Customer service and the overall bookstore experience is a cornerstone to survival in a competitive market. That's why MBS Direct continually sends out customer service surveys to your students and families to continue to improve and ensure they stay happy.
But if you're operating your own store or are using another online bookstore, you may need to take matters into your own hands.
Asking your customers the right questions (if they aren't already being surveyed) and listening to what they have to say can go a long way in refocusing your bookstore model, while ensuring your business grows and your students are acquiring the course materials they need to be successful in class.
If you want to know what you can do to keep students and their families happy, resolve any issues that may arise and maintain a strong sell-through rate, somebody needs to be asking your students these questions. If they’re not, how should you do it?
A survey can be just the ticket. Fortunately, there are now more options than ever to make a great, easy-to-use survey to tap into your customers’ thoughts and reveal feedback you can use to improve the bookstore experience. Follow this guide and you’ll have a “bookstore experience report card” survey of your own to learn what’s working, what isn’t and how you can increase retention, boost sales and keep everyone happy.
Step 1: Develop Your Survey
A survey’s answers are only as good as the questions it asks or how well it’s put together. Here are tips and best practices for making sure your questions lead to feedback that can help make your course material fulfillment even better.
Not sure where to start? Don’t worry, we’ve gone ahead and built you a list of sample questions to use. Whether you’re operating a brick-and-mortar bookstore or using an online solution, feel free to use or customize these questions however you need to fit your program.
And if you want to write your own, review this chart to see tips for making your questions as effective as possible.
Step 2: Pick a Survey Format
When building a survey to administer online, you have a number of options. Two of the most popular are SurveyMonkey and Google Forms, each with their own perks and benefits.
If you want a free, intuitive survey builder with most of the features (and don’t mind doing some of the analysis on your own,) Google Forms is a great choice. You can create an unlimited number of surveys, customize it with your logo and any images or videos you wish to include and select from a range of pre-built themes. All data is automatically collected into Google Spreadsheets, which while handy, may lack reporting tools intuitive enough for people with lower levels of familiarity with spreadsheet software.
For schools that wish to implement larger surveys and are willing to spend some money in the process, SurveyMonkey offers intuitive options. SurveyMonkey’s free service is limited to 10 questions and 100 respondents. By upgrading to a pay plan for as low as $26 per month, you can increase your survey length, poll significantly more users and implement features like skip logic* and data exportation. SurveyMonkey also shines in its easy-to-use analytics, which can break down your results in graphs, charts and text summaries. Even if you aren’t a spreadsheet whiz, this makes it easy to analyze your results in any way you choose.
Those are of course two examples. You can also read up on more survey options here.
Step 3: Administer Your Survey
Once you’ve fine-tuned your questions and built your survey, the time has come to email it out. If you have a smaller enrollment, you may send your survey out to the entire student body. Larger schools can do that as well, or they may select a smaller random sample to poll in order to save time and build a more manageable pool of answers.
Whatever way you choose, be sure to set a deadline for when you expect to see results. Give your students enough time to answer the questions, and give yourself enough time to collect and analyze your responses. (A week or two should be fine.)
You might also consider incentivizing your survey by offering respondents a chance to win something like a gift card, spirit gear or other prize. Even though their answers will lead to better service in the future, customers will be more likely to take a few minutes to fill out your survey if there’s a chance at something nice right away.
Step 4: Use Your Results
If you asked the right questions and got plenty of answers, you should have a wealth of information you need to continue to improve customer service to your students and families. Now’s the time for implementation.
Read and re-read your results. Pat yourself on the back for any areas your customer service excelled, and stay committed to whatever you’re doing. Take to heart areas in which your customers aren’t happy with their experience, and be honest with yourself in ways to change them. This may mean minor changes to how you answer questions online or a major overhaul to your entire customer service model, but in the end it can only lead to better customer engagement and more success for your program.
Your customers have told you what they want. Now’s the time to listen.