You’re excited about the customer satisfaction survey that your company has been conducting. You’re eager to find out how your customers feel about your firm. You’re very confident that your survey results will make a big difference on the way you run your business.

The only problem is—you can’t seem to get enough responses.

Unfortunately many others have gone before you and some of them have spoilt the environment in which you are about to invest.  Some of the causes of problems you will face are:

  • Uncontrolled free of charge self-service survey services
  • Unprofessional survey content
  • Surveys of huge length
  • Survey scripts by committee resulting in survey questions of similar meaning
  • Lack of intelligence when deciding who to survey and how often
  • Audience survey fatigue
  • Surveys filled with jargon

Don’t despair. Everything could be alright if you follow these tips:


  • Keep the survey short

People have so many things to attend to that you can’t expect them to spend half an hour or so answering your survey.  So keep the survey short as possible, whether you have an online survey, SMS, social media or a phone survey.

Find the shortest way to ask a query without losing the intent of the question. This is particularly true if you have a survey form that your customers have to fill out. Reduce the character count and superfluous wording from your questions.

Having too long a survey can also lead to survey fatigue. This would force respondents to stop answering the survey, or randomly checking your boxes. Either way, your survey’s data will be affected.

If your survey supplier is similar to VIRTUATel, they will be able to offer you the ability to either cycle multiple questions across every survey recipient or allow branching to additional questions, ONLY if the questions are directly relevant to the receiver.  We even advocate conducting two or three question surveys – they are proven to ensure you get multiple responses from your clients while still delivering enough data for robust analysis.

Put yourself in the shoes of your consumers. Think about the last time you answered a survey. Did you spend more than 10 minutes answering it? If you said no, then that’s also what your customers will do when you give them a lengthy survey.


  • Survey across the whole customer journey

As our recent article said, CXM experts agree that companies need to consider the customer’s full end-to-end journey, as opposed to isolated touchpoints, if they are truly to understand how they are performing in their customers’ eyes. It is equally important to think of this from the customer’s viewpoint as well, and give them the opportunity to give feedback about their total experience with you.

If companies continue to only survey customers when they have spoken to an agent in the call centre, customers will eventually stop giving feedback. However, if you demonstrate that you truly value their opinion of you by also asking for feedback when they have visited the store, when they have found information on your website, or when they have made a comment on social media, you will find a far more engaged customer, keen to share their experiences with you.


  • Timing is Key

Timing is important in the conduct of a customer survey campaign. Feedback response rates, for example, are highest and more accurate if your survey invitation is sent within minutes of the interaction. As survey respondents are able to remember their experience with your company clearly, it makes them more likely to respond to your questionnaire and the answers will be more accurate.

However, this doesn’t mean that your consumer will answer your survey right away.   If there is too long a period before the invitation and the survey completion, you may be wise to ignore those responses as they are likely to be full of inaccuracies caused by poor customer recall. If you sell a product or service that takes a period of time to be used, make sure you don’t send the survey invitation at the beginning of their life-cycle when they could not possibly give a fair and accurate opinion.

You must also consider the day when you send out survey invites through email. Studies have shown that more people respond to personal online surveys on Fridays, Mondays, and weekends. Business surveys however, need to avoid Mondays and Fridays as well as the early and late parts of the days, as they are busy.


  • Give them an incentive

Again, put yourself in the shoes of your customers. What would compel you to answer a survey? One probable reason is that you had a bad experience with a company and you want to release your frustrations. But what if you’re contented with the service or product from a brand? Would you even spend a minute replying to its survey?

But you can entice your customers to take your survey. Incentives should be considered a “thank you for your time” rather than a “payment” to ensure the incentive does not create bias.  Token items that relate to your product rather than unrelated pens and umbrellas should be enough for them to answer your questionnaire.

It is vitally important that you assess your audience, as well as any incentive, to ensure the incentive itself is not creating bias in your results.  Often, testing with and without incentives can confirm the facts.

But what if you don’t have enough money for these promotional items? You can give incentives that your firm can financially handle. One example would be a prize draw for a high profile gift such as a holiday or cool piece of technology.


  • Ask only relevant questions

How often have you visited a company’s website, been asked to complete a survey, said yes, and then found yourself answering questions about the retail environment, or packaging, or the how good their service is?

One of the fastest ways to create survey fatigue and irritate your respondents is to ask irrelevant questions that are important to you but do not connect to the experience your customer just had.  Make sure the questions concern the issue that your customer was raising, the channel on which they were communicating on, and are specific to the point in the journey they are in.

Use a supplier such as VIRTUATel who understands how to analyse the data about your customer, brand and service  to offer the appropriate survey, or cycle questions within a survey, that relate directly to your customer.

These are five tips that you should follow if you want your customers to answer your surveys. Remember that while you want to get as much feedback from your consumers, you still have to value their time. So keep your survey short, survey the journey, ask only relevant questions, and time your surveys well.  Avoid conducting surveys too often. Finally, reward your customers for taking your survey.


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