Customer surveys have evolved quite a bit over the years. Thinking back to my days as an owner of a Family Entertainment Center, the ole paper-and-pen was our usual method!
Our goal was to gather the information that would help us improve our processes and customer experiences. We knew that to truly understand where we stood as a business, we needed to ask our customers directly.
And while we had the right intentions, if I could go back in time, there are 4 things I would change to improve the way that I surveyed customers at my FEC.
4 Ways to Improve Your Customer Surveys
1. Go Digital
Let’s start by ditching the pen-and-paper method. It’s time to go digital!
Why? We learned something very important from our experience of having customer surveys on a piece of paper at the front desk: It’s intimidating. And it did not provide us with the type of feedback that would’ve helped us to adapt.
Imagine yourself in the same scenario. You just wrapped up at an FEC and as you’re checking out, you’re asked to fill out a survey. Let’s say you did have some feedback that you wanted to share, but the person you want to provide feedback on is the one that handed you the survey! You’d likely feel a little uncomfortable.
And that’s exactly what we discovered. Folks felt uncomfortable, intimidated, and even awkward. They were much less likely to share their honest feedback, but honest feedback is what we needed, and what you need, to grow.
How to Improve:
Remove the awkwardness by going digital.
Move your customer survey to a platform like SurveyMonkey or SurveyGizmo. Not only will these platforms allow you to survey smarter, but you’ll also have the ability to ask for feedback in a variety of ways. You might choose to present your customer with an iPad or tablet, and allow them to fill it out at their leisure while the party is winding down. Or, you might skip the in-person request altogether and send your customer survey via email after they’ve left. Either way, it’s critical to keep your customer in mind.
Something else to consider: the questions you’re asking. While asking a customer to rate their experience from 1-10 is great, asking open-ended questions with space for them to share their feelings in their own words is what will ultimately help you to gather authentic feedback.
2. Incentivize Your Ask
Incentives are a proven way to increase response rates to surveys. People love gift cards, coupons, or any sort of gift. Give your customer a little nudge, and you’ll be much more likely to get a response!
For example, if you have an arcade, you might offer a few tokens in exchange for their feedback. Or, if your facility offers open-play, you might consider an additional hour of open play for every hour they purchase.
If you like surprises, you might offer customers a gift, redeemable the next time they visit. This will get them back through your doors, and also gives you the flexibility to alter your gift as needed. We highly recommend items that are branded with your logo to stay top-of-mind. (Think a branded cell phone holder for the car, an insulated travel coffee mug, or something a busy parent might keep around!).
The options are up to your imagination and your budget!
3. Update Your Customer Surveys
Surveying your customers is great, and incentivizing them to take your surveys is a step in the right direction, but now it’s time to focus on what matters: the survey itself.
We learned the hard way that there are helpful questions and unhelpful questions. And by that I mean: your questions will either help you to make changes to improve your business, or they will do absolutely nothing but ask a question for the sake of asking.
Unhelpful Question - Example #1:
- How amazing was our food? (AWESOME, FANTASTIC, GREAT, GOOD)
Let’s start with the above survey question. It’s an example of what’s called a leading question. What if the food was terrible? What if they didn’t even try the food? Or, what if they thought the food was OK, but they were unhappy about the quality and price of the food?
Allow your customers to elaborate on their responses. Asking open-ended questions will allow your customers to share their true feedback.
Example of a helpful survey question:
- If applicable, please share your thoughts on any food items that you tried at our facility. How did you feel about the taste, quality, and price?
You might also consider breaking up the question into multiple questions like taste, quality, and price on a scale of 1-10, then following each scale rating with an open comment box to share more.
Unhelpful Question - Example #2:
- What are the 14 things we could do better?
What’s wrong with this survey question? Well, it’s far too broad!
Avoid asking questions that would cause customers to feel overwhelmed. Be sure that the questions you ask are deliberate and are targeted toward your specific goals.
Example of a helpful survey question:
- Did you try our new immersive dodgeball court? If so, what was your favorite game?
Remember, be specific!
Unhelpful Question - Example #3:
- What attractions do you love the most? (Lasertag, bowling, arcade, etc.)
While this question might give you some insight into what attractions your customer enjoyed, there are two issues with asking the question this way. The first is, again, it’s too broad. It doesn’t allow for an opportunity for the customer to elaborate.
The second issue is that it doesn’t consider your entire facility. Say your facility is large enough to host 5, or even 10 attractions. Perhaps your customers didn’t have an opportunity to participate in all of them. If that’s the case, they are only providing feedback on what they did experience, giving you uneven results.
If your goal is to increase the amount of time a customer spends in your facility or to encourage customers to take part in all (or more) of your attractions, ask a question that will provide insights on how to motivate your customers.
Example of a helpful survey question:
- Did you know that we offer an ultimate all-inclusive package that includes all of our attractions? (Yes/no)
- What would motivate you to purchase the ultimate all-inclusive package?
One of the toughest parts of this business is encouraging the customer to choose an up-sell or purchase tickets to additional attractions. Asking questions like those above will help you figure out if customers are aware of your attraction offerings and what will motivate them to purchase.
4. Implement Your Findings & Follow-Up
The final step to improving your customer survey experience is to also follow up with your customers and let them know that you take them seriously. Show your guests that improvement is a top priority for you.
Track Your Customer Surveys
If everything is on pen and paper, it will make it nearly impossible to track any meaningful data. There’s also a high possibility that you’ll lose the paper before you even get a chance to read it!
Moving your customer surveys to a digital platform will allow you to properly track your customer surveys. With a digital platform, you can go back months, or years. You can even do A/B testing on survey questions to see which ones provide the best or most helpful feedback.
Implement Your Findings & Follow-Up
Now that you’ve received helpful feedback that helps you to understand your customers better, it’s time to implement your findings.
Allow your digital customer survey platform to help you. Let’s say a customer rates their experience poorly. Program your survey to respond with a final question like:
- We see that we have missed the mark in providing an amazing experience for you. We would love the opportunity to talk with you and learn how we can improve so that the next time you join us we can assure you it is an amazing experience. Can you please provide us with your email address so we can have our owner/manager reach out to you?
Keep in mind that if you do choose to ask the above question, it is critical that you follow up with the customer on time to address their issues. It’s also pivotal that you implement the change your customer is requesting so that the next time they visit, they don’t have the same experience again.
It’s important to take customer feedback seriously and to make changes. Say your survey results are very clear: the quality of your food is too low and the price is too high. It’s time to make a change!
Once you’ve made the change, let your customers know. Send an email to your customers announcing your new and improved food item! Let them know it’s their incredible feedback that matters and that you take it seriously.
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