Derek Frome

In Part 1 of this series we discussed some basic things you can do to increase survey response rates. With those basic principles understood, we can now move toward getting some of the smaller, more tactical details right.
Assuming you’ve followed the advice in Part 1 and your customer has opened the invitation, let’s talk about ways to get respondents to take the next step and complete your survey.
Below are 5 tips to help you make this happen:
1. No distractions.
This is not the place for links to your Twitter or Facebook pages – the only link should be to the survey itself. Pretend that your customer has only one click to give that day, and it’s your job to make sure they click through to your survey.
2. Brevity is the soul of clicks.
Like you, your customers get way too much email. Respect their time and keep your invitation text brief: no more than a couple short paragraphs should suffice.
Make the call to action clear by offsetting the survey URL (or HTML “click here” button) between paragraphs, finish with a quick conclusion and a relevant signature, and always run the text itself through the appropriate internal channels to ensure brand and message consistency.
3. Go to HTML*
These days, plain text emails with a single link are more likely to come from a distressed Nigerian prince than a company seeking feedback from its customers. Customers expect HTML invitations on desktop and mobile, and you need to deliver. Again, work with the right internal groups (think design and marketing) to ensure brand consistency, but keep it clean and clear.
It must be noted, however, that HTML invitations should always be backed up by a plain text version in case the customer’s email client does not support HTML.
4. *But please don’t over-do it.
Do you know that person whose email signature has 18 images and takes up half a page? Have you ever clicked one of those umpteen links? I didn’t think so.
HTML is a powerful tool that must be used carefully. Images and text formatting must be used only to make the invitation visually appealing and appropriately branded – anything else is fluff that increases load times and must be eliminated. When in doubt, simplify!
5. Make it personal.
Which sounds better – “Dear Valued Customer” or “Dear Mr. Frome”? If your customer thinks they are going to be treated like Customer #298357 instead of as an individual with important feedback, their incentive to take your survey decreases dramatically.
At a minimum, customize the salutation. If it makes sense, include specific information from their transaction (such as the name of the product or service they purchased) to indicate that you are familiar with them as an individual and intend to ask them for specific and meaningful feedback.
Finally, it bears saying that there is no magic formula for writing the perfect email invitation. This is an area where you can experiment and iterate, tweaking your invitation over time to see how your customers respond to different messages.
Now that we have your customers clicking through to the survey, stay tuned for Part 3, where we will examine how to reduce abandonment of the survey itself.
Photo Credit: William Brawley