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Know Your Target Audience

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Customer surveys can be a good way to determine what's working and what's not for a shop. But in the quick lube environment, it can eat up a lot of time and turn off the customer to stop and ask someone to fill out a survey.

The most cost-efficient way to implement a customer feedback survey these days is through text, or SMS messaging. It offers a method of generating customer feedback, and it provides shops with options because multiple types of surveys can be created, such as texting-to-vote, customer experience feedback questions, multiple-choice polls, and ranking-by-choice.  

Jeff Tremper, owner of Throttle CRM, a company that specializes in helping automotive shop owners connect with their customers, said text message surveying also allows customers to respond at their convenience.

“Shop owners often like to try to use social media to generate customer feedback, but it can be a double-edged sword. “Tremper said. “When you look to social media, you’re posting things like, ‘It’s a great day here. We’d love to see you. Our bays are wide open.’ Maybe you're just posting a friendly photo and also asking for people to respond and you have something specific you're asking through that.”

Relying on social media for customer feedback can be a double-edged sword, however.

“You're taking a risk of whether the customer might have had a bad day or not,” he said. “People today are used to expressing their opinions with the cloak of the internet, and as many business owners already know, too often the majority of feelings they give are negative.”

Tremper said the idea of using text messaging to handle customer feedback may seem daunting to many shop owners, but today there are many different avenues that can be used to create a simple text survey.


How to Create a Text Survey

  • Determine the type of survey that works best for the question you’re trying to answer — multiple-choice is always a quick-and-easy method. 
  • Build a participant list by asking your customers to opt-in to text messages from your shop. This can be done manually by having an employee ask for permission to receive an SMS alert when they initially engage with the customer or at the end of the service experience during payment, but more often best done at the beginning to provide the optimal feedback. 
  • Write down exactly what questions you wish to have answered, such as, “Did you find our shop bays or customer lounge to be clean?” or “Were our employees kind and courteous during your visit?”
  • Create your survey using the free-and-easy-to-use Google Surveys (which ironically launches by asking you four questions about your email preferences). 
  • Determine which texting service you will use, such as Survey Monkey, ZonkaFeedback, or Survey Sparrow. The typical service costs from $25 to $30 per month.
  • Track and analyze the results your customers provide using the built-in analytics that comes with the survey software of your choice.


How to Craft Survey Questions

James Green, owner of Cardboard Cutouts, said he’s used text surveys many times in the past to complete the customer experience, and that simplicity is the key when it comes to crafting a survey that customers will actually want to take. 

“If you ask too many questions or make those questions too complicated to answer, your customers will abandon the survey halfway through, or not start it to begin with,” Green said. “However, if you make the survey quick to complete, and the questions simple and easy, your customers are going to be more likely to complete it. If you also add in some kind of bonus for them in exchange for completing the survey, your completion numbers are much more likely to increase.”

Bill Glaser, CEO of Outstanding Foods, said the best way to save customers time and encourage participation in text surveys is to ask mainly closed-ended questions. 

“Ask one question at a time to avoid overwhelming the customer,” he said. “You can focus on ranking questions to learn what services your customers enjoy and identify areas of lower satisfaction. If you want more information, you can include an open-ended, optional question at the end of the survey for additional feedback. I've also found that incentivizing customers with rewards points and giveaways also promotes survey participation.”

  

Make Your Survey Matter

Using text surveys is a great way to gather customer feedback, and it is a useful, cost-efficient tool for helping you understand what your customers want and for learning how they feel about your shop’s performance. They also help shops improve business by allowing owners to make changes based on what customers are saying. 

Oil and lube shop owners, however, need to foster scenarios that invite customer feedback without making individuals feel like their answers are just going to be used as part of the sales process. It all comes down to trust and to offering back something of value, said Alex Mastin, chief executive officer of Home Grounds. 

“A few examples of what a business can do to go above and beyond when giving back to their customers are to give away something for free, or at least heavily discounted, in exchange for feedback, and offer loyalty programs for repeat business,” Mastin said. “This will ensure that people don’t feel like they're being marketed to but instead are having an actual impact on the service they are receiving.”

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