A customer satisfaction survey is a powerful tool in receiving feedback about what your customers are really thinking: what they like and don't like, what makes them come back to buy from you again, and what turns them away. However, surveys won't do you any good if no one fills them out. Here are a few suggestions to increase your chances of getting results with your customer surveys.
Make it easy. The easier a customer satisfaction survey is to complete, the more likely someone is to complete the survey. For example, an email that contains a direct link to the survey is easy, but a pop up window that comes up while a visitor to your website is browsing a certain page is even easier. Less easy would be a phone call or a website address provided on a receipt, so that the customer has to actually type it in rather than just clicking on a link.
Make it short. The less time a customer will need to spend completing your survey the more likely he or she will be willing to fill it out. A simple customer satisfaction survey might take as little as 30 seconds to complete, while a more involved survey could take two or three minutes without turning the customer off from it. Be cautious with the longer surveys: Unless you are offering an incentive, the longer your survey, the more likely your customers are to click out or hang up without completing it.
Tell customers what to expect. Your customers will be more likely to complete your survey if they know what to expect, such as how long it will likely take them and what the survey is about. This information should be readily available on your invitation to take the customer satisfaction survey, whether your invitation is a pop up window, an email, or a note on a sales receipt.
Enter customers who participate into a cash drawing. There's almost no better way to ensure that customers participate in your customer satisfaction survey than offering them the possibility of a cash incentive. People love contests, and the opportunity to win a cash prize in exchange for a few short minutes of their time will seem like a great deal to most. Alternatively, you could also offer coupons or gift cards as prizes.
Design your customer satisfaction survey around a topic that you know will get responses. Last year, eBay did a series of surveys on a number of topics that people were fussing about, such as rising fees and feedback concerns. Despite the lengthy surveys, the responses must have been overwhelming, because the company has made many changes in their fees and policies over the past year. Sending surveys out on topics that you know your customers feel strongly about is a good way to ensure results; no one is going to turn down the opportunity to give you a piece of their mind!
Send your surveys to customers who have a vested interest in your company. For example, one of the reasons the eBay surveys were so successful is because sellers are so invested in the company: If eBay continues to raise their fees, many members will be unable to continue selling on eBay. Similarly, if you are thinking about making changes to your business your regular customers have the most invested in your business, therefore they would be the most likely to answer a survey on the subject.
Make your customers feel like their responses are valued and important. People like to feel that what they have to say is important. In the invitation to take the survey make sure to tell the recipient that their opinions are valuable to you, and what they have to say could have an impact on decisions you make about the business.
Getting results from your customer satisfaction survey requires you to pay attention to many different factors. Making the survey short and easy is important, but probably the best way to ensure that customers answer your surveys is to offer some sort of incentive. Incentive could be as simple as giving your customers a chance to influence the way the company does things, or as involved as offering a drawing with cash prizes or coupons. Your customers are busy people with many responsibilities, but if you sweeten the deal they are more likely to take time out to answer.
Andy West is a writer for NBRI, a company specialized in preparing a customer satisfaction survey for any business looking to enhance customer relationships. For more information please visit NBRII.com.