Derek Frome

One topic that always comes up in the Medallia Client Services group where I work is how to increase survey response rates. Each additional survey response is an opportunity not only to forge a partnership with a customer, but also to uncover important insights and drive real improvements in the organization.
We’ve got tons of great nitty-gritty tactics to share, but first, in “Part I”, we lay the right groundwork so that your customers don’t immediately delete your survey invitations from their inboxes.
1. Survey quickly
Survey your customers as soon as possible after their transaction: within minutes of a small, simple purchase or within about 24 hours for a large, more complex one. Surveying quickly not only increases response rates but also is more accurate (since the interaction is fresh in customer’s mind), and can give your front-line employees an opportunity for impressively rapid customer recovery.
2. Don’t over-survey
Though there is no hard and fast rule, a good place to start is to survey no more than once every 90 days. Imagine if your neighborhood grocery store surveyed you every time you stopped in to pick up some milk. This would drive you nuts, and quite possibly out of the store. The customer should never feel as though she was surveyed recently – even better if she can’t remember the last time you surveyed her at all.
3. Be Precise
The survey experience (yes, the survey is still part of your customer’s experience!) should feel as if it is customized to each customer personally. Peppering every customer with a generic survey is a surefire way to annoy your happy and unhappy customers alike.
4. Respect the customer’s preferences
Make it simple and easy for customers who don’t want to be surveyed to unsubscribe – trust me, they weren’t going to fill out your survey anyway. One click should be all it takes. And never, ever (ever!) re-subscribe a customer if they don’t specifically request it.
5. Offer the survey on your customer’s terms
Make sure your survey transfers seamlessly from desktop to mobile device, the way your customers’ attention transfers. Your customer needs to be able to open your survey on her phone, answer a couple questions, take a call, go back and answer a couple more, then finish it on her laptop later that night.
This is 2013 and that should be common sense, but evidently it is not. Just last week, a financial institution that shall remain nameless sent me a survey that made me select microscopic check-boxes on my iPhone. I didn’t make it past the first page, and my feedback will forever remain a mystery to them.
In the business of customer experience management, small things make big things happen. Get these bedrock principles right, and you’ll be well on your way to a program that brings in more high-quality feedback from your customers.
 Photo Credit: Official U.S. Navy Imagery