Customer Satisfaction Surveys: Best Practices for VARs and MSPs

Here's how to ensure your retail and restaurant customers get actionable results from their survey solutions.

customer survey

Many things can impact how successfully your client uses customer surveys, like the survey questions, format, and quality of responses. However, the way a VAR or MSP configures and implements the solution can also significantly impact the value the client receives.

Here are seven best practices to follow with the customer satisfaction surveys suite of services you offer retailers, restaurateurs, or other merchants:

1No garbage in, no garbage out

Insights from a customer satisfaction survey are only as valid as people’s answers. Inevitably, some surveys won’t contain legitimate responses, and some surveys could be incomplete. Give your client an easy method of cleaning up responses so the results are meaningful. For example, if only 25 people out of 100 respond to a question about poor service, your client could assume 75 percent of customers are pleased with service, which may not be valid. Configure reporting to reflect an accurate picture.

2No silos

Survey data alone can provide insights, but using that information with data from the point of sale (POS) system can be much more beneficial. For example, associating customer satisfaction survey responses to the day and time when the customer made a purchase, the promotion that attracted them, and the employees who helped them can all help business owners understand the circumstances that resulted in good – or bad – feedback.

3Don’t make surveys a surprise

Feedier points out that if customers are expecting a survey, they’re more likely to answer. Give your clients options through digital signage or an app to let customers know they’ll be invited to take a survey at the checkout or online. You and your client can also leverage this functionality to grow their reputation as a customer-centric brand.

4Use the survey as a tool to build relationships

Educate your clients about maximizing the ROI of their customer survey solution by using it as a relationship-building tool. Give examples of surveys that explain that the business cares about its customers and wants to let them know that their opinion matters.

5Find ways to deal with negative feedback

Customers should never feel they’re sending their comments into a void. And if customers never get a response, especially if the feedback deals with problems, they could assume the business doesn’t care. If the customer survey solution your client chooses can send alerts to managers based on specific triggers, help them configure it so no issue ever goes unaddressed. If the solution doesn’t give you that option, use your ingenuity to find ways to keep managers informed so they can respond promptly.

6Respect requests for anonymity

Sometimes, customers are willing to provide feedback via a customer satisfaction survey, but they want to remain anonymous. Although you may be able to link survey participation to a specific customer through payment data or other means, make sure the system is set up to respect their wishes.

7Always test

Before your client sends a survey to their customers, make sure they have a way to test it. Help them configure a test so they can send it to a few employees who can proofread it, make sure it’s easy to understand and that it positively reflects on their brand.

The Most Important Thing to Do: Take Action

Set expectations for your clients that once a survey is complete, they’ll need to devote at least an hour or two to reviewing results, pinpointing issues, and devising a plan to make changes. Customers who participated in the survey will expect to see changes based on their feedback. If nothing changes after a survey, customer loyalty could decline.

As a trusted business advisor, help your retail or restaurant client review customer satisfaction survey results and, if possible, suggest solutions that can help them improve their operations and the experiences they provide. Relying on your technical expertise and industry experience, your client can make changes that impact customer loyalty and business growth.