Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from Retail Customer Experience, a daily news portal devoted to helping retailers differentiate the shopping experience.
It's important to ask questions. But it's also easy to ask questions that lead the witness. "Have we met your expectations?" is a lame question to ask a customer. What can you learn from it if they say yes? What if they say no? Is that information really actionable?
You can easily ask more actionable questions to get the most out of those rare moments when you actually have the chance to ask them. Here are a few examples:
1. Extract more specific feedback from compliments.
Ask: "What specific items or actions pleased you the most?"
I once received the mind-blowing answer of, "You do a great job communicating the state of the big picture." The "big picture" was totally not the focus of the initiative or even what I thought worked. The real focus was about the individual touchpoints and microinteractions, but I'm thankful I received this response because it enlightened me in ways I was able to build on and expand for future projects.
2. Zero in on the "Meh" parts of the experience.
Ask: "What would you like to see us add to our inventory or layout?"
Asking, "What would make you satisfied?" leads to a lot of "Um" and "I'm really not sure" replies. "What should we add" encourages customers to think more about what's missing.
3. Conquer the frustrating parts of the experience.
Ask: "How could we make it easier?"
Remove the limitations your customer has. If we lift those restrictions on our thinking, we can better visualize how things could be, which is liberating and empowering.
4. Invite credit for good service where credit is due.
Ask: "Who serves you best here?"
If there is an employee who stands out for helping your customers stay loyal, this is the perfect opportunity to find out. Investigate what your star offers to customers and replicate as much as you can.
5. Ask satisfied and unsatisfied customers questions about the process and experience.
Ask: "What can we do to improve the checkout process?"
Questions like this will lead to a much more valuable insight than lame questions like, "What can we do to improve?"
6. Finally, ask this one consistently throughout the customer journey.
"Have we been able to provide everything you need?"
Make sure everyone, including your customers and employees, are comfortable telling you when things are not perfect. It gives you the opportunity to apologize, to promise to make corrections, or at least to say, "Thank you for telling me" in a more timely fashion.
Which of the six customer feedback questions mentioned in the article do you think is most effective at driving actionable responses?