7 Common Survey Design Mistakes

7 Common Survey Design Mistakes

Survey Hints & Tips: What are the biggest mistakes people make when creating a customer satisfaction survey?

 

Making surveys too long

At VIRTUATell we deliver surveys on your behalf through a variety of devices; over the phone, online, via SMS or by email. Each of these methods may have its preferred style of question or way for customers to answer. But what is universal between them is that none of them are ideal for surveys that are too long.

It is an easy error to make, borne out of a genuine productive desire to understand as much as possible about how customers view your company and how they feel about the service they are receiving. Often, a survey may have had multiple contributors and therefore contain all the questions for all departments.  But remember, these surveys are an extension of your company. The surveys bear your name and are a reflection of your brand. So if they are verbose, long winded and assuming your respondent has nothing better to do with their time than work for you, THAT is the thoughts that will be associated with your brand.   So why not try to make them as efficient and as pleasant to encounter as your staff.

Assuming the respondent’s time is free

People have busy lives. Don’t assume if you are calling a customer to answer a survey that they have time. Start your survey by explicitly asking your customer if they have the time to spare, and if they don’t email the survey through to them to complete when they do. VIRTUATell use real-time customer satisfaction surveys because they are the most accurate means to get customer feedback AND ensure the results are unbiased by the passage of time. If your customers are rushed into answering your questions when they really don’t have the time, then you run the risk of getting ill-considered and inaccurate results.

In an online survey tell them up front that the survey won’t take very long to re-assure them that it won’t take up too much of their time – then DON’T!

Choose the correct media channel

If they called you, offer a telephone survey.  If the e-mailed you, offer an online survey and so on.  Multi-channel surveys including the phone channel, are what VIRTUATell specialise in.

Using grammatically correct wording that does not read or sound well

Despite what you may have been told in school it is not always 100% necessary (or even helpful) to use grammatically correct sentences or verbose, superfluous, elaborate wording in your survey.

The most vital goal when writing your questions for VIRTUATell to deliver, is to be able to communicate what you require accurately. And succinctly.

Making surveys too long

New York, New York was so great they named it twice. This point is so vital that we have included it twice. We can’t stress strongly enough how important it is to keep you surveys concise.  For details of our KISKIS methodology, click here.

Offer the surveys in real-time, immediately after the customer event.

On many occasions, companies wait far too long before offering surveys.  During this time, the customer has forgotten half of the experience they had and either answers incorrectly or untruthfully.  Either way, you are basing your decisions on false result data.  That is why VIRTUATell specialise on conducting real-time surveys, immediately after the customer event.

Asking Vague questions

If you ask a series of vague questions you will create lots of information but you won’t be able to quantify and analyse the results easy. A text question or voice recording gives you lots of valuable detail but these need to be supplementary questions to a question where you ask them to rate a service on a fixed scale.

For the very best survey design and response rates, contact VIRTUATell

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6 rules when setting up customer surveys

6 rules when setting up customer surveys

There is an art to finding the right words to use in your surveys. Or perhaps that should say: There is a science to writing surveys that get the best results and if you are using automated phone and online surveys such as those supplied by VIRTUATell there are even more “do’s and don’ts” . If not done correctly the language that you use to phrase questions can ultimately have an unintended impact on the results you receive.  Linguists and academics have spent decades researching the effect that different words, phrases and sentences can have on the way we think.

To help you write surveys that will gain the most accurate results for your company here are 6 rules when setting up customer surveys to help you succeed in wasting as little effort as possible:

  1. Design all surveys with the customer environment in mind.  You are unable to monitor the environment in which your survey is being completed but you DO know if an SMS survey will be read on a mobile phone or an automated phone survey will be heard via a telephone, so design the survey for that medium.  SMS surveys should be short, online surveys should be well designed and easy to read and Phone surveys should be worded for the ear, not the eye and should factor in the possibility of external noise.
  2. Keep to the same scales where possible.  In designing surveys, it is imperative to remember that respondents are helping you out. Therefore, try to keep their mental stress to a minimum. Switching from a question that asks for a numerical rating (1-5, 1-10 or the NPS score, 0-10) to one, that rates levels of satisfaction(Very Satisfied, Satisfied, Disatisfied, Very Disatisfied), to one that  seeks to ascertain how closely a customer agrees with a statement(Strongly agree, agree, disagree, strongly disagree), is mentally demanding for them and likely to be off-putting so try and keep scales consistent.
  3. Avoid using idioms and slang.  Your customers may be foreign-born or may have a learning difficulty that prevents them from distinguishing between metaphor and literal meaning. Idioms and slang can cause confusion and arguably can sound unprofessional.  But that doesn’t mean that colloquial language should be avoided – especially when using phone surveys. In fact, it is worth considering how a more relaxed and conversational tone could be used to help put respondents at ease and make them feel less as though they are undergoing a test.
  4. When asking text or recording questions, don’t ask leading questions.  For journalists grilling political candidates that may be the quickest way to get at the truth. For your survey the act of suggesting an answer in the question is likely to bias your results and make them an inaccurate reflection of your customer’s experience.
  5. Capture verbatim recordings and open comments, especially as the final questions.   These open questions give the respondent the chance to say what is on their mind, in their words and are often the most valuable content available to you. DO NOT use them for SMS surveys (which should only be a single question or use the VIRTUATell SMS methodology).

