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Asking for Customer Feedback Improves Customer Retention. Period!

Asking for Customer Feedback Improves Customer Retention. Period!

Screen Shot 2014-04-11 at 11.01.31 AMSending feedback surveys to customers helps your organization thrive, says a new study–even if customers aren’t actually completing them. Really!

Research conducted by Rice University Professor Dr. Paul Dholakia and Dr. Vicki Morwitz and published in the Harvard Business Review found that the act of just asking for customer feedback–in and of itself–is enough to help keep customers satisfied and coming back for more. (Tweet this.)

And since it’s a lot more expensive to acquire new customers than it is to keep existing ones, you might want to include feedback surveys among your customer retention strategies.

Here’s how the study worked: One group of customers got an opinion survey and another group did not. A year later, twice as many customers who received a survey stayed loyal to the company. (Tweet this.)

Want to learn more about ways to get close to your customers? Get our free eGuide, “6 Keys to Customer Satisfaction, Loyalty & Love.”
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The study also uncovered a few interesting psychological effects of customer surveys:

1. Asking for feedback keeps happy customers happy

Consumers, so the study says, are always looking for more reasons to appreciate products or services they already like. A customer satisfaction survey can serve as a tool to help them express this appreciation and interact with the company. The result is a happy and loyal customer. What more could you want?

2. Surveys can boost awareness of your products and services

Product and service surveys aren’t just for data collection and feedback–they also help companies spread awareness and market new products, services, and features. You want to be careful not to use surveys to market or sell products, but asking a question like, “Have you used the online chat tool in our shopping cart?” can indirectly spread the word about a core service.

3. Surveys can create opinions out of nothing

Another rationale unearthed by this study is that customers who don’t have an opinion on something (like whether or not they liked your service) will form an opinion (and possibly a positive opinion) by simply being asked for feedback. This is one of the greatest customer retention strategies of all!

So the obvious question now is, How does your business measure customer satisfaction?

We asked 300 small business owners and managers this very question, and more than 83% who consider themselves “successful” regularly pulse customers for feedback. Yet only 65% of companies that don’t ask for feedback consider themselves successful.

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What’s your customer retention strategy? Do you send out customer feedback surveys regularly or use customer experience management software? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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