Customer Experience News & Trends

How to get more customer feedback

Can you do a good job if you only have a third of the information you need to get the job done? Probably not – yet that’s what most companies do every day. 

The average response rate to a customer survey is 33%, according to recent research from SurveyAnyplace.

So what do the other two-thirds think?

What if it’s only your fans responding? You might mistakenly think you’re awesome. Meanwhile you have a lot of haters out there, and you aren’t changing anything.

Or what if it’s only your dissatisfied customers responding? You might conclude your experience is awful, and waste resources trying to fix it when, all along, two-thirds of your customers really like you.

The cure? Get more feedback from more customers more often.

The problem is how.

This can help – five research-proven tips on improving survey responses.

Put it out there

Tell customers exactly what you’ll do with their feedback. When customers know their participation will lead to an improvement or change, they are more likely to respond, according to researchers.

When you invite customers to respond to surveys, tell them what you’ll do with the results – and be as specific as possible. Examples:

  • If half our customers request Sunday hours, we’ll open 12-5 Sundays starting June 1.
  • We will create a live chat portal during peak season if 65% of respondents tell us they’d use it.
  • We will bring back the Turbo Line if more than 50% of customers rate the quality higher than the current Vice Line.

Shorten it

Before you send any survey, cut one more question from it. No matter how short you make it, customers will feel it can be shorter – and will more likely respond if it’s brief.

IBM’s e-business Innovation Center in Toronto doubled response rates when they cut the length of their online survey from 37 questions to 20, PeoplePulse researchers found. More importantly, they told respondents how long it would take to finish – 10 minutes – and made sure it never exceeded that.

SurveyAnyplace researchers found survey response rates dropped almost 20% when the survey had 12 or more questions or took more than five minutes to complete.

Vary it

Some customers will never respond to email surveys. Others aren’t even active in social media. Some will only respond if there’s a paper on their desk.

That’s why it’s important you replicate the same survey in as many forms as possible. Give customers channel options (but include all the same questions), and you’ll increase response rates and the integrity of the feedback.

Remind them

Survey invitations don’t have to be one-and-done. You can increase response rates by almost 15% if you send a reminder between three and seven days after the initial invitation, according to the SurveyAnyplace research.

Send the reminder in the channel you asked the first time and through another channel if you have contact information – in case the original contact was wrong.

Be like customers

Avoid stilted language, acronyms and jargon in your surveys. Instead, write simple sentences, using words you hear customers use when they’re in contact with you.

Also, give them variety. They will more likely stick with a survey – and give candid feedback – if they see a variety of types of questions such as multiple choice, rating, scales and open-ended.

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