Why Customer Satisfaction Surveys Are Important for Equipment Dealers
Our new guest writer, Debbie Frakes, is the Managing Director at Winsby Inc. where she has been helping Business to Business (B2B) companies grow for over fifteen years. What works is constantly evolving, but Winsby is always testing new concepts to determine the most efficient and most cost-effective ways of generating business. Today she shares why customer surveys are important for equipment dealers.
The best way to improve your heavy equipment dealership is to understand what you are currently doing well, what is satisfactory but could use improvement, and what areas need to change in order to retain more customers. The easiest way to gain this information is through customer satisfaction surveys obtained by phone. A phone call assures that they are being thoughtful in their responses, rather than clicking through an email survey without reading the questions carefully. Plus, you receive excellent feedback about what went wrong and what went right in recent transactions. It’s important, too, to ask specific questions relevant to the type of purchase that was made—parts, service, new or used equipment, and rentals. You will have insights on how customers perceive your business and where you need to improve.
How phone surveys improve your service for heavy equipment
- Increase your customer retention by 30% – 40%
- Identify any problems quickly
- Show your customers that you want to know what they think
If you’re wondering whether your dealership should conduct customer satisfaction surveys, take a look at the numbers. For dealers that conduct surveys regularly, compared to those who don’t, customer retention rates are about 30% to 40% higher. The reason is simple: those dealers receiving feedback on a regular basis can improve every part of their business, from heavy equipment service to sales to rentals to parts, because they discover what is wrong with their business, and they can react quickly.
With phone surveys your company can solve problem areas and issues before your customers take their business elsewhere, because they quickly become aware of the problems. If customers have issues with your services or process consistently, most of them will just leave without saying anything. When called for feedback on the most recent transaction, customers invariably are generous with compliments, which employees appreciate, and give honest reactions to any subpar performances, with details.
Why are phone surveys more reliable?
The feedback in customer satisfaction surveys should be obtained by phone, because customers typically provide more reliable answers, compared to email surveys. At Winsby, our team will usually reach a customer over the phone on every third call. And then once we are talking to them, about 97% agree to take the phone survey. This rate is much better than responses for email surveys, for which a good response rate is 2% of recipients. The other benefit of phone surveys is that they are interactive; your customers can fully explain any issues and the caller can ask follow up questions. For email surveys, we really aren’t sure whether they even read the questions!
It is more effective to use a third party to handle the surveys rather than someone from your dealership. The reason is that most customers are more honest with an outside person and will be more comfortable explaining problems to them instead of an in-house employee or someone they have worked with before.
How phone surveys work
The first step in developing a survey for an equipment dealer’s customers is to develop an effective calling script. Ask relevant questions covering what your customers care about and what is most important in your business. Key areas for dealers are typically heavy equipment service capabilities and availability, parts turnaround time, rental equipment availability, and new machine inventory.
Once you have your script, it’s important to speak with about 10% of the customers who were invoiced during the prior month. Record all the responses and follow up on any negative responses or negative scores immediately. Any departments or employees that are complimented need to hear the positive feedback. And any departments or employees that are named in negative comments should be told details as soon as possible. It is always better to contact the customer and apologize. Ask what you can do to make it right. Invariably, those customers are grateful that you cared enough to contact them and correct what the problems were, and they become extremely loyal customers. Had you not known about the problem, though, you would have probably lost them as customers.
How does your dealership benefit?
Customer satisfaction phone surveys make it possible to improve every aspect of your business, from heavy equipment service to parts to rentals to sales. These surveys help you understand what your customers think about you and your processes. The information you gain will allow you to fix problems fast and prevent any negative word of mouth or posting of online reviews.
Winsby compiles the 1 – 5 star scores and publishes one overall rating online, along with the individual scores and comments, providing feedback from actual, verified customers. Many of the online review forums, like Google, allow fake reviews to be posted from people who are not even your customers, and they make it difficult to have them removed. The compiled scores that Winsby sees for the equipment dealers are invariably over 4 stars. The reason is simple: anyone who is surveying their customers regularly cares deeply about how their customers are treated . . . and any problems are corrected quickly at the dealership. The result is retention of your customers increases by 30% to 40%.
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