Too few responses to your customer satisfaction surveys is your kryptonite. Lack of input from your customers puts you on the shortlist to deliver customer experiences that don’t meet expectations.
Your customer satisfaction surveys give you a channel to solicit authentic feedback from your customers, so you get actionable insights to improve your customer experience. And that improvement to your customer experience comes with more loyal customers who drive better impacts to your bottom line. In fact, of the companies who work to improve their customer experience, 84 percent see an increase in revenue.
But here’s the catch: Without enough customer sentiment and data to back your decision-making, you’re in the dark about what will actually make your customers’ experience better. You’re picking and choosing what to fix, but you’re doing it based on your company’s perceptions, not your customers. And the data shows those perceptions vary significantly.
You need your customers’ input (and more of it) to truly optimize their journey. And you need their input to maximize the dollars you invest into your CX.
To help you gather more representative data, here are seven ways to encourage customers to take their satisfaction surveys.
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1. Ask them, from a person to a person.
Encourage agents to ask your customers for feedback in lieu of sending a bot to complete the task afterward. In a world of automated requests and responses, this personal touch goes a long way.
Coach your agents to ask politely, and write up a few examples to help your team be more intentional with their word choice. In these person-to-person situations, your agents should use “I” and “you” words instead of asking on behalf of the company.
Saying, “If you have a minute to fill out a quick survey, I would really appreciate your feedback” makes your customers feel helpful. Whereas saying, “If you have a minute to fill out a quick survey, we would really appreciate your feedback” changes the tone ever so slightly. Then, it becomes your agent completing a task for your company rather than your agent asking for a personal favor. And that diminishes the intimacy of the request.
2. Optimize your time-to-send.
Timing is everything when it comes to customer surveys. Send your satisfaction surveys while interactions are still fresh in your customers’ minds, so they can recall the details. That way the feedback you get more accurately reflects their experience.
For phone surveys, keep customers on the line right after an interaction. Your likelihood of a response is much higher than if you’d trigger a robocall from an unknown number a few hours later. I don’t know about you, but I send nearly all unknown numbers to voicemail these days. And if the voicemail is an automated response asking me to fill out a survey, I’m not going to dedicate the time and effort to call back.
When it comes to text-based surveys, like the ones you send via email and SMS, aim to send surveys up to 15 minutes after your customer’s most recent service interaction. The quicker you can deliver the survey, the more likely you are to get responses.
3. Offer the value first, then ask.
Your CSAT surveys are for the benefit of your customers. They’re important for your company, sure, but that importance comes from the ability to take customer feedback and turn it into improvements for your customers. So, show your customers that the survey is about them.
Describe the value of filling out the survey, first, then ask them to fill it out. Explain why feedback is so important for your company and ensure your customers that you read and analyze every response your customers submit. Then, show that you compile all the responses and address your customers’ most pressing needs.
This is your customers’ opportunity to have a voice and share their input. Make sure you offer up the right level of awareness about the survey process, first. If you start by asking for a response, you indicate the importance to your company, not to your customers.
4. Explain the time commitment up front.
Be as clear and concise as you can when you set customer expectations. Tell your customers how much time they need to block out to complete the survey you send them.
Right now, if I search the word “survey” in my email inbox, 28 customer surveys with time commitments ranging from 30 seconds to 20 minutes pop up. I need to know where your survey falls on that spectrum, so I can decide if the time cost is worth the perceived value.
(Hint: If you explain the value to your customers and keep your surveys short and sweet, the time commitment is worth it!)
Let’s look at a quick example:
“Hey, thanks for reaching out for help. Our customer service team is always here for you, and we use your feedback to make your experience better.
Please take 30 seconds to fill out this two-question survey about your recent experience. We really appreciate your input!”
Here, you set the expectation that in only 30-seconds, your customers can impact their future level of service. And you reinforce that time commitment by explaining the survey is only two questions. When we’re talking time costs, that proves a significant ROI for your customers.
5. Tailor your delivery to your customers’ channel preference.
Meet your customers where they are, so they can respond to customer satisfaction surveys with minimal effort. If a customer typically reaches out via live chat, send them a pop-up survey in the chat window after your agent closes their case. If another customer always opts for email, a follow-up email with a survey link will get better results than a follow-up phone call.
Even though CSAT surveys benefit your customers, asking for a response is still asking for a favor. You’re asking customers to take time out of their busy lives, so knock down barriers to make it easier for them to deliver on that favor.
6. Adjust your frequency.
Don’t press send after every single interaction. Use intelligent customer data to inform when you send your surveys. Let’s say your customer called in three times last week about the same issue. Triggering a survey after each of those interactions would create a poor experience for him. It would feel impersonal, and quite frustrating to ask for a response when he’s still struggling with an unresolved issue.
Instead of triggering a survey or getting an agent to ask after every interaction, set a rule so surveys go out after a case has been closed. And, if you’re automating your surveys, include filters that take your customers’ history into consideration. Then, you’re making sure your customers’ needs are met, first. And if it took three interactions to close the case, your customer has the opportunity to share that with your team.
7. Prove that you act on the feedback you find (instead of incentivizing).
Instead of incentivizing customers to take surveys with monetary rewards or coupons, show customers the impact of the responses they give. When you make improvements based on customer feedback, announce those improvements to your customers. Let them know that after 20 requests for an improved IVR or new communication channel, you made the changes to better their experience.
This will set the precedent that customer feedback does matter and that you act on it. Knowing that their input makes a difference in future experiences, customers will be more apt to share genuine responses.
Alternatively, incentivizing survey responses can lead to insincere feedback. It can skew your results with unintentional biases. You leave it to chance that your customers are only responding to seek a reward, not to give authentic feedback. Nancy’s service experience was so quick she may not even remember the interaction, but she jumps at the chance for a gift card and concocts some responses to get the reward.
To get representative data to support your investment priorities and contact center changes, you need more than just a handful of responses to your satisfaction surveys. The more responses you can get to your surveys, the more complete your data will be to shape your decisions.
Creating better relationships with your customers is a good first step to earning more feedback. See how with our guide to more conversational customer relationships.