Every single company wants a good customer survey that will successfully help them in gaining their clients’ input and feedback. Unfortunately, not many understand the subtle nuances that can stop them from being ignored, deleted, or, worse, marked as spam.
Customers tend to avoid surveys and, ironically, that often happens when they’re satisfied with your services. If they are displeased, it’s more likely that you will already know. Negative feedback is much more frequently expressed than positive opinions.
Your goal should never deter from its path. Customer surveys have just one purpose in mind: to persuade clients to offer you their feedback and suggestions on your product or services. It’s nothing more, nothing less. Keep that goal in mind and you’re headed in the right direction.
There a few basic rules on how to create a decent customer survey:
- Use a clear and enticing subject line. Your wording should be concise and accurate, preferably including your company’s name or the name of your company’s most famous employee. It has to be clickable. Otherwise you have failed the very first step of the process.
- Explain your purpose. Customers have to know why they are receiving your email. Perhaps they have shopped at your store or subscribed to your newsletter. Make sure to remind so it is clear that you did not purchased their email from a third party. That’s one way to be perceived as spam.
- Offer an honest deadline. It’s important to be as truthful as possible and resist the urge to oversell how short your survey is. Naturally, it’s much more tempting for customers to complete it if you only take 5 minutes of their day instead of 20 minutes, but it’s crucial to be honest the time involved. Anything below 10 minutes should not be considered a “short and quick survey”.
- Add an incentive. Draw their attention by including something beneficial for them. After all, the survey will be helping you better understand your clientele, and it will be much more convincing if you offer something in return.JC Penney’s customer survey, for example, offers the chance to win a gift card after completing it. Others might stick to discounts or other types of incentives.
- Include a call to action. A good CTA is a requirement in your customer survey, so be specific. It’s never as simple as “Click here”.
- Make sure to add a “Thank you!” at the end.
- Add the courtesy Unsubscribe link.
If you want more than a “decent customer survey”, you will have to take a few other factors into account that will make your email more appealing. These new tips for an excellent customer survey could help to avoid some of the common mistakes that even big brands still make.
- Focus On Them, Not On You
Many companies start the email with boasting and bragging about how excellent their services or products are. Resist the urge to do the same. They will not be persuaded by self-praise nor will it convince them to take your survey based on your word. In fact, they might just skip over that part entirely. It’s best to simply let your actions speak for themselves and, even more, make them understand that it’s their opinion that matters to you.
Add sections in your survey asking how they would improve your product or service or what other features they might like to see. You can be surprised. There have been several instances when companies realized that a majority of their customers did not completely understand how to use their products, that they could not find certain features, or even used them in ways they never imagined. Your customers can be a well of inspiration. Let them know that their suggestions and opinions matter!
- Master The Art of Persuasion
Not everyone understands the subtlety of persuasion and gentle manipulations that can be used. Something as simple as how you word your phrases could make a significant different in the responses you receive. Robert Cialdini, in his book “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Revised Edition” speaks about a Harvard study, in particular, that proved the validity this very crucial detail.
The scenario is simple: a person is trying to move further in line when waiting to use a copier machine.
When he asked “Can I use the copier?” of the people in front of him, 63% allowed him to cut in the line. However, when he phrased it “Can I use the copier because I need to make copies?” a whopping 94% of them let him go first. It’s an incredible subtle change in phrasing that is highly successful even though it’s virtually redundant to say. Everyone standing in that line needed the copier to make copies, obviously. And yet, it worked effectively.
It’s a principle you should use when phrasing your customer survey. Pick careful phrasing and learn the nuances and touches that make your email more compelling. Add reasons and persuasive arguments that could hint at your absolute need for their input.
- Fight The Bystander Effect by Getting Personal
Simply put, the Bystander Effect is a psychological phenomenon that observed the chances of a victim being helped are inversely related to the number of bystanders. That means that the more witnesses are around, the fewer the chances of one of them jumping in to help. This is due to issues such as diffusion of responsibility when one person would ignore a problem in thinking that someone else will deal with it. At the root of Bystander Effect is a very interesting concept that “Someone will do it instead of me because someone has to”.
The same principle applies to your customer survey. You may have an excellent starter line, and you may have mastered the art of persuasion as explained above, but you also need to add a personal touch. Even though you have explained and convinced your customer that their input is strongly needed and welcomed, they might brush it off. Why? Because they will think that someone else will help you instead of doing it themselves.
Avoid this phenomenon by getting subtly personal, adding their name or mentioning how you’re able to contact them. Include the address of the shop they’ve entered or the product they’ve purchased. Make sure they know it’s them you’re addressing, not your entire customer database.
- You Are Not Spam, So Don’t Look Like It
One of the main consequences to avoid is ending in the dreaded Spam folder of your customer’s email. There is no perfect formula that guarantees 100% conversion, but there are changes in structure to be made that could help. For one, be very careful of your email address when sending out your customer surveys. Avoid being too generic while using one with the company’s name, and instead offer an actual employee’s name that will bring both you and your client on the same level. Person-to-person has a higher likelihood of positive responses than business-to-person.
Do not forget that we’re in the 21st century and most people have learned the spam techniques of the late 90s. Treat your customers with respect. They are no longer fooled by words such as “FREE”, “Important message”, “$”, etc. In fact, they might even be repelled by it. As tempting as it might be, avoid using such phrases even if they are technically correct. Your survey may be free, and you may offer a monetary incentive, but it should not be how your email is marked.
There are millions of companies around the world who are still mastering the art of emails with customer surveys. Each one of them are continually working on it, updating, and constantly changing their technique. You should never forget to keep up and make the necessary changes, but always remember the subtle touches. Basic formats get basic results. Test and tune to find out what works for you!
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Amanda Wilks is a Boston University graduate and a Digital Marketing Strategist. She has a great interest in everything related to content marketing, online marketing and corporate and personal branding.