Survey tips

Increasing the response rate on customer surveys

A customer survey can deliver significant value to a company, if you complete the survey in the right way. A…

A customer survey can deliver significant value to a company, if you complete the survey in the right way. A crucial part of conducting a successful survey, is achieving a high respondent rate. Therefore, this post will lists some practical and useful advice on how to achieve a higher response rate on customer surveys.

There is obviously not a universal method to obtain a high response rate, which can be used in all contexts. Different industries are characterized by different types of customer relationships, and this must necessarily be taken into account when doing a customer survey. In general, the following simple advice can be used in most contexts.

Where to start?
Start by making clear what the purpose of the study is. This way you will be able to stay focused and find it easier to ask the right questions. It is important that the customer survey gives you action-oriented results, that you can use to generate additional sales or save customers who have turned their backs on you and are “on the way out of the store.”

The more relevant you can make the survey for the customer, the greater the chances are that they will be engaged. Also think about your timing. Customers do not enjoy spending large amounts of their time answering surveys.

Make your customers aware that there is a customer survey on the way
Involve the customer-oriented employees in your company in the customer survey and tell them to “promote” the forthcoming study, so that customers can see why it is important that they participate in the study. It should be customer-oriented employees provided with clear and concise information about the study.

  • What is the purpose of the survey?
  • What do the customers gets out of using their precious time to participate in a customer survey?
  • What methods are being used?
  • Time of data collection?

With this information the customer-oriented employees can advise customers that an investigation is under way, ensuring that the investigation is not perceived as spam.

The invitation is your gateway to the customer and this is where it is determined whether the customer will click through to your survey. Therefore, the invitation serves as the entrance to a high response rates.

The invitation should clearly specify the purpose of the customer survey and the benefits the customer can get out of participating in the study. Messages that are short and precise tend to be more successful.

The answers you get are dictated by the questions you ask
Create a survey that is easily understood, consistent in its form, unambiguous, and not too long or short to keep customers engaged.
Avoid questions that are positively or negatively charged, as this will affect the respondent’s answer. There should also be a clear red line in the survey, for example by being thematic.
The better the survey, the better the analysis will be. It is important that the form is short and precise. We recommend that the number of questions do not exceeding 30.

A professional design, the company logo, colors and layout should match your corporate identity, in order to ensure a high degree of familiarity with the customer. This will create a feeling that the company has spent a lot of time and resources on the survey and will affect the response rate positively.

As e-mail tends to pile up and be forgotten, it is important to follow up on those customers who have not responded to the survey. A friendly reminder may be a good idea. Do not send too many reminders as this may have the opposite effect than desired.

Proper preparation prevents poor performance
In general it can be said that the more professional and serious a process is done, the greater the likelihood of achieving a high response rate.

Always remember the purpose of creating customer surveys – it is an opportunity to take better care of your customers. You have to identify the customers who are dissatisfied and therefore at risk of leaving to join a competitor. This can be prevented! At the same time, customer surveys help you make an educated guess on which efforts should be prioritized to improve customer loyalty. If you do not take care of your customers, you can be sure that your competitors will.

What to do about those customers who do not have the answers?
Follow up on those customers who do not have the answers. When customers do not have the answer, it’s a welcome opportunity to make contact with the customer and find out why they did not participate in the study.