 

And finally, KEEP THE SURVEY SHORT!   At VIRTUATell we campaign constantly to keep surveys short and don’t assume the respondent has limitless time to answer your questions.  If you DO need more than 4 or 5 questions answered, cycle, randomise and spread the questions over multiple respondents.  A short survey will result in someone being happy to answer another one sometime – a long survey penalises them for helping you out.

For more information CLICK HERE to Contact VIRTUATell.

Best Practice Tips for SMS Surveys

Best Practice Tips for SMS Surveys

Best Practice Tips for SMS Surveys

Asking anyone with whom you want to do new or additional business, to complete a survey via SMS if it is not short, can actually jeopardise business and put relationships at risk.

The constant to and fro of the messages and the random appearance and interruption factor is proven to just annoy your customer or prospect as question numbers go above one or two questions. If you want to attempt to collect that valuable “open” comment as well, it’s worth considering avoiding the “to and fro” method of SMS surveys and use the VIRTUATell alternative.

With over 10 years of experience supplying automated, multi-channel survey services, research shows that VIRTUATell‘s alternative method has a 98% total acceptance level, when asking 4 or 5 question PLUS that valuable general comment.

The VIRTUATell SMS survey method

For one or two questions, SMS is fast and convenient.  For longer surveys, we have two options.

vSurvey call-back.

As with a normal SMS survey, we send the message asking if they will take a survey. However, we inform them that if they accept, we will call them back immediately with a quick telephone survey. On acceptance, our outbound telephone survey calls them back, avoiding that nightmare of multiple SMS surveys with messages bouncing to and from your customer, with the associated, huge annoyance factor. We can even collect customer complaint details and deliver them to whoever you want, seconds after the survey, to proactively help you convert them to a satisfied customer – proven to have an 11% higher probability of re-purchasing.

eSurvey url

Option 2 delivers to any accepted survey, a url that links any smartphone to our online/web eSurvey.

Using our SMS options, VIRTUATell surveys give you:

  • Fast, real-time, outbound automated surveys
  • All results available in our award winning reporting suite
  • Honest answers just seconds after the visit
  • Real-time escalation alerts for proactive actions
  • Individual, team and departmental reports for comparison
  • Increased sales, loyalty and customer satisfaction

Just click below for more information or Click Here to see more.

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6 ways to increase survey response rates

6 ways to increase survey response rates

With over-surveying, absurdly long surveys and disconnected senders, survey response rates are falling fast!

To achieve the  objectives of gathering customer feedback efficiently whilst not annoying your customers and obtaining accurate results you can act upon, care and attention must be taken when designing your surveys.  Here, we show you 6 quick ways to ensure your surveys get answered, the answers you obtain are meaningful and accurate and do so, without alienating your customers.
10 second short summary
– Design survey wording and scales that match the survey type being used (vSurvey/eSurvey/mSurvey)
– Aural surveys(vSurvey) – place the scale after question not other way around
– Keep survey scales the same if possible, otherwise group them
– Keep language simple and avoid colloquialisms
– Capture open comments and verbatim recordings
– KEEP SURVEYS SHORT (Use our KISKIS method)

Full Article – 6 ways to increase survey response rates
There is an art to finding the right words to use in your surveys. Or perhaps that should say: There is a science to designing surveys that get the best results, in the shortest amount of time and increase survey response rates.

Based on our many years of experience in conducting phone, email, web, social and mobile surveys, we have put together the VIRTUATell “Do’s and don’ts” for survey design.

If not done correctly the language that you use to phrase questions can ultimately have an unintended impact on the results you receive. Linguists and academics have spent decades researching the effect that different words, phrases and sentences can have on the way we think.

Design all surveys with the customer and their environment in mind

You are unable to monitor the environment in which your survey is being completed but you DO know if an SMS survey will be read on a mobile phone or an automated phone survey will be heard via a telephone, so tailor the survey for that medium. SMS surveys should be short, online surveys should be well designed and easy to read and Phone surveys should be worded to be easily understood via the ear.

Put the scale after the question

If using inbound or outbound telephone surveys (vSurveys, as we call them) put the scale AFTER the question. This is 90% easier for the brain to be presented with the proposition (the question they have to evaluate) followed by the scale they have to select from, rather than the other way around.  This alone will make sure you increase survey response rates.

