There has never been a tougher time to be a small business owner. If you’re struggling, know that you’re not alone—fewer than 1 in 5 small business owners in our Small Business Index research of over 2,200 SMB workers say that business is good right now (compared to 56% in at the beginning of the year.) If you’re struggling with uncertainty, you’re not alone. But you do have an ally: your customers.
Most consumers are aware of the challenges facing SMBs, and many are willing to rally around the brands they love. Thousands of companies have raised thousands of dollars from customers and fans on GoFundMe and some local governments are offering special grants. People are in the mindset to support their communities where they can.
Part of the challenge small companies face right now is feeling distanced from customers mentally as well as physically. You need to stay top-of-mind for customers and you also need to be able to plan for the future of your business. Emailing customers surveys can help with both.
Many small businesses use our integration with Mailchimp to send and automate customer check-ins. We decided to partner with Mailchimp to create a survey template and email program designed to help small businesses check in on their customers quickly and easily. You can make any changes you like to ensure the end survey is perfect for your business. Here's how to use the Mailchimp Small Business Check-In template to get your customer feedback program started.
3 things you can use email customer satisfaction surveys to do
- Improve your product or service—if you’re experiencing slow business because of coronavirus lockdowns, it could be the perfect opportunity to devote yourself to work on internal improvements on your offerings. Customer check-in surveys give you clear insights into what’s working and what isn’t.
- Track your success over time—and plan for the future. In uncertain times, data is power. Understanding how customer attitudes are changing can help you plan for future business strategy and resourcing. You can create benchmarks to see if certain events (like a sale or promotion, or a new product offering) make a meaningful difference in overall product satisfaction. And that satisfaction is hugely important. After all, it’s up to 25 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than retain an existing one—and both offer the same amount of profit.
- Collect marketing fodder. As any English major can tell you, it’s always better to show than to tell. One way to do that in marketing is by letting your customers do the talking for you. According to our buyer trust report, 82% of people trust the voice of the customer over brand or product messaging. Whether that’s a quote from your survey or a statistic (like,“96% of our customers say they’d come back again.”), customer feedback can tell a powerful story.
Feeling nervous about sending customer surveys? Don’t.
Filling out a survey can feel like asking customers for a favor, which understandably makes some small business owners hesitant to ask for feedback. But you have to remember that people expect to be asked for feedback. It’s a standard part of the consumer experience.
In some recent research of over 1,100 consumers, SurveyMonkey + an email infrastructure company called SparkPost asked people to rank the types of emails that they prefer to get from brands (tips and tricks, new product announcements, customer stories, etc.). After deals and discounts, review requests were the second most “liked” type of email—beating out all those other categories. What feels like an ask to you could simply be an easy way to show support in the eyes of your customers.
But what about the coronavirus specifically? Some SurveyMonkey customers were worried they might be bothering customers at a sensitive time, and that their customers might be less receptive than usual. We sent a survey to 546 consumers to find out if those fears were founded. According to our data, people are actually more open to taking surveys now:
- 95% said they are equally or more likely to take surveys now than they were 3 weeks ago
- 85% said they are answering the same amount or more surveys than they were
- 95% of respondents said it was appropriate for companies they buy from to be sending surveys in the current environment
A quick note on transactional vs. relational customer satisfaction surveys
There are many different types of customer surveys, but two common ones are transactional (surveys automatically triggered after a specific interaction, like a customer service call or a purchase) and relational (general check-ins).
The customer satisfaction surveys that you will want to send through Mailchimp will be mostly relational surveys. That means that they’re better for tracking overall success and making strategic decisions than addressing issues with a specific customer over a specific problem.
Relational and transactional surveys have slightly different best practices, but ultimately both should focus on creating a positive survey experience for your customers.
How to access the Small Business Check-In survey through Mailchimp
If it’s your first time using Mailchimp and SurveyMonkey together, you’re going to want to integrate them. First, you’ll need to have an account on both platforms. Once you’ve done that, here’s how to link them.
