Post-Interaction Customer Satisfaction Surveys: Are They Always Necessary?

Measuring customer satisfaction depends on various factors: customer engagement, status of your customer (an existing customer vs. a new customer), or call typology (inbound or outbound). Depending on these factors, the answer will not be the same.
If a customer contacts your brand’s customer service department frequently for assistance, then you should send him or her a post-interaction customer satisfaction survey to ensure the customer’s satisfaction.

When you reach out to someone during outbound campaigns, that person hasn’t engaged willingly with your brand. For this reason, he or she won’t be inclined to answer an opinion survey. On the contrary, during inbound campaigns, since your customers reach out to you, they are more willing to give their feedback.

Either way, if your company decides to send customer satisfaction surveys, it should always be done immediately post-interaction.

Offering great customer experiences begins with understanding customers.

Why should customer satisfaction surveys be sent post-interaction?

Knowing what kinds of products and services customers want is critical to maintain continuous brand growth and ensuring customer loyalty. To achieve this, many companies believe in sending customer satisfaction surveys immediately post-interaction across all channels as well as measuring NPS (Net Promoter Score), to learn if these customers would recommend the company to others. The common wisdom is that capturing such feedback in real-time is best, as it allows companies to collect information while they still have customers’ attention. But why is this timing important?

It’s certainly possible to send customer satisfaction surveys at other times—some brands only send surveys occasionally or even just once a year. However, the success of sending occasional customer service surveys at any time depends on your relationship with your customers and how much your products and services affect them. For example, a company that sells seasonal products may not need to send customer satisfaction surveys throughout the year (although post-interaction might still be helpful for understanding how a company can do better the next season). A telecommunications company, on the other hand, may wish to follow up with customers regularly and immediately post-interaction as customers rely heavily on their phones and have an ongoing need for such company’s services. In other words, how important your business is for your customers, is how important getting feedback from them is to you.

Generally speaking, the feedback you will get from customers right after they have interacted with your brand is far richer and more reliable. They rate their satisfaction based on their feelings. In addition, customers are simply more likely to respond to you if they have just spoken with you—fewer customers respond to surveys that are not sent immediately after a conversation. Post-interaction customer satisfaction surveys—sent within 24 hours—capitalize on the fact that customers still remember their experience with the brand accurately and can provide a fresh, emotional response instead of needing to remember what their experience was like.

However, these surveys must be easy for customers to take:

  • They should be short with a maximum of three questions, for example.
  • They should be made/asked on the channel of interaction: if a customer reaches out to you by phone, you should keep him or her on hold for a quick survey asked by phone. If a customer interacted with your brand via chat, you should send this person a satisfaction questionnaire online…

Customer satisfaction surveys sent after receiving inbound contacts are especially important since the customer made the effort to contact the brand and therefore has a true investment in the brand relationship. Once feedback has been collected, your company can act upon it and may revise its business strategy. For example, you may decide to make changes to existing products or services or change your marketing approach to better fit customers’ needs and wants. You may also decide to improve aspects of the customer experience, such as designing a more user-friendly brand website, offering better communication regarding delivery status and other aspects of the buying process, and—most importantly—improving all customer interactions with your customer service agents through better technology, organization, and agent training.

Listening to customer feedback can only help you improve your customer experience and increase satisfaction levels.

Post-interaction customer satisfaction surveys are not always necessary

Despite their numerous advantages, post-interaction customer satisfaction surveys are not always necessary. In fact, it may not be a good idea to send them depending on your business or the nature of the interaction with the customer. Their efficiency depends on the topic of the conversation with the customer and whether the customer is truly being supported in an ongoing manner by the company. For example, if a customer has been having technical issues with a computer he or she has purchased and calls the manufacturer for support, customer service may follow up with a customer satisfaction survey post-interaction to learn if the customer is satisfied with the support received.

However, for outbound call campaigns, it is almost never necessary to send these kinds of surveys as the customer did not make the effort to contact the brand and is not engaged in some ongoing brand relationship. One exception is when an outbound call results in a sale. However, in such a situation, a company must still wait for the product or service to be delivered—making it futile to send an immediate post-interaction survey. The survey must be sent a long time after purchase, reducing the chance that the customer will even respond. In this case, customer feedback will be based on satisfaction across the entire customer experience, from purchase to delivery.

If a customer actively engages with your brand with an occasional or even ongoing need for support, your company should indeed send post-interaction customer satisfaction surveys to ensure you are meeting the customer’s expectations. In addition, it’s essential to act upon the customer’s feedback. Sending these surveys quickly is not enough—companies must also respond quickly to customer feedback. Ignoring an unhappy customer can lead to a low NPS and customer churn, and even ignoring a happy customer can make him or feel unappreciated and less willing to support a brand long-term if left unrecognized. Ultimately, the necessity for post-interaction customer satisfaction surveys and their eventual response rates depends largely on the relationship with a customer and how a company’s products and services are used by the customer.

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