I’ve taken a fair number of surveys in my life but despite taking time to offer my opinions about how a company is performing, only about 1% of those companies has ever shared how that information was used.

Here’s how you can stand out from the competition and get your customers attention: Listen to them and respond to their feedback!

Perhaps you heard about “voice of the customer” programs. But what happens to that voice once it’s been heard or captured? That’s what matters.

Voice of the Customer

Don’t waste your time or your customers’ time if you can’t act based on survey results. That imperative should drive every survey question you write. Each question must lead to actionable results because if it doesn’t, you should be hesitant to pose that question to a customer.

How do you listen/act and create a WOW customer experience? Consider these two points:

• Create a follow up plan: What kind of follow-up plan do you have with customers after they take the survey? How about after you review the results and consider what feedback you can use/implement? Consider telling customers how you plan to use the feedback they provided, what you plan on changing or tweaking based on their feedback. Be as specific if you can. Send the message out via email but also post it visibly on your website (that sends a good message to current and potential customers) and link to that message from your Twitter and other social media accounts.

• Send the right message: The message you send when you follow up and communicate the results is “you are important” and “your input is valued.” Sounds like a good message for your customers to be hearing, especially in a world of hyper-competition.

Here’s an example of great follow up. I stayed at the Omni Mandalay Hotel in Irving, TX, recently. It was a quick one-night stay, and I took the obligatory email survey. Although the survey was way too long, I was intrigued by the portion of the survey about the hotel restaurant. I had eaten dinner there and wanted to share my comments. I filled in my rating and my comments about the menu. Guess what? Within just a day or two of completing the survey, I heard from someone at the hotel about my menu comments. She wanted to thank me for my input and she said they were going to revamp their menu in January and she would be
talking to the chef about my comments.

I was blown away. It made me feel better about the five minutes I spent on their long survey. Now my hotel experience went from “fine,” to “really memorable.” I would stay at this hotel and recommend it to any friend after that. I am also going to Yelp about it (write an online review of the hotel).

So before you survey customers or launch a listening program, make sure you have a great way to follow up and thank them. Share with them how you are using the information they provided to improve their life, their experiences, and your business. That creates a great experience, and a great bond.