Today I was on the receiving end of a customer surveys campaign at IKEA. It was not the first time I had noticed IKEA had started collecting customer feedback through in store systems. This time, instead of the passive fixed customer survey stations, I was pro-actively approached and asked to fill in the customer survey on a tablet. IKEA is definitely working hard on their program for conducting customer surveys.
A nice change if you ask me, also the vouchers for free drinks after completing the customer survey… bra gjort IKEA!
Throughout many of the IKEA stores in the Netherlands there are fixed customer survey stations. In all honesty this, albeit passive, approach to collecting feedback does send out a good signal. It shows that IKEA is willing to listen to you and your comments if you have the need to share.
I am sure that IKEA does collect feedback through these fixed stations, but like I just mentioned, any setup like this serves a dual purpose:
- offer visitors the opportunity to leave customer feedback
- give a signal to the customer wandering around the store that IKEA cares
It might be a bit too passive for some research goals, but it is still better than doing/showing nothing at all. Any form of feedback is critical to a company.
Nipping in the bud
If I was in IKEA’s position, I would try to combine in store customer feedback collecting with data points, such as the IKEA Family card client information system. Why? Well, what I personally like about surveys, and what I have witnessed in all my years of conducting surveys, people want to hear about what you have done with their thoughts, ideas, and/or complaints. Especially the latter is crucial to any business.
Any good customer service center should be connected to any form of customer feedback, especially ones where personal identifiable information is available. Nipping a problem in the bud as soon as you can, can potentially help you save reputation, but more importantly the unsatisfied customer.
So, in retrospect, a third purpose for the fixed stations good be to monitor unsatisfied customers that are physically in your store, and to possibly assist them as soon as a potential negative feedback has been detected. Far fetched? Maybe, but it would not
help hurt to try it out.
In the IKEA store, I was walking through the self-service warehouse when I was approached by an employee holding a tablet computer. Did I jump at the chance? Not immediately, but being in the survey business, I thought, it needs to be a case of give and take. This time I gave 🙂
The IKEA employee did not tell me upfront how long the survey would take, or that I would be awarded after completing the survey. So I started.
The survey focused on my experience within the self-service warehouse. It contained a lot of likert (a.k.a. semantic differential scale) questions, and some demographic questions towards the end. There were some inconsistencies in the survey. On most pages, after answering the last question, it would automatically forward to the next page. On some pages I had to click on the ‘Next’ button. Another thing that annoyed me was that I could not change my answers after selecting it. Ok, annoy might be a hefty word to use, but I felt compelled to correct the answer to properly share my actual sentiment.
Tablets… heavy tablets
The tablets the employee used was really heavy, and I had to use a stylus to answer the questions. To add insult to injury, the employee started talking to another employee while I was taking the survey complaining herself about the weight of the damn thing.
After today, after observing the IKEA customer survey, I expanded my checklist. When doing anything with a customer, always keep the customer in mind:
- don’t use heavy equipment.I am a strong guy, I can hold my own, but the weight of the tablet was a distraction
- refrain from making the device difficult to use. In the age of touch screens stay away from styli
- while a customer is filling in the survey, don’t get distracted, remain attentive to the customer to answer any question that might arise
No, I won’t complain about everything. The customer survey was completed within 5 minutes and I did get some vouchers for free drinks.
What next with Customer Surveys? Share results!
Although IKEA sells almost anything you could possibly desire for interior decoration and living, but with regards to collecting customer feedback I think that IKEA should share their data, also in store.
A perfect example of this can be seen anytime you fly to London Heathrow airport. Heathrow, part of the British Airport Authority, displays customer feedback data on many of its information screens throughout the airport.
On it Heathrow displays scores on topics such as:
- Flight Info
- Departure Lounge Seat Availability
- Pier Service
- Terminal 5 Transport (or other terminal data based on your terminal location)
Heathrow doesn’t hide behind the facts. In the following photo, you can clearly see that Pier Service scores in Terminal 5 are well below their target. The score, which are not 100% clear are just below 93%. Still a good score, especially if you have been able to compare Heathrow’s Terminal 5 to other airport Pier Services. The score, again, sends off 2 signals:
- we have high standards
- we are not afraid to tell you that we lack in customer satisfaction in certain areas
I absolutely applaud this transparency and hope that other companies, that have a lot of contact with their customers, start sharing this information. I’m serious. Not only for offline companies, but also online. Now, it doesn’t tell you what they are doing to improve the score, but still, and I’ll say it again, it is better than nothing.