Using customer surveys to gauge satisfaction
By Seraine Page
How many times have you groaned after receiving a customer survey?
Chances are good you probably did.
It’s likely even less appealing to send one on your pool company’s behalf.
Don’t let it be, says Travis Leonard, CEO of A&G Concrete Pools, Inc., in Fort Pierce, Florida.
While slightly time consuming, it’s a game changer for business owners, especially in the pool industry where bad reputations travel fast.
“Most people don’t want to take the time or energy to praise you,” Leonard says. “They got a pool; that’s what they paid you to do. If you build a pool correctly, and the homeowner is happy, they tell one or two people. And with social media, when someone is unhappy, they can let thousands of people know.”
By incorporating regular customer service surveys, it can increase the overall customer base and revenues as well.
Start off on a good foot
Jon Krawczyk, owner of Superior Pools of Southwest Florida, Inc., believes in ensuring the customer is happy from the get-go. He’s available 24/7 to address issues and put out fires before they spread.
He acknowledges his pool company may not be the cheapest around, but he says it provides top-notch customer service.
“I wouldn’t be in business without customers,” Krawczyk says. “The main goal is to make that customer happy. Take care of the issue and worry about the money later. It’s not rocket science…I want to treat everyone like I want to be treated.”
As a result of treating customers right throughout the whole process, Krawczyk sees a positive correlation in customer surveys on GuildQuality, a customer surveying software. After 353 ratings, he’s got a five-star rating.
From feedback, he’s learned when crews haven’t cleaned up properly or when subcontractors are rude. In turn, making improvements brings in more referrals, which has lead to more revenue for his company.
“We’re not perfect, but we try to be,” he says.
Being a busy business owner, Krawczyk likes that the surveys posted through GuildQuality automatically link to his Facebook and Twitter pages, further expanding the reach of positive reviews.
But if you can’t handle honesty, GuildQuality’s platform can seem a little harsh.
“This is free game for the customers to write what they want,” he says.
Offer incentives for surveys
While the feedback may not always be easy to take, it’s still important for business owners looking to improve.
“Do what you say you’re going to do,” Leonard says. “If there’s a problem, fix it. It’s constant feedback whether it be positive or negative. Constructive criticism hurts, but it makes you better.”
When building 300-plus pools a year, Leonard says there’s always going to be someone who isn’t happy. A survey offers an in-depth look at a customer’s beliefs and how he or she felt about their interaction with a company, both good and bad.
Surveys don’t have to be anything fancy, either.
SurveyMonkey is free, and it’s the only program Leonard uses. Questions are as simple as, “How was your experience picking out colors?” to more personal ones like, “Did your salesperson respond to calls promptly?”
Offering incentives can improve survey response rates as well. When the company started sending out surveys 25 years ago, 20 percent responded. Now, when dangling an offer of a local restaurant gift card, response rates hover around 50 percent, Leonard says.
Deploy survey information
Leonard and Krawczyk both say that, whetherpaid or free, survey information is worthless if itisn’t used.
Leonard retools the survey quarterly. And at every staff meeting, he announces survey results to give praise to employees and also share less-than-perfect feedback.
“If you really care, you want to know where your inefficiencies lie,” he says. “My famous quote to my team is, ‘If you’re not growing, you’re dying.’ ”
Following up on survey results is crucial to making the survey work in a company’s favor.
Krawczyk’s team builds a pool in about a month, and he says he keeps on top of his surveys like he does his crew. A spreadsheet of reminders helps him follow up with unresponsive customers.
“I run the surveys like I run my business,” Krawczyk says. “To me, a review goes further than anything nowadays. My goal was to have 100 reviews on Google last year. We made it.”