Increase the Customer Response Rate on Surveys

“For every customer who bothers to complain, 26 other customers remain silent.”- Source: White House of Consumer Affairs

Mentioned above is a fact not a quote! We have discussed earlier how detrimental silent customers can be for any business. When companies send out feedback surveys, many customers don’t reply and there is normally no reason given. If companies are unable to know what customers feel about their service and products, it would be difficult to make improvements or innovations that will please the customers. It is crucial therefore for companies to devise ways to increase the customer response rate on surveys. Everyone is aware of how much costlier it is to attract new customers and therefore there is increased pressure on retaining existing customers. It would be prudent therefore for companies to place emphasis on increasing the customer response rate on surveys sent out.

Customer surveys are a great way to gather data about both the loyal customers and the ones most likely to detract. If response rates are low, there will be huge variations from one survey to the next and companies will be unable to ascertain their exact standing amongst customers. Also if the surveys are boring, long and too frequent fewer senior members and decision makers would take the time to complete these surveys – then too the scores on these surveys would not be an accurate reflection of the customer’s mind-set or attitude towards the company. The higher the customer response rate on surveys, the more accurate the scores and a better insight in to customer behaviour. Studies reveal that for telephone surveys a less than 40% response rate for business to consumer and less than 60% on business to business enterprises is a cause for alarm. For email surveys, at least 50% surveys should come back completed, else you should know there is cause for concern.

Why should you want to increase customer response rates on surveys? Simply because the reason for sending out surveys is to get valuable information from your customers about what they like and what they want more of. Your company gets a better understanding from its end users which helps to make more informed and better decisions. The feedback provided helps customers to make new products and services and improve on the current ones in order to meet and exceed the customer’s expectations and needs. It is a great way to also know whether your customers are pleased with the current level of customer service being provided. Receiving accurate and increased responses helps companies to build better customer profiles allowing for more customized products and service.

Keep reading to know how to gain these benefits through the increase of the customer response rate on surveys.

– Respect the time of your customers. Cut down on long, drawn out and dreary surveys – keep them precise, concise and value-added for your customers. Doing so can dramatically increase customer response rate on surveys. Eliminate the need for customers to exert too much thought on these surveys – keep them interested in completing it.

– Keep your surveys short – a maximum of 10-12 questions should suffice if put together meticulously. Even if it is only multiple choice tick questions, a long survey will be abandoned by customers. The shorter the survey your company can expect an increase in customer response rate on surveys. Keep your survey’s focus on questions that are relevant towards your company’s goal – pleasing customers by improving service and products. Frame the questions in a way that will nudge customers to provide answers for some crucial topics. Leave out questions that might seem unfathomable for customers since their answers may have relevance only for those within your company. Don’t let these surveys be an expectation setting exercise – they should rather be a platform for customers to say what they want without having any false expectations.

– Seriously consider having customer surveys as part of your sales plan. Let prospective customers know that customer feedback surveys are a very important part of your company’s strategy aimed towards mutual success. Tell them that it is compulsory since through customer opinions and suggestions your company consistently improves its service and products. Not only will the prospective customer be more inclined to become a customer as they will perceive you as a customer-focused company, when they do, they would most certainly complete and return the customer feedback survey sent by you. Customers can influence other customers more easily – so if a number of customers are completing the survey, they would be exerting pressure on others to follow suit. An increase in customer response rate on surveys not only enhances your reputation as a customer centric company but also provides an impetus to sustained growth and profits for your company.

– Treat your customer surveys with as much importance and responsibility as a business proposal. Ensure that before sending out the survey, you put in place a response received tracking mechanism in place. Once that is done, you would know with whom you need to follow up when they have not replied. Tracking responses and following up is a sure way to increase response rates to over 85% at least (a report). If it’s an online survey a simple reminder with the link to the survey is sure to grab the attention of those who have either forgotten or got busy with their business demands. Manual tracking is never a good idea. Instead invest in tracking tool that automate the whole follow up process and ensures that there is an increase in customer response rate on surveys.

– Ensure that your feedback questionnaire comes across as intelligent and logical. By following a logical order, your survey will make more sense to customers and will provide you with a better chance of receiving a higher response rate. Your survey could begin with investigative questions and move on to more generalized and open-ended questions. Remember to include questions that deal with the customer demographics to make customer profiling and responses segmentation easier.

– Grab the attention of your respondents when you send the survey to them. A well-designed and meticulously worded invitation to complete the survey will get you a higher response rate. Make it attractive for the customer to complete the survey – a subject line like “Your feedback makes everything better” is sure to grab eyeballs. Ensure that the email id from where the survey is being sent is a corporate one and bears a name of a person. This keeps the human touch and also ensures that your mail does not land in the junk or spam folders. Write an impressive email – short and crisp – that lets customers answer the question “what’s in it for me”? When they can know the survey will answer that question, they are more likely to respond thereby increasing the number of responses you receive.

Customer feedback can never be undermined and surveys are powerful, cost-effective and efficient method of collecting vital cues and information from customers. These cues help a company to pin-point problem areas and also discover new and evolving opportunities for their own business and that of the customers. Carefully crafted and well-timed surveys can overcome the challenge companies’ face and will be able to increase the customer response rate on surveys.

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