Missing Customer Feedback? 9 Tips for Effectively Promoting Your Customer Satisfaction Survey

November 2nd, 2017 | Isabella Steele | Customer Service | Blog Home
Missing Customer Feedback? 9 Tips For Effectively Promoting Your Customer Satisfaction Survey

It was a Friday afternoon and Rodrigo, my Uber ride, was pulling up in a black Chevrolet Onix. Like the other times I had used the controversial cab service, I popped him a smile and a casual greeting as I swung into the back seat of his car. “Candy?” Rodrigo offered me as he started driving. He nodded towards the cup holder, which held at least ten colorful lozenges. I thanked him and gobbled up my favorite flavor: cherry.

“You can have another one, if you’d like,” Rodrigo said kindly. “May I take your trash?” he reached for my crumpled candy wrapper, and dropped it into a small portable trash receptacle that hung to the right of his stick shift. I thanked him again, and told him that I was impressed with his service. “It helps me keep the car clean,” Rodrigo said with a smile. “Or else people would just leave candy wrappers everywhere.” I looked around—from his freshly vacuumed floor to his squeaky leather seats, his car truly was in impeccable condition.

As he pulled up to my destination, Rodrigo asked only one thing of me: “If you wouldn’t mind filling out the customer satisfaction survey and rating my service today, I would really appreciate it,” he said.

What is a Customer Satisfaction Survey?

A customer satisfaction survey is a metric that helps companies and/or employees gauge the satisfaction level of their customers. In short, it is a questionnaire that is sent out to customers asking them about their experience. Depending on how the survey is designed, customers can convey their opinions by providing ratings, answering multiple choice questions, by filling out text boxes, or even by giving vocal feedback.

These surveys can reach customers as any of the following:

  • Emails
  • Phone calls (usually immediately following a service experience)
  • Post-chat windows
  • Pop-ups on mobile apps and websites
  • Customer interviews
  • Focus groups

Customer satisfaction surveys are as unique and varied as their distribution methods. That being said, they can vary greatly in length and the time that it takes to complete them. The general rule, however, is that the shorter and easier to answer the survey, the more likely customers are to provide their feedback.

Why Does the Customer Satisfaction Survey Matter?

Customer satisfaction surveys can be used to measure how customers feel about a number of different subjects. This may include the following:

  • The quality of service they have received
  • The speed of the service
  • Whether the customers’ expectations were met
  • Whether the customers’ issues were resolved
  • The manner or attitude of the agent
  • How likely they are to recommend the company’s product/services to a friend
  • A space for any additional comments or feedback

The customer satisfaction survey is an important metric for everyone involved in the company. It helps customer service agents see how they can improve their service. It helps supervisors see if the proper training and resources are being made available to agents. It helps corporate see if there are any management, policy, product, or system related problems that need to be addressed to improve the customer experience. It is also important for customers, whose feedback can become actionable steps towards improvement. Ultimately, by creating a dialogue with customers, the customer satisfaction survey can lead to a better customer experience in the future, and can actually increase customer loyalty and brand engagement.

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How to Promote the Customer Satisfaction Survey

It is in everyone’s best interest—the company, the managers, and the customer service agents—to actively ask for feedback across many different types of contact, rather than just waiting for feedback to roll in. This is because when customers are not prompted to provide feedback, they will only do so in extreme situations, which ultimately is not representative of the overall service given.

For this reason, it is often crucial that customer service agents encourage customers to partake in the customer satisfaction survey. But how do you naturally fit this request into your conversation with your customers? By following the steps that we have laid out here, you will be laying the foundation for the customer satisfaction surveys to come piling in.

  1. Win the Customer Over Through Quality Service

    Remember when we said that without being prompted to do so, most customers are likely to voice their opinions only in the event of an extremely good service experience or an extremely bad service experience? That’s because, let’s face it: mediocrity doesn’t move us. One of the most important steps to take to promote the customer satisfaction survey is to win the customer over through quality service.

    You can give your customers a quality customer service experience by practicing good listening skills, personalizing your service, having a warm and friendly attitude, being honest, and by putting the customer’s needs first in the form of a quick and effective resolution.

    This is one of the things that my Uber driver, Rodrigo, did right. By offering an exceptional, memorable service, he upped my desire to rate his performance. When you resolve a customer’s issue with kindness, efficiency, and expertise, you are already well on your way to watching those feedback surveys come piling in.

  2. Timing is Everything

    Nobody wants to be cut off just so you can squeeze in your two cents about the customer satisfaction survey. Knowing when to promote the customer satisfaction survey is a huge part of knowing how to promote it.

    A good time to promote the feedback survey is towards the end of the conversation, after your customer’s issue has been resolved. Try slipping the promotion after asking, “is there anything else I can do for you today?” If the customer says yes, go ahead and resolve whatever else it is that they had in mind. If they say no, ask them if they wouldn’t mind giving you feedback. Do not promote the survey before fully resolving a customer’s issue – this could lead to frustration and dissatisfaction.

