An often-cited statistic is that 80% of CEOs believe they deliver a superior customer experience, yet only 8% of their customers agree. With an equally-alarming ACSI score of 77, it’s fair to wonder: are you sure you know what’s going on with your CX—is it possible you’re missing something?
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It’s practically a given that every company will issue a customer satisfaction survey, but the old way of doing things isn’t working anymore. Customers are fed up with long surveys full of questions that don’t apply to them, and their responses to these surveys end up as useless numbers that don’t represent the actual customer experience. I was recently browsing the website of a specialty foods company known for their smoked meat and cheese gift baskets, and I was subjected to a terrible survey. They were using tired and broken techniques that couldn’t capture how I actually felt. Here are 3 Big Mistakes they made:

  1. They asked irrelevant questions that assumed too much about my experience.
  2. They used deceiving language to describe the survey.
  3. They ignored the chance to listen to what I actually thought.

Example #1 – They didn’t ask why I came to the site until question 21:

This should have been the first question. I came to the site to track an order, but they still asked me 6 irrelevant questions about the products they assumed I was looking for. I would have been much more engaged by a shorter survey.

Example #2 – They promised the survey would be brief. In fact, there were 30 “required” questions:

Example #3 – Only one question asked how I actually felt:

By the end of the survey, I was fed up. I had answered a dozen questions that didn’t apply to me, but here’s what really hurts: the question that asked how I actually felt was the only question I wasn’t required to answer—and after answering 30 others, I didn’t feel compelled to.

Bottom line, Gift Basket Company: You are doing things the old way. You are producing faulty data that might make someone in the boardroom feel good, but it sure as heck doesn’t improve the customer experience.

Here’s the better way:

  1. Design surveys that automatically skip irrelevant questions.
  2. Be honest and respect your customers’ time.
  3. Encourage customers to respond to open-ended questions; then, analyze what they’ve written to gain insights.

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