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Collecting customer verbatim accounts the smart way
Customer verbatim accounts are an invaluable source of information for your company. Giving your customers the opportunity to express themselves freely lets you establish a real dialogue and create a close-knit relationship, which many companies often struggle to do. By collecting detailed customer feedback, you can better understand certain results that show up in your customer satisfaction indicators. Read on to learn about four best practices for collecting customer verbatim accounts.
Reassure your customer...
When customers are unsatisfied, 96% don’t report the issue to the company (Understanding customers, Ruby Newell-Legner). Often, this is because they don’t have the time or don’t trust the business. In the end, there are many reasons why customers don’t speak up. However, negative verbatim accounts are often a source for optimisation, improvement, and innovation.
Too often, companies don’t listen to their customers when they decide to reach out. And when they do respond, the reply can take up to 48 or even 72 hours. While that might seem insignificant, it gives the customer the impression that his or her comment isn’t important and doesn’t require a quick solution. This lack of consideration can damage the fragile trust your customer has in your business.
To encourage your customers to send in verbatim accounts, you need to win their trust. Answering an open question takes more time than a close-ended question. The barrier to entry is therefore greater. You need to show your customer that their time is worthwhile and that they aren’t filling out a pointless survey. It’s simple. Whether they’re happy or not, customers who contact you need to know that their feedback will be sent on, taken into account, and answered.
To reassure your customers, it’s important to fully develop your entire customer feedback strategy. Try applying the four following recommendations to collect verbatim accounts from your customers.
1: Continuously listen to your customers
One of the reasons why customers don’t provide feedback is that it’s simply not practical to do so and often requested at the wrong time.
When you ask for reviews and verbatim accounts every six months, will the customer actually want to provide feedback at that exact moment? Will the responses be representative? Your customers’ satisfaction changes daily and with each new interaction with your company. As a result, you need to pay constant attention to your feedback. Customers’ behaviour is far from set in stone. Today’s unhappy clients can turn into tomorrow’s brand ambassadors. At Critizr, we believe customers should be able to speak their minds whenever they want and not just when a company wants them to.
2: Incorporate an open-ended question into short, simple but exciting surveys
Collecting customer verbatim accounts typically requires sending out satisfaction surveys through multiple customer feedback channels. One of the main challenges is figuring out how to remove any barriers preventing your customers from providing feedback. Customers won’t leave a complete review if your survey is too long, unclear, or difficult to fill out. By adding a free-response question to your surveys, you can show your customers you really want to know what they think.
Keep in mind that a customer who takes the time to write out a verbatim account is doing you a huge favour. In return, you need to make their job as easy as possible. At Critizr, we believe that a respondent shouldn’t have to fill out more than five questions per survey. Only ask a single open-ended question to obtain the longest and most accurate response possible.
The fewer questions you ask, the higher your response rate will be. Your surveys shouldn’t take more than five minutes to complete.
3: Ask for verbatim account in the right spot
To optimise your conversion rates, it’s important to carefully consider where the verbatim question occurs in the survey. Deciding whether to place it at the beginning, middle, or end depends on the context.
If your customer is providing spontaneous feedback, such as through a form on your website, it’s best to place the verbatim question at the start of your survey. Since your customer is coming to you directly, give him or her the opportunity to speak freely. Once the verbatim account has been submitted, follow up by asking the other questions on your survey. Close-ended questions will let you measure satisfaction with respect to a specific indicator.
On the other hand, if you’re asking your customer for feedback (such as after a purchase), reverse the order of your questions and place the verbatim question at the end. Use your other survey questions to recontextualise the purchasing experience.
4. Rely on a trusted third party
Why is it important to ask a trusted third party to collect customer feedback when you can do it internally? Consumers speak freely on social networks and customer feedback platforms because they know their opinions will be of use to other consumers. The information they provide is useful, transparent, and impartial. In short, customers provide their feedback because they trust these platforms more. Working with a third party to solicit feedback is like stamping the word “trusted” on every review and verbatim account you collect. This approach will make customers more apt to speak up and provide you with verbatim accounts.
There you have it...now you know everything about verbatim accounts! As you’ve seen, measuring CSAT and NPS isn’t enough. It’s important to collect textual data to fill out your knowledge of your customers. By following these four best practices, you can maximise your chances of collecting high-quality verbatim accounts. You can then conduct a semantic analysis of the information you’ve collected to identify your customers’ wants and needs.