One of the benefits of an employee survey is staff engagement. That’s part of it. But, the survey can also be valuable for measuring company performance.
Resources to help design surveys
The process of surveying customers goes a lot deeper than just trying to make them happy. Here’s why you should be surveying your customers.
Net Promoter Score® (NPS®) is one of the best and easiest ways to measure how loyal your customers are.
Are you Getting Enough Customer Feedback?
If you’re running a business, you will know how important customer satisfaction is. Social proof – the online evidence of your success, such as reviews and star ratings, is the modern-day word of mouth. As we all know, word of mouth can sink a business quickly if your customers aren’t satisfied. Therefore, keeping your customers happy has never been more important.
If all your financial metrics are being met, it can be easy to ignore customer feedback. We’ve all been there. A complaint here and there, and you just write it off as a difficult customer. This can be easy enough to do when the profits are rolling in, but how long will that last?
Feedback from customers is the best way to get a feel for how you’re doing, what’s working and what could be improved. Rather than letting negative feedback bring you down, it can also be an incredible source of ideas and brainstorming to take your business to the next level.
With any survey project though, it’s crucial that you have well-established goals before starting.
Setting Survey Goals
Before starting any project to find out what your customers are thinking, your survey goals need to be clearly defined. Many businesses make the mistake of going too broad with their surveys. Simple questions about how satisfied a customer is won’t really give you any actionable information. So, determine what you want to find out.
For example, if you’re really honing in on the customer experience from start to finish, you may consider a survey following a purchase – this way you can address each step and find out whether you did well. Alternatively, you may simply want to know how well your brand awareness is going, so you could tailor a survey specifically for that.
Remember, customer surveys are ultimately about improving your service, so without clearly defined goals and targets, it can be difficult to find things to take action on. Below, we’ve provided information on some of the most popular survey types being used in business today.
1. Net Promoter Score® (NPS®)
Finding out your Net Promoter Score® is all about customer loyalty. As we mentioned earlier, social proof and word of mouth are crucial to any company’s success, and that’s exactly what NPS® aims to discover.
It’s also very easy to understand, which is my many businesses love using it. Essentially, you’re given a score based on a series of questions such as “How likely are you to refer this company to a friend?” It’s all about how many people would proudly share their experience with friends (Promoters), and how many would never recommend your services to others (Detractors).
If your survey showed 70% of respondents were Promoters, while 30% were Detractors, your NPS® is 40. For understanding customer loyalty, NPS® is a terrific survey to use.
2. Brand Awareness
Brand awareness surveys are a little broader in nature, but still very targeted to a certain goal. Essentially, you’re trying to analyse your marketing efforts here. A brand awareness survey may ask questions about where a customer found out about you, how they perceive your brand, whether customers find your ads to be effective, and also some questions about the likelihood of referral.
As you can see, this type of survey has an element which allows businesses to obtain their Net Promoter Score®, however it’s mostly about your marketing. Positive responses to these questions will confirm whether or not your marketing efforts are hitting the spot.
It will also give you some specific details about how and where customers are discovering you. Whether it be Facebook, Google, word of mouth, or other forms of advertising, you’ll be able to get tangible information about what marketing channels are giving you the best bang for buck.
3. Event Evaluation
Drilling down into individual customer experiences is a great way to determine if your systems are working as they should. Whether your business is largely automated or uses human interaction, an event evaluation survey allows you to pinpoint where things are going wrong.
A common name for this type of survey is CSAT (Customer Satisfaction), and although a full CSAT survey may look at overall satisfaction, it can also be targeted to events.
These are perfect to use after a sale is made. You’ll be able to ask whether they found the process easy in terms of searching, purchasing and payment. You can also find out if they were satisfied with delivery times/method, and of course their satisfaction with the product itself.
As you can see, you’ll be able to get a feel for what customers love and don’t love about your sales process, and address the areas that need to be improved.
4. Customer Needs
The fourth type of survey you may wish to consider is customer needs-based. By this, we mean asking directly what a customer would need in order to deal with you more, at all, or even recommend your business to friends.
This type of survey is more direct, and may often include more room for free text than others. You can target these surveys towards people who haven’t purchased with you for 12 months, or those who perhaps signed up to a newsletter but never made a purchase.
Here, you can find out why your leads aren’t converting to sales – an integral link in the sales chain. It could be that your website is too difficult, you don’t accept certain payment types, prices are too high, or anything else. Whatever the results, you’ll get a clear image of why you’re not converting leads, and you can then take action.
