Shep Hyken's Customer Service Blog

How To Get More Customers To Take Your Surveys

There is a place I get my car worked on. They do a great job. The repair center’s employees are friendly and knowledgeable. The car always comes back cleaner than when it goes in for service. This is the way business should be done.

The head of the service department mentioned I would be getting a survey emailed to me and asked if I would take a few minutes to complete it. Sure enough, a day later the email survey showed up in my inbox. I will always remember the first survey. With that great experience, I was happy to show them a little love and give them positive feedback about how well they took care of me. So, I started the survey. There were some pretty good questions on that first page. And, more on the second page. By the time I got to the third page of the survey, I was experiencing Survey Fatigue. I was tired with this survey. I was already almost six or seven minutes into it, and it looked like I wasn’t even halfway to the end. This wasn’t a survey. It was a major homework assignment!

About a year later, it was time to go back for another oil change and routine maintenance. Once again, they provided stellar customer service. And, then a day later came that dreaded customer service survey – the same survey! I would have thought that maybe it might be different for a repeat customer. I told my friends about the ridiculously long survey and joked that it took longer to fill out the darn survey than to get the oil changed. By the way, I didn’t fill the survey out – and haven’t since the first one I filled out years ago.

What made me think about that story was that in the past few weeks several subscribers to our newsletter emailed me about how to get more responses to their customer surveys. That’s a great question, and here are two of my favorite ways to do so:

  1. First, don’t wait two weeks – or even two days – to send a survey. Consider getting the survey to customers within 24 hours while the experience is still fresh on their minds. Maybe even get it to them within just minutes. When I take an Uber, as soon as the ride is over I receive an email asking me to rate the driver and leave a tip, if appropriate. I respond every time.
  2. Second, don’t make the survey too long. You don’t want to frustrate the customer with Survey Fatigue. Consider short surveys that take one or two minutes to complete. A short NPS (Net Promotor Score) survey question with one or two follow-up questions that take a minute or so to complete will boost response numbers. If you want answers to more questions, create different surveys and rotate them as you send them to customers. Shorter is better. That same Uber survey just mentioned asks me to click on one through five stars, click on a few boxes, and if interested, I can leave a comment. Without the comment, the survey takes 15 seconds or less.

So, the next time you want customer feedback in the form of a survey, send it quickly and make it short. Then, watch for an increase in the number of customers who respond.

Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, keynote speaker, and New York Times bestselling business author. For information, contact 314-692-2200 or www.hyken.com. For information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs, go to www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken

(Copyright © MMXVII, Shep Hyken)

 
  1. But how short is short enough? How do you ask, which contact center channels companies use without mentioning them all in a multiple-choice question and without a blank text field, which would also require manual effort to sort?

    Just recently we ran a brief survey for contact centers with 6 questions – a few of them long ones, and didn’t get much traction with it:
    https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdenLxHW8GyhUC0nmdaRZ2JTgYL5U24fnENs4b0hZzSeKZBrw/viewform

    I wonder how I can make it better.

    • The right six questions may be short enough, but that could be pushing it. How long does it take to complete the survey? Maybe split the questions up into two surveys and alternate with your customers. If the survey makes your customers think too much, then you’re going to see less return. Good luck!

  2. Net Promoter Score ( NPS ) is the one Question does it all;

    ” Would you recommend our services to your family, friends, and colleagues ?”

    Have a score of 1 -10 with 0-6 being “Detractors’ 7-8 “Passives” 9-10 “Promotors” being the goal!

  3. One of the tactics in noticed that go really well with this strategy is giving something back to the customer for taking the survey. Business owners can opt for either gift cards or small products. For instance, Subway offers cookies to users who complete the survey on the website. Quite a tasty tactic I would say 🙂

    • I like that… a Tasty Tactic! “Sweetening” the request to take the survey with a tasty offer is a great way to thank a customer for a few minutes of his/her time.

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