The best way to understand what your customers are thinking is to ask them. If sales are slumping or certain products won’t leave the shelves, you can turn to your shoppers to learn about their behavior.
One of the easiest ways to do this is with surveys. Customer surveys can be completed in-store or online. With the right questions, you can collect valuable data on the customer experience.
Here’s how you can properly audit your store operations through customer surveys to offer better in-store experiences for anyone who walks through your door.
Develop a Survey That Customers Are Willing to Take
First, find out how your customers want to take your survey so they are more willing to take it. Some brands set up tablets in their stores and guide customers to provide feedback, while others email surveys for customers to fill out when they get home.
SurveyMonkey reports that the more questions you ask, the less time customers are willing to spend answering questions.
They start rushing through the questions and grow impatient in the amount of time it takes to complete the work. Customers spent about 30 seconds per question for a survey with 3-10 questions, but only 19 seconds per questions on a survey with more than 25 questions.
This means if you want highly-detailed responses to open-ended questions, you should limit the total number of questions you ask.
Ask The Right Questions Related to The In-Store Customer Experience
Actually developing a customer survey is one part of the equation. The next part is making sure the survey is able to identify true insights about customer experience.
The last thing you want is to create a “vanity survey,” where the answers don’t really give you clear guidance for how you can improve. “How likely are you to recommend XYZ to a friend,” is a perfect example of this. Instead, look at the individual elements of in-store marketing and ask customers about specific items, experience, and sensory elements in your business.
For example, these 25 questions can be adjusted for your business but give you an idea for where you need to improve your operations.
Questions About Products and Services
- What products or services did you buy when you visited our location?
- How satisfied were you by the products or services you chose?
- Was this the first time you bought the product or service?
- Did you notice or buy any seasonal items or specific deals offered in our locations?
- How often do you visit our store for these products or services?
Questions About Store Upkeep
- How would you rate the cleanliness of the store?
- How would you rate the neatness of our displays, including the presentation of our products or services?
- How easily were you able to find the department that you wanted?
- How easy was it to move around the store without getting lost or bumping into displays?
- Did the bathroom have adequate toilet paper, soap, paper towels, and working facilities?
Questions About Your Staff
- Did you talk with a staff member today?
- Were they eager to help you find what they needed?
- Did they suggest items that were relevant to your needs?
- Did our staff seem knowledgeable about our products or services?
- Did they recommend an additional item that could complement your existing purchase?
Questions About In-Store Marketing
- Were our signs clearly visible when you approached the business and walked in?
- Were our signs clear about the products and services available?
- Did a sign influence your decision to buy a product?
- Did you hear any overhead messaging during your visit? If so, what was it about?
- Did you log on to the WiFi during your time in the store? Was the service adequate for your web surfing needs?
Questions About Your Competitors
- What other brands or companies do you use for our products or services?
- How does our in-store customer experience compare to theirs?
- What do our competitors do that we do not that make them better than us?
- What makes you choose our brand over them/their brand over us?
- How do you receive information about their deals and special offers?
You don’t have to use these 25 questions to measure the in-store customer experience. However, these sections are meant to give you a jumping off point that you can use to brainstorm other questions of your own that have measurable outcomes.
Through the data collected from this type of survey, the results are clear. You can take steps to improve your bathrooms, make clearer signs, or train your staff to communicate special offers more often based off of the information you gather.
Promote Your Survey So More People Take It
Once you have a strong survey that your customers will want to take, invest in staff training and marketing to encourage people to take it.
The more people who take your survey, the better data you can collect.
This is especially important if you are collecting open-ended answers along with ratings. You can see which comments come up repeatedly to the point where you need to take action.
We developed a guide for you to get buyers to take your customer surveys, whether you are offering them in-store on interactive displays or online on your website. It has strong tips to get the most out of your survey and drive value from your customer feedback.
As you promote your survey, you will likely need to change questions based off of the information you collect. Some questions may be too vague or misleading and need to be changed. This is a normal part of survey implementation and review.
Modernize Your Business to Exceed Customer Expectations
Even if you think you are putting your best foot forward to help your customers, there may be blind spots that your staff miss.
By using customer experience surveys and encouraging customers to complete them with discounts and other rewards, you can gather valuable data that moves your business from good to great.
To get more ideas for reviewing your business and auditing customer experience, check out our Checklist for Auditing Your Retail Store. It includes a free downloadable checklist to help you review the experience customers have when they visit your business from walking up to your location to checking out.