It’s Amazing What Comes Up in a Conversation About Customers

 

I was at a Winter Park Bloggers & Social Media Meetup and while waiting for the program to begin was chatting with several other members.  Being business owners we were discussing customer service issues and how we handled them.  One of the ideas brought up was Daniel Kahneman and his Peak-end rule.

Being unfamiliar with his work I was quite interested in hearing more.  I’m always eager to learn more that will better equip me to better serve my customers.  The condensed version of this concept, when applied to customer interactions, is that customers judge their experience on how they felt at its peak and at its end.

At the time we were discussing customer surveys and how to make them more effective.  We were particularly interested with the timing of surveys.  When was the best time to send them?  And what did we need to cover with our surveys?  And, could surveys have a negative impact on our customers experience?

We’ve all had this happen.  We have a perfectly fine customer experience.  Just when you think your experience is over, you discover it’s not.  You receive a survey.  And it’s not just a one or two question survey.  It’s the Godzilla of surveys.  Literally pages of questions that would take  more than 1 – 2 minutes to complete.  That’s becomes the New End for your customer experience.

 

Think About the Last Interaction Your Customer Experiences

 

What happens in a typical transaction with your business?  No matter what your business does, think about the last interaction your customer experiences.  This can happen with any type of business.

For example, a restaurant owner may thank his guests as they walk out the door.  An automotive repair center may bring the customer’s car to the front of the store for the customer to inspect before they drive away.  An online retailer’s customer’s end may be when they open the box with their merchandise.  

These are all great experiences for the customers.  In each case, these final moments appear to be the end of the customer’s experience, but sometimes there’s more.

 

What Happens When the Survey Arrives?

 

Sometimes the car dealership will send a survey to the customer.  Or, the online retailer asks for a review of the product.  Those surveys become the New End to those customer interactions, and sometimes that New End can taint the experience.

I love a certain hotel that I’ve stayed at several times. The hotel is clean, the rooms are nice, the restaurants are great, and the staff is always friendly and helpful.  I couldn’t ask for more.  Two days after my first stay I received a survey.  I was happy to fill it out.  What I thought would be a short survey, quickly showed that it would take a lot of my time.  I didn’t complete the survey.  And I have never completed their survey.

This story emphasizes that when I walked out of the doors of that hotel, that was not the end.  The New End appeared 48 hours later, and it wasn’t a positive end.

 

What if That Survey Would Have Been One Short Question?

 

It would have been better.  Even if the survey had been three short questions.  How would I have felt about it?   With the advances made in data gathering, why didn’t their system recognize me as a repeat guest and send me a shorter survey.  

They knew I didn’t fill out their first survey.  Why not send a survey with just two or three questions, to ensure that I would actually share my feelings with them.  Instead of how I reacted to their survey after my first visit?

 

Make Sure That Your Survey Gets a Response

 

Make sure that the last thing your customer experiences is something positive.  Don’t make your New End a long, multi-page survey that causes survey fatigue and anxiety.  Something they won’t complete.  Don’t do that.  If you send a survey, make it brief. 

Rather than sending a survey, it would be much better to send a thank you note expressing your appreciation for their business.  That reminds your customer about their positive experience with you.  Whatever positive response that you do, that New End becomes what I refer to as the True End.

It’s your customer’s final experience of your interaction that also sets the tone for future business.  Do something positive and proactive and reap the rewards.

 

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