Last week, I was at one of Dubai’s fancy restaurants for dinner and to be honest, I was rather sceptical about the place. But as soon as I walked in, that doubt was replaced with a “wow”. Things seemed to keep getting better from there on – be it in terms of ambience, service, quality of food! I was impressed with this restaurant and which clearly had a ton of class associated with it. Until…
We asked for the cheque.
The problem wasn’t with the cheque but with the long paper feedback form that I was asked to fill then.
This was really shocking to me because here I am, at a really classy restaurant in a city like Dubai and the culmination of a rather impressive dining experience is with a paper feedback form? It was as disappointing as it was shocking. In this day and age, where brands are using AI and Machine Learning to tailor experiences at one end of the spectrum, there still are businesses that are caught in the past. A couple of things struck me then:
1. Given that the overall experience at the restaurant was quite effortless, why did they want the customers to put in the effort to fill in an entire paper form?
2. Secondly, how were they ever going to glean and extract insights about their customers, or learn something new about their business, from paper feedback forms? Wouldn’t they have to dedicate a separate team to go through piles of feedback forms that shoots up time, money and effort?
3. Since this restaurant operates at several outlets, how could they compare the aspects of their business that are doing great, not so great, very poor and needs improving amongst the various locations and then further drill down to analyse how to improve the ratings from customers on these aspects.
You might be wondering if this really that important? Isn’t it enough if the food, the service, and the experience were great?
I think we’d all agree that customer experience is perhaps the biggest differentiator for brands today. And in order to assess, measure and track the customer experience you deliver, you need an efficient customer feedback management system. And paper surveys simply won’t do.
Also, if you take a look at the surge in competition over the past couple of years, I think it’s fair to say that there are, at any point, at least a dozen other brands trying to woo your customers. And if you slip up, your customers wouldn’t mind taking their business elsewhere.
So, how do you ensure that you don’t slip up? How can your business serve customers proactively and ensure that every piece of customer data captured is put to use effectively?
Welcome to the world of customer feedback management through digital surveys that includes tablet, smartphone, Email, Website, and other Pop-up surveys. These digital surveys represent a more convenient means to capture the Voice of Customer and minimize the time (and effort) put in by the customer in giving his or her feedback. The same restaurant, for instance, could have opted for a tablet or smartphone survey or sent me an SMS link or Email link that I could fill up at my convenience.
So, what are the benefits of choosing digital surveys over paper feedback forms?
- Track the end-to-end holistic customer experience.
Let’s take my own experience, for instance. It isn’t just about the food, or service or ambience. Customer experience engulfs everything right from the moment you enter till the very moment you exit. And paper feedback isn’t dynamic enough to track and measure experiences holistically. For instance, you can’t set up different question flows within the same survey in paper feedback forms.
- Address queries in real-time
Customers don’t just want to be heard but they also want to know how their feedback is useful to your brand. And digital surveys give you that opportunity to make feedback actionable, in the long run as well as instantly. Set up real-time alerts in digital surveys that let you address customer complaints in real time – even before the customer walks out. This way, you get to repair and rebuild fraught customer relationships.
- Doesn’t take a toll on the customer
Digital surveys don’t look as daunting as paper feedback forms. They can be completed in a couple of minutes and can be answered at leisure (especially the case with Email and SMS surveys). When this is the case, customers also tend to provide accurate feedback and not fill up the forms carelessly just for the sake of it.
- Analyze data with just a few clicks
One of the biggest advantages of digital surveys is that you can drill down into customer feedback data at the click of a few buttons. Wasting time, effort and money on scanning through piles of paper stacks shouldn’t be an option anymore. Slice and dice data the way you want it, compare insights across your different outlets, find out the most liked/disliked aspect of your brand and also track powerful metrics like the Net Promoter Score, Customer Effort Score and more.
This incident prompted me to think of customer experience from an entirely different perspective. Despite all the glory that this revolution has achieved so far, it is still in its nascent stages. Even well-meaning brands sometimes take to obsolete feedback mechanisms unaware of its consequences – Be it in haste or out of ignorance, you simply cannot expect customers to fill out lengthy paper-based questionnaires in the name of feedback collection anymore; And definitely not at a high-end restaurant where everything else is quite world-class!
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