One frustrating aspect of being an online retailer is that you don’t often talk directly to your customers. In fact, most of the customer feedback comes from phone orders, online chat, problems, and returned orders.
It’s difficult to gauge customer satisfaction without feedback. Many merchants use remarketing to engage shoppers who abandon their shopping carts. The merchants may offer a promotion to complete the purchase, and then send a form asking shoppers why they abandoned. This usually leads to a few orders and limited feedback. Even if you get feedback, it’s only from the front of the shopping experience, before an order arrives.
Merchants should be much more aggressive in surveying customers about their entire experience after they receive their orders. This is the time when customers are most likely to respond. Whether they are thrilled with their purchase or upset, the likelihood of a response is best within 2 to 5 days of the receipt of the order. As a consumer, I’m most likely to respond to surveys that are polite requests to tell a merchant about my recent shopping experience.
Set up a process to send a short survey to customers 3 days after their orders were due to be delivered. You may decide that is too much if your customers purchase frequently. If so, just survey new customers.
Here are 7 questions I would ask all customers. You can do this with open-ended questions, with scales, with checkboxes, or whatever suits the products you sell. Using a survey tool like SurveyMonkey or Constant Contact is relatively inexpensive — $15 to $50 per month depending on volume, and easy to set up.
1. Why Did You Buy from our Store?
With this question you are trying to gauge the overall buying motivation. The question lends itself well to “choose all that apply” or some type of scale, such as “10” for the best and “1” for the worst. Here are some of the variables you can include.
- You had the specific item I was looking for in stock.
- You had a product that met my needs I did not find elsewhere.
- Free shipping.
- Promotional coupon.
- Product information.
- I am a loyal customer.
- You came up first in my search.
- Referral from friend.
- Product reviews.
2. How Did You Find our Store?
Your goal here is to identify the primary referral source. This could be an open-ended question or you could use a checkbox for a “single choice” or “choose all that apply.” Here are some possible referral sources.
- Google search.
- Yahoo! search.
- Bing search.
- Facebook — ad or post.
- Twitter — tweet or ad.
- Comparison-shopping engine.
- Pinterest board.
- Blog post.
- Loyal customer.
- Other online ad.
- Don’t remember.
3. Are You Satisfied with the Products in your Order?
This question could include a scale to rate your overall satisfaction or ask for more details.
- Products matching the description on our website.
- Other options like sizing and color.
Leave a line for open-ended feedback. This is especially important if you sell many types of products.
4. Did the Overall Customer Experience Meet your Expectations?
This is a tough question. But it could be the most important. The goal is to gauge the end-to-end experience from the time the customer found your online store to the use of the product. Here are some key questions.
- Once at our store, did you easily find your products?
- Was our store easy to navigate?
- Did you find all the items you were looking for?
- Was the checkout process fast and efficient?
- If you corresponded with a customer service or online-chat representative, did he answer your questions?
- Was the product delivered on time?
- Did we communicate the order status accurately and in a timely manner?
- If you could improve one thing in our online store, what would it be?
5. What Other Items Would You Consider Purchasing in our Store?
This starts to get personal, so tread lightly. You are really just asking if they liked your store enough to return and which products might motivate them to do so. This lends itself to a simple open-ended question. Here are some things you may wish to include.
- Similar items to the ones you purchased.
- Complementary items.
- More sizes, colors, options of the same type of products.
- More brands to choose from.
6. What Is your Preferred Method of Connecting with Us?
You can inquire about frequency, too. Be sure to include links in your survey for recipients to change their email preferences and follow you on the various social media platforms.
7. Would You Refer Us to a Friend?
If the answer is yes, offer a promotional coupon for both the recipient and her friend. Take advantage of the situation to expand your customer base.
These seven questions are a lot in a short survey. You may want to split into smaller chunks and conduct A/B testing to identify the questions that resonate and that people will answer. Or, you may wish to ask a few questions on a survey link on the order confirmation page — such as questions 1 and 2, above — and the rest in the follow-up survey.
If you ask these types of questions, you will have a better understanding of what customers like about your company. You’ll also identify areas for improvement.