Taking Action on Survey Results
Finally, the most important part of any survey project is taking action. If you’re not willing to accept some of the negative feedback and use it to move forward, then you’ve wasted your time. Embrace the feedback you receive, good or bad, and take targeted action on the areas that need it most. In the end, you’ll be glad you did – and so will all of your new and returning customers.
What Consulting Tools are you Using?
Regardless of whether you’re working for yourself or running a business consultancy with support staff, you need the best tools. Fortunately, we live in a world where there are so many digital solutions out there – can you imagine doing everything you do on paper? The fact is, everything from finding to clients to running projects requires you have the best tools available. Without them, you’ll be trying to juggle too many things and end up mastering none.
Here are some of the key tools you need for your business consultancy.
Benchmarking is one of the first things you would find yourself doing for clients. This is the process where you essentially compare your client to their competitors. The factors you’ll look at will usually include:
- Productions costs
- Process cycle time
- Employee turnover
As part of this process, you may even benchmark your client against leaders in their industry, even if they’re not a direct competitor. This would be done to see what is needed to achieve absolute long-term success.
This isn’t necessarily a digital tool, but more an accepted process that all business consultants need to learn. To ensure your benchmarking really has an impact, you’ll need to develop an easy way to display and present the information to your clients.
An Affordable CRM Solution
A customer relationship management (CRM) system is essential to the modern business consultant. A CRM essentially helps manage your marketing and advertising activities. In fact, it can manage all your customers’ interactions with your business. It allows you to see everything in one place – leads, sales, where clients are in terms of their customer experience. Basically, it manages your relationship with customers.
When it comes to generating more leads, converting leads into active customers, and following up on client issues, a CRM is invaluable. Some of the more popular systems include Zoho, Salesforce, Pipedrive and HubSpot. Do some research, and discover which platform is best to manage your customers moving forward.
We touched on benchmarking before, and SWOT analysis is in the same realm. However, it is more focused on a business as a whole, whereas benchmarking can be done for individual processes.
SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. When meeting with clients, a great first step is to ask the management team to participate in a SWOT analysis. You’re asking them to take an honest look at where their strengths lie and what their weaknesses are. They can also identify opportunities, and potential threats to their business.
Not only does it get your clients thinking in a broad, strategic way, but it also gives you valuable insight into where they feel their business is at. Spark Chart offers easily customisable SWOT analysis survey tools to make this process a breeze.
Using a Balanced Scorecard
A balanced scorecard is a way to measure measure organisational performance, but not just your standard costs and income. The balanced scorecard gives you a comprehensive set of measures that can be tracked and monitored over time. This is particularly valuable for measuring results of the work you do to re-shape a client’s strategic direction.
The balanced scorecard may include metrics such as:
- Market share
- Staff engagement
- Customer satisfaction
You might also associate these metrics with another popular term these days, being ‘organisational health’. Understanding these metrics and how to measure them at different points in your journey with that client is essential for future strategic growth. As an added bonus, it gives you a great snapshot of the successes you’ve had, which can be used as a selling point for future clients.
Time Tracking Tools
As your consultancy business grows, you’ll spend a lot of time jumping between clients. An hour here working on survey results for one, an hour there meeting with another. It can become difficult to keep track of and can create a nightmare when it comes time to send out your bills.
Using a time tracking tool such as TimeCamp or something similar can be invaluable, especially if you’re working on an hourly rate. If you’re not, tools like this are still valuable for future business planning. For example, if you have two clients, each paying the same flat fee, but you spend 75% of your time on one of them, something is off kilter. This data may be able to guide you to bill differently in future, or target your marketing towards the type of clients that take up less of your time for the same income.
Employee Pulse Surveys
What better way to get a hands-on view of how a business is going than to ask the staff directly? The people on the ground, so to speak, often have a great deal of insight into how things can be improved. Their view may not always be heard, but employee pulse surveys present a chance to get their ideas through to management.
It’s not just in operational matters where staff can be valuable, though. Staff morale, or staff engagement is crucial to a company’s success. Teams of highly engaged individuals are known to be more productive and produce more profits. So, if something isn’t going well in the workforce, your client needs to know.
Project Management Software
Having a solid project management system in place can make life so much easier, especially if your consulting takes a very collaborative approach. Whether you just need to organise your own team, or even if you want to get your client involved in the process, project management tools can make the job much more efficient.
The key with software like this is to make data available to multiple people, assign tasks accordingly, and track progress. There are plenty of tools around, with popular ones being Asana, Trello, or Monday.com. Explore which one works best for you, and take control of your consultancy projects.
