Customer Experience and Customer feedback   – we all know it’s important, but we also all want to avoid making our customers feel like they’ve been pressured into replying, let alone feeling like they are being over-surveyed. Let’s look at the general steps to a successful customer feedback survey project.

Start with the customer feedback survey design

The first place to look at customer feedback survey is the survey template itself. We have a number of templates for customer feedback questions for various types of organizations ready for you to use as starting points. Some are short, some are long. Any is a fantastic starting point. You can remove questions, replace some with questions you have already identified as tied to your organization’s key performance indicators, and otherwise modify the templates as much as needed.

A few best practice ideas: if you’re intending to field the survey often (such as with every interaction a customer has with your organization), keep the survey short. If you’re intending to field less often, such as once a quarter or twice a year, then you can likely get away with having a longer survey that captures more information about various aspects of the experience with the organization. For example, the auto purchase experience survey has 67 questions, but the questions include experience with the service department for the auto retailer. Since most customers are not purchasing vehicles often, having a longer survey can be fine. However, be sure to add branching in case your customer didn’t use the service department. Here are more tips on how To Design The Perfect Research Survey.

Now consider your deployment strategy

Many organizations are using a myriad of techniques to distribute their customer feedback survey. These techniques might include:

Ways to encourage participation

You have the customer feedback questions, the distribution method(s) you’ll be using, and now it’s time to think about how to encourage responses.

  • Use rewards. Rewards have been widely cited as increasing customer feedback survey response rates. Whether the reward is a coupon for use on a next visit, dollars off a future purchase, or a drawing for a gift card, rewards work. In our own experience, smaller rewards offered to more people work even better than large rewards offered to fewer people.
  • Mentioning the reward when encouraging participation in the survey. If you have a survey printed on a receipt, for example, chances are higher than the customer will take the survey if you mention the reward than if you simply mention the survey. Let’s be honest – when was the last time you actually looked at your receipt after a purchase when it wasn’t to return an item?
  • Use multiple methods of distributing your customer feedback survey. Studies have shown that using multiple survey modes (distribution options) result in higher response rates than using a single survey mode. For example, follow up with a customer via email after mentioning the link on the receipt.
  • Send reminders. If you’ve sent an email invitation, sending a reminder about a week later will garner another wave of customer feedback survey responses. In one of my former roles, I found that the majority of responses to an email invitation survey came during the first three days it was open. When we sent a reminder out one week later, we would see another bunch of responses the first two days after the reminder had been sent.

A word of caution to those encouraging participation: don’t push the encouragement too far. For example, I recently had an experience where a retail employee took the receipt, pulled out a stamp that read “Extremely Satisfied,” stamped my receipt, and nearly pled with me to take the survey and only ever select “extremely satisfied” since their management would accept nothing less. Not only did this make me feel uncomfortable, it also made me wonder what they were doing to their overall response rates. What had been a fantastic purchase experience turned into a poor experience because I felt pressured to only take the survey if I was going to answer with “extremely satisfied.” This particular establishment was likely either negatively impacting their responses or else they were skewing results to the positive with the way they had trained their employees to encourage survey participation. Not only that, the store was missing out on valuable feedback for a feedback loop to help them actually identify areas where they could be improving the customer experience.

Analyze

Depending on the frequency you’re delivering the customer feedback survey, you may want to use a trend analysis to look at the trends in customer feedback over any given period of time. This can be done weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annually with QuestionPro. Other options for analysis include using the real-time summary to review all of data, gathered to-date.

Recap

Encouraging responses to your customer feedback questions begins with the strategy – what questions will you ask, how will you distribute, and then how will you encourage responses. Remember, too, that different survey modes (distribution options) have different response rates in general. An email survey generally is considered having a good response rate if about 25-30% of the potential respondents participated. Data is still being collected on other modes, including social media distribution and mobile participation. But if you start with a well-defined strategy, chances are you’ll have a better outcome. Let us know via the feedback tab what strategies you’ve used to help increase participation in your own customer feedback survey! We’d love to hear what is working for you.