While people feel compelled to be involved in the decision-making process of a company, and love to feel like their opinion makes a difference, the fact still stands: people don’t always want to complete customer service surveys. In fact, 72% of people feel like taking surveys interferes with their day-to-day use of a service, and 80% of them abandon taking a survey part of the way through.

In fact, in 2012, the Pew Research Center saw a response rate of just 9% to their surveys—a huge drop from the 36% completion rate they saw just 15 years earlier. If you’re involved with designing surveys at your company, you’ve probably seen a similar trend. Response rates to surveys are declining, almost universally.

So, the question is: How do you create a customer service survey that draws your customers in and then keeps them interested? Creating content that customers want to engage in has been every marketer’s challenge since the dawn of time, but there are many ways to create compelling customer service surveys that your customers are attracted to.

The first step is understanding who your customers are—have you already analyzed the different demographics of people that use your product and ask for customer service? If not, that is a key first step to making a customer service survey that speaks directly to their interest and compels them to participate. Start with an understanding of the primary groups that make up your customer base and then move on to making your customer service survey.

Know your customers

90% of consumers find personalization appealing. In fact, 80% say they’d be more likely to do business with a company that offers personalized approaches to their marketing. Understanding the basic groups of people that use your product or service is incredibly important as a first step to making compelling customer service surveys.

Understanding the specific desires and interests of your different customer groups allows you to craft surveys that meet those needs and desires, rather than blanketing everyone under one messaging style.

For example, SMS surveys might be very effective when surveying a younger demographic in the B2C sector, whereas sending an SMS to the account owner on an enterprise software account might not be appropriate. Using first names can also help to reassure customers that the survey is meant for them.

Determine which segments of your customer base you are going to send the survey to, first. If you’re planning on sending it out to everyone that has a customer service interaction, consider making a few separate surveys to specifically target your unique customer segments.

If you make your customer feel like you’re speaking directly to them and their motivations, they will be much more likely to take the survey to completion.

Create an enticing subject line

Between 2014 and 2018 the average office worker received about 90 emails a day—and that’s just to their work inbox. That doesn’t even include all of the promotional and personal emails that they receive day-to-day. Your subject line is the first opportunity that you have to really hook someone and catch their eye. There are three different archetypes for compelling subject lines: subject lines that ask questions, subject lines that highlight scarcity and subject lines that emphasize how-to. For example:

  • Did you love the support you received?
  • Hurry! This is the last chance to give feedback on your latest service interaction.
  • Get better service by telling us how we can improve.

By focusing on the benefit that someone can expect to receive by opening and reading your email, you catch their eye and get them in the door.

How to Write the Best Email Survey Subject Line

Learn how to entice your customers to actually open your next email survey.

Write a strong introduction

After they’ve opened your email because of your excellent subject line, it’s time to make them feel valued for their interest and explain what they can expect to get into with your survey. Start with a warm greeting that says thank you for opening the email and uses personalization to make the message seem tailored.

After that, introduce the concept of your customer service survey and why you are conducting it. If you work for a company that thrives on transparency, feel free to tell your customers what metrics you are hoping to better understand by sending out the survey. Go on to explain who the survey is for so that your customers can self-select if they fit within that category or not. The purpose here is to help your customer feel informed and involved—when they take the survey, they will do so because they felt empowered and made the choice to.

As you introduce the customer to the concept of the survey, make note of a few key aspects:

  • Commitment time. Your customer should have no question in their mind about how long the survey will take to complete. Time is incredibly valuable—if you don’t make the customer feel like you value their time, they’ll likely just ignore you. Surveys that are short and sweet, and can be completed within five minutes are going to be more compelling to more customers.
  • Possible incentive. Some companies choose to incentivize completion of their surveys. For example, you can enter participants in a drawing for a big prize, or give everyone that completes your survey a gift card. This is especially valuable if you have a long survey that requires more of a time investment. If you do choose to do this, you should let customers know what the incentive is and how they can get it.
  • A clear call-to-action. Use a button or some other easy-to-see element in your message that shows the customer how to take action on the information that you are telling them about. The harder it is to find the survey, the fewer full completions you will see.

Write clear questions

Nothing is more frustrating than going to take a survey and not seeing the answers available that you would like to give. Avoid confusing your customers by writing a clear set of questions that align around your goal for the survey. If you go into survey creation with a set metric in mind it can help to restrict your questions and give them focus—the best way to create a punchy, short survey.

Do not try to accomplish multiple different goals within one survey, as it will bloat your total number of questions, and lead to data that may not be as clear or incisive. Ask about one thing at a time, and keep your questions specific and targeted. For example, instead of saying “Are you satisfied?” say “Did Gina answer all of your questions today?”

Try to stick to just 5-10 questions in each survey—longer than that, and you’ll start to lose engagement, shorter than that and you miss out on key opportunities to gain more insight.

Conclusion on customer service surveys

Creating an engaging customer service survey takes deep knowledge about and commitment to your customer. Understanding your individual customer’s needs and catering your surveys towards them is a great first step into boosting the completion rates of your company’s targetted surveys. Create subject lines and messages that are attractive to the specific interests of your customer base and keep your surveys short, sweet and punchy in order to get the best engagement possible.

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