This week we feature an article by Gaetano DiNardi who discusses how many customer service surveys are not giving you proper data and suggests how to improve them. Be honest – even if you are a customer service professional who relies on surveys for your data, when you see someone on the street asking survey […]
This week we feature an article by Gaetano DiNardi who discusses how many customer service surveys are not giving you proper data and suggests how to improve them.
Be honest – even if you are a customer service professional who relies on surveys for your data, when you see someone on the street asking survey questions, how many times do you cross to the other side? And when you are asked to stay on the phone to provide answers to a brief survey after a customer interaction, do you ever do it?
Thousands of dollars are spent in creating clear surveys and questions and then in the analysis of pertinent data from those surveys. But can that data be trusted?
Ultimately the percentage of total consumers that take a survey is not even close to being truly representative of your customer base. Surveygizmo estimates that an average rate of return on external surveys is 10% – very shy of the majority of those who experience your service. Because of this, results cannot be taken at face value.
Who takes your survey:
Then those in the 10% who DO take your survey are individuals that have the time or inclination to do so. This means it may heavily favor those that have had either very positive or very negative experiences, as well as certain demographics, like retirees, who tend to have a little more time on their hands to respond.
Are they being honest?
One of the other problems with surveys, in general, is that you cannot necessarily rely on the honesty of the person taking it. Incentives can be nice, but close to 35% of respondents who say that they only take a survey because of an incentive. These people may not actually have an opinion or vested interest other than to complete the survey quickly and receive their prize.
Are you being clear?
Another difficulty with survey responses is that questions can be framed poorly. This means that respondents may answer incorrectly simply because they didn’t understand what was being asked of them.
So how do you create a survey that more people will take and that won’t slant toward a specific demographic of deeply invested or conspicuously available people?
Tips for building the best survey
The best surveys have the best questions
Possibly the most important element of your survey is the way you frame your questions. Make your questions clear and easy to quantify with the ability to use the data in ways that are helpful for you. Customer service is a qualitative experience, your survey needs to quantify that experience in order to be as data-driven as possible.
Use a rating scale
Nextiva has put together a series of 60+ questions crafted to perfectly fit into the three most common rating scales:
Not only do they give templates for questions you could use that correspond with these scales, but there is a quick infographic to reference that explains the benefits of each question type.
Now, a clever idea: ONE QUESTION EACH
The problem outlined here has to do with how hard it is to get people to answer a series of survey questions, but some outlets have solved this issue with a clever strategy: just ask one.
Asking only one question to each consumer, and making it part of the usual workflow, gleans a better overall response. That question does not have to be the same for each respondent. If you are trying to get answers to ten questions, for example, you can ask one rotating question per person.
Obviously, it is necessary to have a large customer base in order for this strategy to succeed, but those who have used it have found that their total return is much greater per question than the 10% that would usually answer. Survey services have pointed to an astonishing 66% improvement on return.
The best thing about this data is that it is more likely to reflect a larger demographic, capturing thoughts from people across the spectrum, rather than those who simply don’t mind be bothered or have a particular angle. Armed with this more reliable data, you can really make substantive changes without fear of the idea that your information is terribly skewed.
While people don’t generally love to take time out of their day to take your survey, they will likely answer one quick question without even really noticing. The idea that you can get an honest response with one click might be the answer you are looking for.
Gaetano is the Director of Demand Generation at Nextiva with a proven track record of success working with B2B SaaS brands like Sales Hacker, Outreach.io, and Pipedrive. Gaetano leverages a unique hybrid of expertise in both SEO & Content Strategy to win business results. Outside of marketing, Gaetano is an accomplished music producer and songwriter. To get in touch, follow him on Twitter via @gaetano_nyc
For more articles from Shep Hyken and his guest contributors go to customerserviceblog.com.
Read Shep’s latest Forbes article: Why The M In CMO Should Be An X
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