Customer Survey Mistakes that Will Kill Response Rates

Advise your clients to consider these key points to improve response rates and make the most of their customer survey solution investment.

customer survey

Customer surveys are one of those things that seem simple but actually take some know-how to do right. It’s one thing to ask customers for feedback. It’s another, however, to do it in a way that gets a healthy response rate and data that leads to actionable insights.

When you sell customer survey solutions, you can add value by providing your clients with the guidance they need to get the most out of their investment and ensuring they know what not to do if they want to maximize the number of people taking the survey.

Customer Survey Mistakes to Avoid

  • Conducting long surveys – Obviously, people need to respond to the survey to provide insights to your client. And a sure way to quench participation is with a lengthy survey. Survey Monkey research found that 78 percent of people are willing to spend 10 minutes, at most, on a survey — and 45 percent will only spend five minutes. Your client may want a lot of customer feedback, but the best strategy is to keep surveys short.
  • Ignoring timing – It may be convenient for your client to send out an online survey on Monday morning, hoping to have results by a staff meeting on Wednesday, but that may not align with their customers’ schedules. SurveyMonkey’s research also found that people are most likely to complete online surveys on Thursdays and Fridays from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Pacific Time, but each business will find the survey sweet spot for their customers. Encourage your clients to determine peak times and make the most of them.
  • Being ambiguous A survey has to address a specific goal. Your client shouldn’t just ask random questions and expect to find value in the results. Advise your client to set a goal, plan and then ask relevant questions. Also, remind your clients that surveys aren’t the time to be vague. They need to ask questions to help them learn precisely what they want to know. Confusing questions will hurt participation and the value of the data they receive.
  • Expecting something for nothing – If your client is struggling to get customer survey participation, you may want to suggest that they offer an incentive for completing the survey, like a discount on a future purchase or entry for a chance to win a larger prize. In addition, customers may be more likely to participate if they get something in return for taking the time to provide feedback.
  • Keeping it all business – There’s no reason why taking a survey has to be drudgery. Consider ways to help your clients gamify the survey or add images or animation to make the survey a more pleasant experience while still reflecting the client’s brand image.
  • Not following up – Some customers may feel like responding to a survey is a waste of time because they never receive a thank you or responses to their comments. Instead, advise your clients to monitor survey participation and respond immediately. This strategy can also increase the overall value the customer survey solution provides, turning it from only a survey tool to a means of building better relationships and customer loyalty.

What is a Good Survey Response Rate?

Unless the survey’s goal is only to address individual customers’ immediate concerns, collecting data representing a significant portion of your client’s customer base is essential. For example, it would be illogical to base employee performance reviews, buying decisions, operational changes, or other business decisions on feedback from just a few customers.

To calculate a survey response rate, divide the number of people who took the survey by the number of people asked to take the survey x 100. In-store, for example, you can divide the number of people who took a survey at the checkout by the total number of paying customers – although that doesn’t take dissatisfied customers who left without making a purchase into account. Online, the entire pool could be all visitors to the e-commerce website who saw the survey link.

According to data compiled in this infographic shared by SurveyAnyplace, averages across all industries put the response rate for in-person surveys at 57 percent, email surveys at about 30 percent, online surveys at 29 percent, and in-app surveys at 13 percent.

Using the average can be helpful, but it’s more important for your client to evaluate their results and determine benchmarks that help them know when they’ve received feedback from a relevant number of responses from their customer base. In addition, avoiding common mistakes can help them get the number of answers they need.