There are two components in getting customer feedback. One is about the mechanics of collecting feedback and the second is about motivating people to give you feedback. The motivational aspect is much more important that the methods of collection but many companies do not pay enough attention to it.
Customers will give you feedback if they perceive that the information they provide will ultimately be helpful to them. If you don’t have a relationship with a customer or you only have a poor relationship they are very unlikely to give you any feedback. The main exception is when they believe you have really messed up and are not giving them the product/service that they expected.
The RET factor is a simple indicator that can help assess the likelihood of a good or bad response rate. RET stands for Relationship, Expertise and Trust. The higher the RET factor rating the better the feedback. As a quick indicator simply ask yourself about how your customers feel about each of the RET factors (Relationship, Expertise & Trust) in dealing with your organisation. It will give you an indicator about what level of results to expect.
RET factor MAX
The more powerful way to use the RET factor, which will give much greater accuracy, is to do an initial customer survey focused on a few questions which will help determine a specific RET factor rating. Do this before asking customers about anything else because you will have the opportunity to spot obvious things that you can improve quickly. This will help improve response rates in your next survey.
I have one client with a very high RET factor rating who gets 80% return whenever they ask customers for feedback. Others with a much lower RET rating are lucky to get a 5% respond rate.
Sharing results and actions is vital
Finally you must tell customers upfront that you will share survey results and actions with them. Organisations that don’t do this will get declining levels of feedback from customers. One reason that companies don’t share results is that they do not have enough skills in interpreting the results and are therefore reluctant to make commitments to customers. Not exactly a good platform to build a high RET factor on.
One way of improving the quality of the post survey analysis is to put much more focus on the questions to actually ask. Think carefully about what you can and are likely to do based on answers to a question before including the question in a survey. There are a number of techniques and “standard” questions which will be able to help but sometimes it’s best to get external help to pull it all together and interpret the findings.