Keep to the scales you use the same, where possible

When designing surveys, it is imperative to remember that the respondents are helping you out. Therefore, try to keep their mental stress to a minimum. Switching from a question that asks for a numerical rating (1-5, 1-10 or the NPS score, 0-10) to one, that rates levels of satisfaction (Very Satisfied, Satisfied, Dissatisfied, Very Dissatisfied), to one that seeks to ascertain how closely a customer agrees with a statement (Strongly agree, agree, disagree, strongly disagree), is mentally demanding for them and likely to be off-putting so try and keep scales consistent. This is especially true when using phone (vSurveys) or mobile (mSurveys) surveys where the time available to fully understand what is being presented is short.

If you have to change scoring scales, keep those questions together. For example, if you have four 1-5 questions and a Net Promoter question, put the Net Promoter first or last and not amongst the other questions.

Avoid using idioms and slang

Your customers may be foreign-born or may have a learning difficulty that prevents them from distinguishing between metaphor and literal meaning. Idioms and slang can cause confusion and arguably can sound unprofessional.

But that doesn’t mean that colloquial language should be avoided – especially when using phone surveys. In fact, it is worth considering how a more relaxed and conversational tone could be used to help put respondents at ease and make them feel less as though they are undergoing a test.

Capture verbatim recordings and open comments, especially as the final questions

These open questions give the respondent the chance to say what is on their mind, in their words and are often the most valuable content available to you. DO NOT use them for SMS surveys (which should only be a single question).

When asking for comments via an open message box or a verbatim recording comment, don’t ask leading questions. For journalists grilling political candidates that may be the quickest way to get at the truth. For your survey the act of suggesting an answer in the question is likely to bias your results and make them an inaccurate reflection of your customer’s experience.

Finally, KEEP THE SURVEY SHORT!

At VIRTUATell, we campaign using our KISKIS method, to keep surveys short and we don’t assume the respondent has limitless time to answer our questions. Your feedback audience has less and less time available and if you do not join this movement towards shorter surveys, you will be collecting feedback – and basing decisions – only on those that have unlimited time!

If you DO need more than 4 or 5 questions answered, cycle, randomise and spread the questions over multiple respondents or contact VIRTUATell to help you design your feedback campaign. A short survey will result in the respondent being happy to answer another one sometime – a long survey penalises them for helping you out.  This single act will make sure you increase survey response rates and get customers to give you multiple survey feedback.

For more information CLICK HERE to Contact VIRTUATell and find out more.

Why Use Net Promoter Score to increase customer satisfaction and why should I use it?

Why Use Net Promoter Score to increase customer satisfaction and why should I use it?

Why Use Net Promoter Score ™ (NPS) to increase customer satisfaction

Do you know what proportion of your customers would recommend your product or services to their friends? And does this number outweigh those people who have had a bad experience with your company? The difference between these two numbers is known as your Net Promoter Score and is one of the most vital pieces of data that will determine your future growth as many VIRTUATell clients know.

To calculate the Net Promoter Score your customers are divided into three groups depending on their scoes following a field visit or a call to your customer service department: There are ‘Promoters’ who are loyal to one brand and enthusiastically encourage their friends and work colleagues to use your business. Some are ‘Passive’ consumers whose custom can be courted by special offers and lower prices. And finally there will be ‘Detractors’ – who have had a bad experience with the company that has not been rectified – who will dissuade those they know from shopping with you. The more Promoters you have in comparison to Detractors, the higher your Net Promoter Score will be.

According to Bain & Company, Fred Reichheld and colleagues were researching how to improve customer satisfaction surveys, to ensure that the lessons learned from their results could be communicated to front-line staff and actioned much quicker than they currently were. After analysing the data and testing a variety of responses they discovered there was one, ultimate question which delivered the most trustworthy results:

When they asked customers the ‘ultimate question’ their responses powerfully correlated to predicting future repurchasing behaviour. Companies who knew the answer to the ‘ultimate question’ could predict the loyalty of their customers, and therefore predict future growth.

The Net Promoter Score of Amazon, Rackspace, Harley Davidson and Dell (all stable, growing businesses) are all between 50 and 80 percent, meaning that their satisfied customer are helping to market your business for you, for free!

If you want to join the elite group of efficient businesses with a satisfied and growing customer base you too need contact VIRTUATell to learn how to maximise the capture of your own Net Promoter Score and establish a deeper understanding of your customer relationships and help communicate this vital information to your customer facing staff.

Use VIRTUATell and the Ultimate Question to grow your ultimate business!

 

Net Promoter, Net Promoter Score, and NPS are trademarks of Satmetrix Systems, Inc., Bain & Company, Inc., and Fred Reichheld