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Why Real-time Conversations Work

Online surveys are seemingly great for businesses as they're easy to set up and quick to distribute, but the reality is that they do not work in getting valuable feedback from your customers.

Many know that feedback is the breakfast of champions, but if you're using the wrong method, you are getting minimal or wrong results. Online surveys provide limited information because:Why Real-time Conversations Work

  1. Completion by the vocal minority

    Online surveys have a completion rate varying from 5%-15% (CustomerThink) and when there's such a low completion score you can be sure this group are either 'wow-ed' and delighted customers or, more likely, very annoyed and have an axe to grind.

    Low completion rates skew results because it's the vocal minority responding and it omits what the other 85-95% honestly think. This 85-95% is what businesses need to know - it's what the majority of the market think of your business that highlights where you stand in the marketplace and how to improve.

  2. The 'what' not 'why' answers

    While you may be able to craft decent questions, the online survey format leaves little room for customers to provide more than basic responses. Online surveys cannot probe deeper into why a customer has answered in such a way. A space for 'why' may be documented on the survey, but without great incentive to answer it, it will likely be left blank. Add this to the fact the online methodology has become very frustrating to most people, especially due to its often disruptive delivery to the user, the chances of a customer being willing to provide further feedback are slim. Some customers may not be able to complete or articulate their 'why' answers on their own without help or encouragement.

How do you reach 100% customer loyalty?

Ideally, a face-to-face honest exchange is best although given the complicated logistics of this, the best value feedback comes from real-time, unprompted conversations with customers. The most insightful feedback comes from an independent source picking up the phone and contacting customers, with carefully crafted questions to capture the essence of the information in the most efficient manner. 

Optimising all processes toward the customer's experience is practised continuously by number one companies and is the reason for their leading market positions. Lead the markets in your respective industry by understanding that inspection over expectation will drive business better and gain true client loyalty.

The value of real-time conversations

Real-time conversations uncover the 'why' behind clients' feelings about their experiences and they allow room for exploration by the interviewer, uncovering critical information about your business.

During phone interviews, ensure to ask open-ended questions as it's important to give the clients space to speak and tell you what is most important to them. A live conversation allows for that personal touch and for intelligent follow-up questions that captures essential information that would never be uncovered by a faceless online survey.

Furthermore, phone discussions are non-confrontational. Reassure clients that the contents of the call are confidential and there will be no repercussions for discussing their true opinions.

Clients who give an 8 or a 9/10 appreciation score are able and willing to give you the direct information as to how you can earn a 10. If a client gives a 10/10 appreciation score, it is possible to find out how that happened if you have the right methodologies in place. This information gives you the tools to replicate the situation for every single client and build your client base's loyalty. The clients will always tell you exactly what they want, and how they feel. If you've been given a 10/10 score, it hasn't occurred by accident.

A client that gives you a 10/10 score already appreciates the service you have provided to them, your good relationship with them makes it easy to give you vital information, you only have to ask for it. Their answers and behaviour as appreciative clients also demonstrates the immense advantages for seeking those 10/10 scores, rather than aiming for the middle and only making them 'satisfied'. Research has continually proven that most clients that were 'satisfied' with their experience often defect to other companies for a better deal.

A 10/10 appreciation score by the client demonstrates that they don’t shop for the price; they shop for the experience.

Phone interviews enable you to determine exactly what made a 10/10 experience, and by following up with the clients immediately - when the client experience is still fresh - you can quickly discover where the differences are between the 10/10 and 0/10 scores.

The nuances between how the client was treated, how your employees handle the situation and their client interactions, and the follow up by the company, are all elements that can dramatically change how these scores are given.

This level of important information can only come from real-time conversations, well-crafted questions and honest discussions. Online surveys limit all responses to the 'what', always missing the 'how' or 'why'. Online surveys may be convenient for the business, but they offer almost no real value. The information they offer is of low quality and from a very minimal part of your market.

To achieve real value and confidence in your ability to determine where your business sits in the market, real-time, unprompted phone conversations is key.

Author Credits

Darrell Hardidge is an international author, speaker and innovator of the Client Appreciation Index. Darrell shares the knowledge and best practices of No.1 companies in his book, The Client Revolution, and through his CX strategy company SAGUITY. For more information, visit his website at www.saguity.com.
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