Customer Experience News & Trends

9 ways to get more (and better) customer feedback

You’d think with all the tools we have to gather and receive customer feedback we’d get lots of it. But most companies don’t.

Only about a third of customers respond to formal surveys, recent research found.

Not surprisingly, in-person surveys get the best response with almost 60%. Telephone and app surveys fare the worst with a less than 20% response rate.

Fortunately, you can increase the odds that customers will give you more and better feedback – in any channel – that will help you improve their experiences.

Here’s how, according to research from MaritzCX.

1. Know your audience

If you tailor the request for feedback, you’ll get useful feedback. Know:

  • your audience
  • the topics that interest them
  • when they’re available to take a survey, and
  • the best communication channel to reach them.

Use internal data to figure this out before you even send a message about the survey.

2. Use an updated contact list

Clean and validate your contact list before sending messages about a survey.

If you send to invalid addresses (email, SMS, brick-and-mortar, etc.) you hurt response rates. If you send to the wrong people or to people who don’t care, you’ll have a poor response.

3. Keep it short

The less you ask, the more likely customers will respond. Think less about how many questions and more about how long it will take them to do the survey. Five to seven minutes is about as long as they’ll tolerate.

4. Make it easy

The easier you make it to take, the more likely customers will respond. Some ways:

  • Let them save partially finished surveys so they can go back to it later, if necessary
  • Put the more complex questions at the end so they don’t abandon it, and
  • Make sensitive questions (demographics, for instance) optional.

5. Do a pilot

Test your survey with a small group of people before rolling it out to everyone you plan to reach. You want to know what they think of the survey, not what they think about the topic you’re surveying.

Watch for signs that questions need to be clarified: Customers will skip, be too-quick-to-answer or consistently rate in the middle those questions that are confusing.

6. Time it right

Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays are generally the best days of the week to send surveys.

Also, use one of those days to first send a request for them to participate in a survey, plus the date and time that you’ll send the actual survey.

7. Explain your intentions

Whether you first send a request for a response or just send the survey, briefly explain why you want customer feedback and what you intend to do with it. Specifically include:

  • why it’s important to customers and you (for instance, the feedback will help you make improvements they want)
  • the amount of time it will take to complete it
  • what you plan to do with the results and when
  • your policy on safeguarding their personal information, and
  • a way to opt out of taking the survey.

8. Be compelling and memorable

Personalize every customers’ invitation to participate in the survey. Use their names and identify the experience or time frame you’re surveying. If it’s an email, make sure the sender and signature line are from a person – such as “Mary Williams, VP of Customer Experience” – not a department – such as “The marketing team.”

If you’re approaching different groups of customers, personalize the subject line or first paragraph to identify the differentiator – such as a product line or industry.

Then send at least one reminder message to survey participants who haven’t responded three or five days after the initial request. Remind them of the reason, importance and urgency.

9. Offer an incentive

Some companies see an uptick in survey participation when they offer incentives – such as a future discount, gift card or chance to win a prize.

If you go this route, it’s important to offer something that’s valuable to your customers.

10. Act on the results

The best way to get customers to respond to future surveys is to act on the feedback they give now and prove that you’ve done it.

Thank customers for participating, and publish your survey results and the changes you’ll make or have made based on the feedback. The next time you ask for feedback, remind them how you responded to the last round.

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