s that simple.

When people don’t care, it’s evident. Products are confused and lack a point of view. Customer service representatives are more interested in going home than helping you. Good enough, becomes good enough.

You must push beyond what’s considered a rational amount of effort or time if you intend to make something great. This comes at great emotional and monetary expense. But money alone is not enough. Money won’t magically motivate people to care about making something great. Caring can’t be bought.

People who care are a scarce resource. This is commonly why the largest companies in the world often struggle to create great things, even when they have deep pockets, global reach, and well-paid teams. The people who care, ultimately leave to work with others who care as much as they do.

Creating something great requires that you surround yourself with people who will do whatever it takes to get it right. It’s an obsession, and it’s fueled by caring. Finding these people is hard, but they are supremely worth it. When people who care attack a problem, magical things tend to happen.

The right way

There’s no shortage of advice on how to build a company. With so many pitfalls and challenges, it’s tempting to seek out the “right” way. When advice comes from someone with some form of success, it’s easy to assume their advice must be right.

The truth is, good advice can be the wrong advice for your company. More specifically, the right way depends entirely on the type of company you are building.

What does success look like for you? What do you value? What are you good at? What do you want to be doing on a daily basis? What impact are you looking to make? How long do you have to get there?

The answers to these questions are different for everyone. Yet they are the key to understanding if a given piece of advice is one you should heed or disregard. Just because it’s worked for someone else before doesn’t mean it will square with your values and goals for the company.

When you know who you want to be as a company, you’ll be in a much better position to select advice that gets you where you’re trying to go. Follow someone else’s map, and you may not like the destination.

Simple

There’s a little sandwich shop in Palo Alto, CA called Simply Sandwiches. We like their sandwiches and what they stand for.

The shop is postage stamp tiny and is run by a husband and wife. They’re open four hours a day, Monday through Friday. They’re closed weekends. They do one thing – sell sandwiches at lunch time.

A basic sandwich is $5. You can get a fancier one (with things like bacon or avocado) for $6.65. No salads, no wraps, no hot dishes. Only items you can fit in a small paper lunch bag.

They lovingly prepare every sandwich – one at a time. Every weekday, at lunchtime, there is a line out the door.

They’ve been around for 28 years, they’ve sold over 750,000 sandwiches, and are smiling every time we see them. They know who they are.

Low-hanging fruit

Low-hanging fruit is a phrase tossed around in meetings when someone wants to do something they believe to be obviously high leverage.

The problem is, the use of this phrase is an insidious method of concealing two critical assumptions: that the best solution to the problem is obvious, and that it will be quick to implement. Neither of which are necessarily true. It’s a trick. A trick that not-so-subtly disrespects the process of building something great.

Building great things is hard, and there’s always a certain level of diligence required to unearth the optimal solution. It’s intellectually dishonest to label something as low-hanging fruit with the intent of short circuiting the typical rigor you’d bring to bear on solving a problem.

There are no shortcuts along the path to great things. If you want something great, you must be willing to explore the paths others lacked the will to travel.

Pursue perfection

“Perfect is the enemy of the good.”

— Voltaire

It has become fashionable to deem perfection a dirty word. The argument goes, if you strive for perfection you’ll never ship anything. But like all platitudes, the truth is much more nuanced.

Move one rung down from perfection on the quality ladder and you find “good enough”. “Good enough” sets a quality bar, and a quality bar quickly becomes a quality ceiling. Over time, doing anything above the bar is considered “a waste of time”. It’s easy to see how this mindset spirals into mediocrity.

If you really want to do something great, aim to do it the best. Every time. Anything less, and the gravity of familiarity and compromise drag it into the realm of sameness.

Shooting for perfection has the funny consequence of causing you to continually improve each micro decision. Compromises that would typically be allowed, that drag an experience from stellar to average, are not tolerated. Everyone on the team is focused on doing their best work and can’t imagine letting the team down by giving anything less.

Perfection isn’t an end-state, but an ideal. An ideal that inspires continual improvement by posing the question, “How can this be better?”. An ideal we believe is worth pursuing.

Bloat

We’ve all heard the advice to simplify, simplify, simplify. Yet, many products are bloated and confused. Why does this happen? What’s the disconnect between the stated goal of a streamlined product and the reality of overstuffing it?

In a word, fear. The team is afraid of what might happen if they don’t offer X or Y. This leads to rationalizing the bloat.

Teams that don’t understand who they’re building for, and why, are prone to make bloated products. They can always imagine situations where someone might need a given option. Each possible product choice becomes a lengthy debate, and inevitably they cave to adding more. They can’t make the trade-offs.

It feels safer to keep as many options as possible; more options, they reason, equal more chances to be happy. Unfortunately this dilutes an otherwise good product. It foists all those additional options onto the customer, who ends up doing the hard work of editing the product for themselves.

