3 customer survey mistakes

Every company, regardless of size or industry, must use surveys to improve their customer experience.

When it comes to customer surveys, I believe there are three types of companies:

The “surveys don’t work” company: This company never collects customer feedback because they are short sighted and don’t know what to do with the data. They often cover up these challenges by saying “surveys don’t work.”

The passive company: A company who passively collects feedback but lets the data sit in a virtual storage unit which brings no value to the customer or the business. In this scenario, I would recommend not collecting feedback at all. You must be willing to go all in.

The admired company: An organization who obsesses over giving their customers a voice, analyzing the data, sharing the knowledge throughout the company and making operational improvements to better their business.

Which company are you?

One of the greatest challenges in using email surveys is having your customers open and complete them. It’s become a habit of consumers to immediately delete these emails and move on.

Why is this?

We have been trained to do so. Companies have sent us surveys for ages only to do very little with them. Think about it. How many times have you completed an email survey? How often have you had a company follow up with you? During my time at 1-800-GOT-JUNK? our goal was to respond to all customers within one business day after receiving their feedback. In fact, we had a 90/1 rule which meant that our goal was to respond to 90% of customers within one business day.

By responding to customers quickly, we built trust and created peace of mind that if they took the time to respond to our survey we would pay the respect by responding back to them. This practice was not only reserved for complaints.

There are three key reasons why your customers aren’t completing your customer surveys.

Not creating an engaging and authentic subject line

Take a look at your email subject line. Do you know what it is? Remove yourself as an owner or employee and ask yourself,

“Would I open this?”

Case Study #1: Let’s use Rogers communication (Canada’s leading telecommunications company) as an example. As of last week, this is their subject line.

customer survey Rogers

“Your Feedback is Requested – Rogers Customer Experience” is mundane and doesn’t make me want to engage. Also, it makes me feel that they are only asking for my feedback to serve their own agenda. You need to have a subject line that resonates with your customers and makes them feel that the request is to serve them. For me, an email subject line such as “Did we wow you? Please tell us in five minutes” or “How can we improve? Tell us in three minutes” would have influenced me to complete their customer survey.

What would you recommend Rogers change their subject line to? Leave your response in the comment section below.

The team at Crazy Egg have put together a great post to give you some examples to recreate your subject line. Review your current customer survey email subject line, do some A/B testing and see what converts best.

Not keeping the customer survey lean

Personally, I won’t fill out any customer survey that is longer than ten questions. This is part of the reason why the Net Promoter Score (NPS) has become popular among companies of all sizes. You want your survey to be long enough to give you insight into how to improve your business but short enough not to cause “survey fatigue” with your customers.

Case Study #2: Qantas airlines is a fantastic example of keeping their customer survey short, direct and to the point. As you can see, they also use NPS.

Quantas customer survey

Earlier this year, a commercial real estate company reached out to me for my customer experience expertise. They were asking dozens of questions with NPS being one of them. They were hesitant to solely focus on NPS because they were scared that they wouldn’t get the feedback they needed.

I immediately recognized their problem. They were gathering customer feedback for their own agenda. They wanted to gather insight into what they believed was most important. Part of the reason why NPS is so valuable is because you are able to ask two questions (or a few), sit back and wait to hear what’s most important to your customers.

After all, isn’t that the power of the Voice of the Customer? Annette Franz, voice of the customer expert and Director of VOC consulting at Confirmit, wrote a great post titled “Does It Pay to Listen to the Voice of the Customer?”

Take a look at your current survey, are you asking too many questions causing your company to receive too few responses?

Not making the experience digital and mobile responsive

It’s 2014 and I still see physical customer survey boxes. In order to increase survey complete rates we need to make it easy for our customers to do so. Systems such as geofencing and iBeacon will allow us to gather feedback from our customers in a way that is much easier for them and us.

If you are currently using physical boxes, consider these challenges. You’re asking your customers to spend too much time writing out their comments. You will have to have a SPA manually sort through each comment, categorize them and try to make sense of it all. Plus, it’s not easy to share customer feedback throughout your company, both good and bad, when it’s delivered in such a fragmented way.

Case Study #3: CLIENTpulse

CLIENTpulse is software to power customer feedback. What I appreciate about this software is their UX, their clean UI and that it is mobile responsive.. If I were to receive a customer survey from a company powered by CLIENTpulse the likelihood is that I would engage which would increase the probability that I would respond. As you can see, the CLIENTpulse software is easy to use on mobile phones and tablets.

Clientpulse Mobile

Consider it a cardinal sin if you don’t optimize your survey for mobile phones and tablets. Don’t ask your customers to squint or zoom to complete your customer survey.

By effectively leveraging customer surveys, hosting customer advisory boards and designing your customer experience your company will be on the path to creating a customer centric company.

Tell me. What other features do you look for in an email customer survey? Leave your comments below.

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