In many contexts you say that size does not matter, but that does not apply to customer satisfaction surveys. Actually, there are two parameters where size is essential – but in very different ways.
Let’s keep our eye on the objective: The purpose of a customer satisfaction survey is always to uncover the experience the customer has of your business. In order to make the survey’s key findings valid, you depend on a high enough response rate to make the conclusions representative methodically speaking. You need a huge pile of responses to give you something to work with and draw your conclusions from.
And this is where the fun starts: Do not make your survey design so comprehensive that the respondents give up along the way because they either run out of time or patience.
In addition to the length of your questionnaire, there are six other parameters you should keep in mind when designing your customer satisfaction survey. They are:
1. Respect your receiver
Remind yourself that you are generally the “weak” party – meaning that you depend on the other party taking time out to help you. The respondents’ time is precious, so it is your job to convince them that it makes sense to complete the questionnaire.
Make an effort to explain why you are conducting the survey, and what you intend to use the results for. Remember to look at it through the eyes of the customers: How will the results you gain from the survey benefit them or their company? If that is clear, they will be more inclined to respond.
2. Be honest about time consumption
No one likes to waste time. Being lured into participating in something that “only takes three minutes of your time” when in reality it is closer to 15 minutes is incredibly annoying. Be realistic about the time consumption – you will get much more information from a short survey that the respondents complete than a thorough survey where they drop out along the way, or where they pollute your data with random answers because they are hurrying through the last part of it.
Make a framework for the length of your customer satisfaction surveys – for example, you can introduce a maximum time consumption of 10 minutes. Maybe you could even go for a few minutes less; it will most likely have a positive effect on the response rate.
3. Get your timing straight
When you send out your customer satisfaction survey does matter. However, it is difficult to tell you when exactly is the best time, so you will have to test the waters. At People & Performance, we have learned that questionnaires sent out around lunchtime often do well on the B2B market. But there is no guarantee that the same applies to your company. Test different times of the day, different days of the week and sending surveys out during and around weekends and holidays – analyse and see when your success rate is highest.
4. Remember to optimise for mobile phones
Mobile first. You have heard that, right? We tend to use our mobile phones more and more to go online, check our e-mails, read the paper, buy coffee and much more. And the same trend goes for completing questionnaires. Make sure that your survey is optimised for mobile phones – make sure the design is responsive, that pictures are shown correctly, that the size of buttons is right and other technical features. If you do not, you risk leaving the customer with a poor user experience of your otherwise excellent questionnaire.
5. Keep your lists clean
The quality of the information you have on your customers is vital for the quality of data you collect. Spend resources on cleaning and updating your e-mail and telephone lists regularly so your e-mails and text messages actually reach the intended receiver. It may be an extensive and time-consuming part of the job to procure valid data, but we promise you that your response rates will thank you for it.Sometimes it may be relevant to segment the customers, for example from information on geography, number of employees or industry. This segmentation is relevant, because it may increase the value of the subsequent analysis and follow-up, because you will know exactly whom to target with your efforts.
6. Remember feedback
Assuming that you have convinced a group of customers to help you, you owe them at least a thank you and maybe a gift in the form of applicable knowledge. Is it possible to translate the knowledge you have acquired with their help to something that is valuable to them?
You will often be able to make a report showing general trends that may be of actual value to at least the B2B customers. In this way, a customer satisfaction survey that was originally intended to strengthen your business, may also result in a report or another product contributing to them developing their business. Just the fact that you give your customers feedback on the survey may contribute to strengthening your relationship.
People buy feelings, not things
Keep in mind that the customer satisfaction survey is a touch point on the customer journey, just like other points where you are in contact or in dialogue with the customers. The impression you leave the customers with plays a significant role in the way they perceive you and your company. Just as it is important for them not to walk out of your store or your conference room feeling irritated, it is also important that they do not close (or delete) your e-mail feeling that you are wasting their time.
On the other hand, a questionnaire is an opportunity for you to send a signal that you take them and their business seriously. It is therefore vital that you use a professional and well-thought-through approach when you design, execute and follow up on your survey.
Good luck with your customer satisfaction survey!