It’s one thing to say you want a simple, uncluttered product and something entirely different to actually make one. When a team understands who they’re building for, they have a much better chance of delivering on that goal.

The choice to leave out an option is never an easy one to make, but it’s easier if your team shares common values. And what’s more, it’s your job. You need to make the hard choices for your customers. They’ll thank you for it.

Brick walls

“The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough.”

— Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

When creating a product, you’ll likely encounter obstacles that require an extraordinary amount of time, energy, or tenacity to overcome. When you truly understand the problem and know the game you’re playing, these can be opportunities in disguise.

Obstacles are a chance to gain a meaningful advantage over those who yield to them. Companies that lack strong priorities can’t separate the obstacles that are worth overcoming, from those that aren’t. They’ll say “It can’t be done,” when what they actually mean is “We’re not sure it’s worth it.”

Choose your battles carefully, then embrace them wholeheartedly.

The compromise trap

Compromise is a widely used method of reaching consensus around two differing viewpoints. But in a design process, compromise between stakeholders when defining intentions almost always results in a suboptimal user experience.

Playing tug-of-war with design intentions will ultimately result in solutions that are neither here nor there. Splitting the difference is a trap.

The best way to avoid a compromised design is to commit to an intention and see it all the way through, even if there are hesitations amongst team members. If you find the intention was wrong, try the other one. Never mix intentions. Not only will this result in a much more appropriate design, but you’ll also have a much clearer idea as to why. And in design, learning is king.

Understand the problem

Design is about solving problems. And great design solves problems elegantly – utilizing as few, highly leveraged elements as possible.

The catch is, for everything you keep, there are far more things you must give up. You can’t have it all. Trade offs must be made, and embedded in each is a choice. A choice about something being more important than something else. So, how do you know what’s important and what isn’t?

You must understand the problem. Deeply and completely. Who is this for? Why do they need it? How are they doing this today? What can’t they live without? This is where the most amount of energy and time should be spent, yet this is where assumptions and dogma tend to trump exploration and deconstruction.

Glossing over this part of the process is dangerous. You’ll build on a foundation of assumptions. This leads to solutions that, while possibly well executed, miss the mark. In contrast, when you dig deep and break down the problem to its most essential, you can then build from bedrock. And build what’s actually necessary. All your energy is focused on improving the small set of things that actually matter. Creating the opportunity for an experience that is truly greater than the sum of its parts.

It’s no surprise elegant designs are often simple. When you deeply understand the problem you build what is absolutely critical. It turns out, what’s critical is often quite a small set of things.

Start with values

Enduring companies are capable of adapting to a changing external environment. We believe this capacity, to excel through continuous change, is rooted in a deep base of shared values.

Many interesting companies come and go either because the market opportunity evaporated, the team dynamic broke down, or the technology matured into a commodity.

Values are timeless. They are the bedrock of a company and don’t change even when everything else does.

We founded Delighted because of the values we share. They are the starting point for everything we do – from the products we build, to the people we hire, to the customers we seek out. Everything is shaped by our shared values.

Play your own game

It’s commonplace for companies to use sports strategy and metaphor when discussing competitors. Some think of competitors in the gladiatorial sense – an opponent they must destroy in order to win the customer. Such zero-sum thinking is common. Competition in sports is well understood – someone wins and someone loses. It’s simple and satisfying.

However, this framing leads to the false belief that in business there is a sole winner and that winning requires being stronger, faster, and better than a competitor. But business isn’t like sports at all. There is no single winner. Only companies that are attracting customers and making them happy and those that are not.

There’s no limit on the number of companies that can be successful, because there isn’t a universal definition of success. Some companies strive for the lowest prices, others to provide the most jobs, some to be the most efficient, and some strive for the highest possible quality. There are endless possible combinations. And that is a great thing to be celebrated.

A company needn’t model its behavior on what other companies do, because it doesn’t have to attract the same customers or value the same things. It isn’t as simple as declaring an enemy and beating them.

At Delighted we believe our passion for great design and empathetic software will attract those that share our passion, allowing us to serve them long into the future. We don’t particularly care what others choose to do, because we know the game we are playing – and we quite enjoy it.

Introducing Delighted

Every customer has a unique experience, but only a small fraction of those stories have the chance to be shared, and fewer still are heard. We want to change that.

Delighted is a new company that helps businesses connect with their customers – to learn, improve, and delight. We know the profound effects of asking customers to share their experiences, their frustrations, and their wishes. We are building thoughtful tools to help businesses get closer to their customers.

We believe businesses deserve great products and experiences. We believe everyone wants to be heard. We believe companies who truly listen will win.

Thanks, Caleb, Mark & Mike