- Click Integrations.> Click SurveyMonkey. > Click Connect
- Log in to SurveyMonkey to grant Mailchimp access to your SurveyMonkey account
- Authorize connection between accounts
After you complete this process, you can link your SurveyMonkey surveys in a new Mailchimp email campaign. To send a survey from your Mailchimp account, follow these steps:Click the "Create" drop-down and choose "Email".
- On the "Regular" tab, enter a campaign name and click "Begin"
- In the "Content" section of the Campaign Builder, click "Design Email"
- On the Template step, select the "Themes" tab and scroll down to the Integrations section
- Click the SurveyMonkey template you want to use
- Choose the Mailchimp Small Business Customer Check-In from the drop-down menu and click "Select"
3 quick tips for customizing your customer check-in surveys
Keep your surveys short and painless—meaning you do the work for them. If you decide to make changes to the survey template, keep them short: 5-10 questions max, and have no more than 1-2 open-ended questions.
Consider adding demographics questions. Demographics questions ask about things like age, industry, role, gender identity, etc. Including them in your survey will enable you to divide responses later to see if there are trends or differences among different groups. These questions add a little bit more work for respondents, but they can also add a ton of value to your insights.
Bring your brand into the survey experience. You can customize design in both Mailchimp and SurveyMonkey—so take advantage of that. Visually engaging emails drive higher response rates. Branding both surveys and emails also gives you the opportunity to promote your brand—and simply come across more polished.
How to time and send your customer check-in emails
First things first: you don’t have to send your email to every customer. And you shouldn’t. Prevent survey burnout by sending to only a small segment of your customers, and rotate them each time. That way, you’re getting a regular influx of feedback, without bothering your audience too often. Try not to send a customer check-in survey any more than once every few months. It’s easy to send emails to different “batches” in Mailchimp.
Here’s another, more tactical tip: according to our analysis of over 200,000 surveys, most people take surveys on weekdays during the mid-morning and mid-afternoon. That means that, if you’re scheduling a Mailchimp email to go out, sending surveys earlier in the week and earlier in the day are your best bets for higher response rates.
3 quick tips for analyzing your results
After sending your survey through Mailchimp, you’ll be able to see overall stats like number of surveys completed and response rates in Mailchimp’s dashboard. Sign back into SurveyMonkey to do more advanced analysis, like comparing different demographics and reading through open-ended questions.
Here are a few tips for how to get the most out of your analysis.
Use filters to pick up on trends. Filters enable you to slice up your results based on how people answered a certain question. For example, you can choose to view only the responses of people who rated your product highly or only women’s answers. You can use compare rules to examine differences between groups.
Create benchmarks to track success over time. SurveyMonkey’s benchmark feature enables you to compare your survey results with the average for that survey, but the only real apples-to-apples comparison you can make (and the most useful) is against your own previous results. Documenting how customer satisfaction changes over time will tell you how well you’re doing overall and which strategies make the biggest impact.
Segment your next email campaign by survey responses. According to Statista, 90% of Americans find personalized marketing messages appealing. The more tailored to your customers that your marketing can get, the better. But you only have so much flexibility as a small business. Segmenting your email marketing is a great way to deliver a more customized experience.
Mailchimp already enables you to segment by location, email activity, and more. You can even create automatic segments for people who answered your survey last time—a good way to quickly collect feedback from the customers that have something to say.
If you want to get even more detailed, segment your audience according to their responses. Want to send an email to only the people who love your product, or a discount to those who think it’s too expensive? Use filters in SurveyMonkey to find that group and then copy those email addresses to create a new campaign in Mailchimp.
According to McKinsey, organizations that measure the entire customer lifecycle see a 20% increase in customer satisfaction and up to a 15% increase in revenue. We can’t promise results like that, but we can say that, in general, customer feedback can help you plan better, improve your offering, focus your marketing efforts, and maybe even win some new support.
It’s a challenging time for many, many businesses right now. Here’s hoping that the data that you collect now can help you feel more confident that you’re making the right decisions and doing the best you can.