The job of a business consultant is so multi-faceted, you will find it hard to keep up with all of your tasks. However, with the best tools, you can make your life a whole lot easier. Some tools are essential to getting a snapshot of your client’s business, while others help to run yours.
Make sure everything you use makes your life easier, not more complicated.
Get your finger on the pulse!
As business leaders, having your finger on the pulse of everything around you is essential. But how often do we let our perception get in the way of seeing how things really are? It’s a common mistake for business owners and leaders to focus too heavily on the bottom line. If the profits are coming in, everything must be fine, right? Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case, which is why surveys are such a powerful business tool.
Most people have participated in surveys before, whether it be customer surveys or even as an employee. But from a business perspective, there’s a whole lot more to it than sending out a generic set of questions. Capturing information is one thing, but ensuring it’s the right information is a whole other kettle of fish.
Furthermore, how do you best take action on survey results? Let’s explore how you can get the most out of your surveys.
Be Clear on What You Hope to Achieve
Surveys are a great source of information; however, they only turn into a powerful business tool when their goals are well defined. Planning your surveys carefully is an integral part of the process, because you need to know what you’re looking for.
For example, if conducting a staff survey, do you just want to know if people are happy with their wages, or do you want to delve deeper into all aspects of their employment. For customer surveys, do you have specific feedback you’re looking for? Perhaps you only want to find out how happy your customers are with product quality. Or alternatively, your goal may be to capture information about the entire customer experience.
Whatever your goals, make sure they’re clearly defined and tailor your questions to extract the right information.
Increase Survey Participation
You could have the most well designed and structured survey project in the world, but without participants, you won’t get far. It can be a challenge to get people interested in surveys. Everyone is busy, with competing priorities, and surveys often don’t sit too high on their to-do list. So how do you increase survey participation?
Even for internal staff engagement surveys, it isn’t a widely accepted practice to make them compulsory. But you can come up with participation strategies no matter what your survey type. For employees, they need to understand the reason for the survey, and that real change will come from it. Ensuring anonymity is also important.
For customer surveys, they may need to be further incentivised. Think about how you can do this. It may be by offering a reward – if not for all participants, a chance to go into the draw to win a prize. If you have a customer loyalty program, perhaps offering ‘points’ for survey participation would work well. Think outside the box, and there’s always ways to increase participation.
Thoroughly Analyse the Results
Analysing the results can often be the hardest part of running a survey project. This is where expert guidance from a survey consulting service can really help. The main thing to remember is that a survey isn’t supposed to fix every little problem your business has. It’s about determining trends and major areas of improvement.
If your goals have been clearly defined, and your questions well-written, the process of analysing results is much easier. If you haven’t planned your survey well, this is where results can be open to interpretation, and that’s what a survey consultant will work to minimise.
Once you’ve got a clear snapshot of what participants are telling you, it’s time to develop genuine action plans.
Make Clear Action Plans
The most frustrating thing for survey participants is seeing no change as a result of their answers. This is magnified for employee engagement surveys because they’re living and breathing your company every day. People talk about surveys too, and the grapevine tends to spread its own common themes and concerns. As such, if no actions are put in place, it leads to further staff dissatisfaction.
With key areas of improvement identified, you must carefully develop actions plans to address them. Without this step, you may have wasted your time conducting a survey in the first place. The other important aspect to this is communication, and acting quickly. Don’t let months go past before sharing results with participants, and don’t wait too long to implement your action plans. A dynamic company works quickly to address areas of concern, and starts implementing change for the better.
Consider a Survey Consulting Service
Knowing what to ask is easier said than done. There are plenty of generic surveys out there, but if your goals are well defined, there’s a chance that basic surveys won’t do the trick. Each survey project has clearly defined goals, demographics, and policies for how responses will be interpreted and rated. That’s why it’s so important to get the questions right.
One of the best ways to get the most out of your survey projects is to seek help from a professional survey consultant. A consultant will expertly guide you through the process from start to finish. This includes goal setting, selecting target audiences, designing the survey itself, and perhaps most importantly, help you analyse the results.
Also, in larger organisations with many leaders, there can be differing opinions about what survey results really mean. By working with an external survey consultant, you can minimise this tension by having clearly defined processes for each step of the project.
Surveys get Teams and Leaders Focused
Using surveys can arm you with exactly the information you need to improve your business. From measuring staff engagement to conducting customer satisfaction surveys, the power is in your hands. But it’s crucial that you plan surveys carefully, and design them to obtain the information you really need. Furthermore, analysis of results and action is the only way you will maximise the benefits of surveys. Our survey consulting experts are always on hand to help you plan, design and analyse your next survey, and we’d love to hear from you!
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