10 Basic Rules For Maximizing Customer Survey Feedback

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Photo Credit: iStock.com/Artist's xubingruo

Every company wants to provide amazing customer experiences, only a few manage to actually achieve this goal. The reason for this lack of success is the improper use of customer feedback tools. Every marketing and customer relationship management guide tells you to listen to your customers. The most convenient and quick means to do so is through customer surveys. However, your customer feedback surveys are not useful if their response rate is low. The response rate of a survey is a useful metric of measuring survey feedback volume.

Response Rate=Number of completed surveys divided by the total number of surveys sent out

Here are some useful tips to maximize your survey response rate.

1. Clarify The Goals Of Your Survey

The first step in creating any survey is establishing what you want to learn. The goals of the survey will determine whom you survey and what you ask. If your goals are not clear, your results won’t be either. Always keep your audience in mind when writing questions, and create only questions whose answers will be relevant to that audience. The more relevant the question, the more likely the recipient will be to respond to it.

2. Use Your Customer’s Preferred Channel

Discover what communication channel your customers prefer. The preferred channel depends on whether the survey is more casual on nature or needs a formal response. Examples of a casual channel would be comments on Facebook, whereas a more formal channel is if a customer has directly reached out to explore a specific service. The channel which is most popular with the customer will give you the maximum response.

3. Write Clear And Straightforward Questions

This seems like a no-brainer but you will be surprised at how many surveys get this wrong. Use straightforward questions which:

  • Are free from bias
  • Are not leading
  • Don’t contain difficult concepts
  • Are not hypothetical

Start with meaningful and neutral questions which are easy to answer, then gradually move towards the main goals of the survey.

4. Send Surveys At Varying Intervals And For Different Purposes

Surveys frequency can differ depending on the purpose of the feedback. Surveys sent for different purposes at different intervals are more likely to succeed. An important type is the post-contact survey, a customer usually agrees to receive this at the start or end of a regular touch point. This type of survey gives your brand a chance to personalize the customer experience by taking into account the case history of the customer. Another type is a periodic survey which is sent out to specific customers on a per-defined frequency, such as monthly, quarterly, or yearly. These surveys are invaluable when launching future services or products.

5. Get Right To The Point And Stay There

Surveys should not explore multiple topics. Keep it short and sweet, get to the point to minimize abandonment rate. The ideal number of questions is 3 to 12, if you want more details you can always send a follow-up survey which explores the topic deeply. A general rule to spot an unnecessary question is to check if you know exactly what information the answer will provide. If you don’t know this, delete that particular question. It is good practice to state the total number of questions and the estimated completion time right at the beginning of the survey.

6. Analyze Surveys By Agent And Department

Collect and analyze survey data by agent and department. This will help you streamline the services of specific departments. It also helps narrow down the problem areas so that issues can be resolved with more targeted solutions. Analysis on the agent level will help identify any performance issues of the individual. These insights will help you train better agents and fine tune your customer support programs.

7. Contact Customers With Low Satisfaction Scores

Reach out to customers who have overall low satisfaction levels, a good idea is to let the agent use the preferred channel to contact the customer. A more humanizing approach to the interaction is to contact the customer over the phone. Your customers will appreciate knowing that their feedback is taken seriously, especially those who take the time to fill out a survey. Customers who have a few minor issues should also be contacted. No matter how minor a comment seems to be, it still has the potential to improve brand performance.

8. Keep Your Survey Relevant And Concise

Keep the survey concise and relevant will increase the response rate. Being concise doesn’t simply mean a small number of questions, it also means designing questions for quick response. Try to use a consistent scale such as 1 to 10. Be sure to clearly define what the extremes, 1 and 10, represent. Include an open section for input if you want additional comments which the questions haven’t covered.

9. Be Smart With Your Timing

Surveys sent out in a timely manner are perceived as more relevant and the responses will be more accurate. People recall the quality of a recent interaction more accurately, therefore send surveys when the transaction is still fresh in the customer’s mind. The ideal window of time is within 24 hours. This also increases the likelihood of response.

10. Send Personalized Post-Survey Acknowledgements

Thank your respondents and acknowledge their feedback in a personalized manner.  A simple way to do this is address the participant by name when sending your acknowledgement message. This helps create a relationship of trust between your customer and the brand.

If your business wants to understand customers better and keep them happy, then customer surveys need to be a major part of your customer feedback collection tactics. Surveys let you glimpse what is going on in the mind of your customers. The most valuable of insights might be hidden in the simplest of customer comments. These insights will help you improve your customer service.

About The Author

Kelvin Stiles is a tech enthusiast and works as a marketing consultant at SurveyCrest – FREE online survey software and publishing tools for academic and business use. He is also an avid blogger and a comic book fanatic.