How to Use Surveys to Save Angry Customers


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Companies that use customer service surveys fall into three groups.

The first is the majority. These companies just report the numbers. They don’t really understand why they’re surveying their customers, they just know that higher numbers are good.

Unfortunately, you really haven’t learned anything if all you know is your Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) score is 85 percent one month and 86 percent the next. 

The second group uses their survey data to identify actionable insight. This group knows why CSAT moved from 85 percent to 86 percent. They also have a clear idea on how to get it to 87 percent next month.

The final group uses their survey to identify actionable insight, but they also use it to connect with individual customers.

This group knows that if 85 percent of customers were satisfied, then 15 percent were not. They want to find that 15 percent and help them before they take their business to a competitor.

This post explains how you can be a part of that third group too.

Why Yelp is (Almost) the Perfect Survey System

Take a moment to consider the beauty of Yelp.

Yes, it has some flaws that businesses don’t like. The reviews are public (scary!), some of the reviews are fake (true story), and most people leave negative reviews (patently false).

Yelp also has a simple design that can give you a lot of feedback.

First, it asks customers to give a single rating. There’s no convoluted mess of 36 different dimensions that will never be read or analyzed. Just one rating. One to five stars, with five being best.

Do you think people would write Yelp reviews if they had to answer 36 questions? Not a chance.

Next, Yelp asks customers to explain their rating in the comment section. The beauty of this is you can do some basic text analysis to understand why someone would give you a five star rating versus a three star rating.

Best of all, Yelp allows you to close the loop with your customers.

You can follow-up with the customer in private to (hopefully) resolve their issue. You can also respond to their review publicly so other customers know you’re listening.

In many ways, Yelp emulates the ultimate three question survey. In fact, the biggest problem with Yelp as I see it is most businesses don’t get enough reviews. 

Creating Your Own Better Yelp Model

You can easily create a survey that includes Yelp’s best features.

Unlike Yelp, you will likely get a lot more responses and the results will remain private unless you choose to release your data to the world.

Here’s a sample survey:

A survey like this can yield lots of useful data without burdening your customers with unnecessary questions. You just need to know how to analyze it. 

Fortunately, you can use this handy guide.

Notice the third question allows customers to opt-in for follow-up contact. This is the linchpin that can allow you to identify and follow-up with angry customers.

For example, you can set a rule that any customer who gives a rating of three or lower gets a follow-up contact. (Provided, of course, that the customer opted-in.) 

This follow-up can yield all sorts of great things:

  • You might fix the problem.
  • You might save the customer.
  • You might gain additional insight.

There’s also a bonus.

One data analyst at a large company confided in me that customers who received a follow-up contact generally gave top scores on their next survey. So, closing the loop with angry customers can be really, really good for your overall survey score.

Let’s not forget that our executives really do care about that score.


You can learn more about creating customer service surveys by watching this training video

You’ll need a subscription to view the entire program, but you can get a 10-day trial account here

Republished with author's permission from original post.


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