Oct_17_2013Surveys are a fantastic way to keep your finger on your customer base’s pulse – uncovering opportunities to resolve service issues and better meet clients’ needs. Not surprisingly, the more carefully you plan your surveys, the higher the quality of your results will be.

Use these tips to create a survey that gets answered – and provides the answers you need:

General Customer Service Survey Tips

Here are my top tips from an earlier post on how to create a killer customer service survey:

  • Ask your most important questions first (in case clients don’t take the time to complete the entire questionnaire). 
  • Offer opportunities for open-ended responses, so that your clients aren’t limited by rating scales or yes/no responses.
  • Actively solicit both positive and negative feedback.
  • Think like a customer when writing your questions, targeting their biggest “pain points” in staffing and the service you deliver.
  • Put the survey where clients will find it. The more “at bats” your survey has, the higher your response rates will be.

Tips for Increasing Response Rates and Quality of Information

  • Limit frequency. Online surveys are everywhere these days. Ask clients for feedback too often, and they may provide none at all. At the most, send out formal client surveys quarterly.
  • Explain the WIIFM. Your clients will be much more likely to respond when they believe their answers will make a real difference (especially if they were dissatisfied). Spell out how their feedback will be used and how you will follow up if they’ve experienced problems.
  • Get to the point. You clients are busy – make every minute of their time count by keeping questions relevant and length short. It’s fine to start with a “warm-up” question or two; but to get the highest response rate, limit the survey length to five minutes or less. (Average respondents can complete five closed-ended – or two open-ended – questions per minute).
  • Keep questions simple. Avoid complex language and/or sentence structure, or questions that unduly tax your clients’ memories.
  • Use neutral language. Be careful not to lead your clients. To deliver truly shareworthy service, you must know what you’re doing right – and what you must improve. Structure questions neutrally so that you receive not only the responses you want to hear, but those you really need to hear as well.
  • Make it fun! Use a conversational tone when crafting your questions. Reduce survey fatigue and abandonment rates by injecting a little humor where appropriate.
  • Final note: Be careful with incentives. Motivating clients with incentives can improve your response rate, but it can also favorably skew feedback. Tread with caution in this area, and only offer a nominal reward for participation if you think it’s necessary.

These tips will help you create a more powerful survey that improves both the quantity and quality of results you receive – so you know what’s really on your clients’ minds. When you know what your clients are thinking, you are able to fix more problems, retain more clients, win more business and demonstrate your commitment to delivering what they truly want.
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