If you regularly send out customer surveys, chances are you’ve spent some time on Google wondering, “what’s a good response rate?” Individual studies vary, but the general consensus is that a 5-30% response rate is “satisfactory.” But if you’re taking on the effort of collecting and analyzing customer feedback, you’re probably aiming for more than just “satisfactory.” So how do you get there? Here are seven actionable steps to increase customer survey response rates:
1. Engage in real-time
It’s been widely reported that customer response rates are highest when surveys are sent within 24 hours of the experience. However, depending on the customer profile and the nature of their experience, your actual window of opportunity can be much smaller.
Consider the investment your customer has made into their experience with your business. A customer who’s just purchased a $30,000 car is far more invested in that experience than a customer who’s just purchased a $10 sandwich. The bigger investment stays at the forefront of their mind much longer, so a survey sent 24 hours later may still catch their attention. But if they haven’t invested a large amount of money and time, they’ll be far less likely to remember the experience, much less be inclined to share detailed feedback hours later.
This is why real-time feedback should always be your goal. Sending a survey at the point of engagement, when a customer’s experience is top-of-mind, means you aren’t competing for their attention with other experiences.
2. Text message
The average email open rate is 20%, which means if you’re only emailing surveys to customers, your response rate is immediately throttled by their overloaded inboxes.
The average text message open rate is 98%. Sending surveys to customers via text gives you 5x the chances to receive feedback compared to email-only surveys.
Customers are also more engaged with texts than with email: the average response time to a text is 90 seconds vs. 90 minutes for an email.
The world is growing increasingly more mobile, and customers are spending more time with their phone than with any other device. Meeting customers where they are by sending a text to their phone gives you a much better chance of capturing their feedback.
3. Piggyback on digital experiences
If you conduct business online or through an app, you’ve already established the perfect medium for communicating with your customers. Why create a separate experience for giving feedback through a reactive email survey when you can integrate the act of giving feedback into your website or app?
Customers are much more likely to give feedback while they’re actively engaged with their experience and the act of giving feedback is a minor incremental effort. Examples of piggybacking on digital experiences to capture feedback include:
- An in-app option to rate your driver at the end of a rideshare experience
- A customer service scorecard that pops up when a support ticket is submitted
- A rating scale for your ordering process within your order confirmation page
In each of these examples, the customer is already taking action. The act of giving feedback is merely continuing that action. This is much more likely to get a response than a survey that relies on the customer starting up a new action later when the experience is not top-of-mind.
4. Keep it short
It’s been shown many times: the longer your survey, the lower your response rate.
Think critically about every question in your survey. Can you consolidate two questions into one? Can you get more information by wording the question a bit differently? Then challenge yourself to consider the data each question will produce. Highly actionable data from two survey questions will serve you better than generic data from twenty.
5. Customize & personalize
Research shows more than 79% of US consumers expect personalized experiences from the brands they shop with. Generic questions leave customers questioning how much you really care: giving feedback doesn’t feel important or meaningful. Whereas, when customers receive a survey that asks about:
- The location they visited
- The product they purchased
- The service they received
- The employee who helped them
… they see that you care about their specific experiences. Giving feedback feels important and helpful, which makes customers more likely to engage.
6. Choose the right solution
Every customer experience presents an opportunity to receive feedback. Whether or not you capture that feedback depends on your customer, their experience, and your survey. There’s no one-size-fits-all strategy for getting feedback from every customer. New channels like text messaging might be ideal for some cases; leveraging existing digital experiences might be best for others. The right technology won’t force you on a single path to get feedback from customers. With a comprehensive feedback platform, you can enact all of these strategies and find the ideal solution for each experience in your customer journey.
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