    It can take a bit of practice to know exactly when to promote the customer satisfaction survey. If you mention it too early, it may seem like you are rushing your customer, and that you don’t actually care about their issue. He or she might think, “what have you done for me that I should do this for you?” However, if you mention the feedback survey too late, you could miss your chance. Your customers might be wanting to get off the phone/live chat already, and may not really want to hear anything else you have to say in the wrap-up process.

    Take my Uber driver, Rodrigo, for example. Rodrigo mentioned the customer satisfaction survey at the end of the car ride, right has he was getting ready to pull over. He hadn’t stopped the car yet, so I was not rushing to get out and go on my way. At the same time, he didn’t offer too early—my destination was already in sight by the time he popped the question, and I knew that he had done his job and done it well.

    Any Doubts? Check out how the agent in the following example promotes the customer feedback survey:

    Agent: “Alright ma’am, I have reordered the product for you, this time with expedited shipping so that we can make sure you get it on time for your event. You should have it in no later than two business days, or by the 30th.”

    Customer: “Thank you so much… that was really helpful!”

    Agent: “Great! Well if there is nothing else I can help you with today, I just wanted to mention we do have a brief customer satisfaction survey that we’d be very grateful if you were able to complete. You can do this by staying on the line and keying in the answers to a few questions for us.”

    Customer: “Sure, that’s not a problem.”

    In this scenario, the agent prompted the question after the customer had given an indication that she was satisfied. The agent also managed to mention the feedback survey while simultaneously asking the customer if there was anything else that he could do for her, getting rid of a potential awkward space where the customer is waiting to end the conversation.

  3. Be Gentle, Not Pushy

    Let’s say you master the art of figuring out when exactly to promote the customer satisfaction survey. Unfortunately, your perfect calculation won’t make much of a difference if you don’t know how to properly promote the survey.

    Just like how they don’t appreciate feeling rushed, customers also don’t appreciate feeling pushed. It is important that when you ask your customers to take the feedback survey, that they don’t feel intruded upon or like they are being bossed around.

    You can avoid creating an off-putting experience for your customer by using smart word choice. This means choosing words that function as a gentle nudge, and that position the survey as being something that is available for the customer to take in an abstract sense, rather than something that is required of them. To better illustrate this, let’s compare the following examples:

    Do:
    • “If you don’t mind taking our feedback survey…”
    • “If you could please take our feedback survey…”
    • “If you have the time to take a quick survey to provide your feedback…”
    • “If you don’t mind taking the time to answer a few questions for us…”
    • “We also have a customer feedback survey available on our website…”
    Don’t:
    • “Can you take our feedback survey?”
    • “This call is going to be followed up with a survey for you to answer.”
    • “I’m going to ask you to answer a few questions about my service.”
    • “I hope you can answer the customer satisfaction survey.”

    What is the main difference between these examples? The examples under the “Do” category act as a gentle nudge in the right direction, rather than an irritating request. The “Don’t” examples commit errors such as asking the customer outright if they will take the survey, which could make the customer feel awkward in the event that they need to say no. Another error that these examples commit is presenting the survey as a mandatory expectation, or as something that will make the customer feel bad or guilty if they cannot participate.

    When promoting the customer satisfaction survey, be sure to frame it in a way that will make your customers feel empowered, not like they have been roped into something against their will.

  4. Add a Personal Element

    The customer has made a human connection with you, the customer service agent. You can win extra persuasion points by using personalized words rather than the corporate “we” to make customers more likely to take the survey.

    This is especially true/potent if the customer satisfaction survey reflects directly on you rather than the company experience as a whole, or if you are given direct access to the feedback for your personal improvement. This is an especially good approach for if the customer has expressed his or her frustrations with the company, but seems pleased by the overall resolution that you have provided.

    Here are some examples of how this might work:

    If you don’t mind taking a few moments to provide your feedback, I would really appreciate it.
    If you have the time, it would mean a lot to me if you could answer a few questions about my service…
    I appreciate any feedback that you can provide me…

    By making it personal, your customer is more likely to remember that their feedback can have an impact on actual people, and may be more inclined to take the customer satisfaction survey.

  5. Give a (Hopefully Brief) Realistic Time Estimate

    Many customers don’t feel like they have enough time in their day for things the things they have to do, let alone that they want to do. So how are they supposed to make time for a feedback survey?

    Short surveys that require minimal time and effort generally lead to a higher customer response rate for a reason. When promoting your customer satisfaction survey, be sure to show the customer that it won’t take much of their time.

    This is a good practice, unless your company’s survey is actually longer and more time consuming than you say it is. When expressing the brevity of the feedback survey, it is important to be honest. Don’t say that the survey will take two minutes if it will in fact take 5. This could lead to mistrust and annoyance.

    This may be an automated email rather than one sent out personally by a customer service representative, but check out how the travel website Travelgenio uses this tactic to generate a higher response rate:

    travelgenio

    Customers might not feel like they have a lot of time to spare in their day, but it’s not hard to fit in time to answer two questions only. By giving the customer a time estimate, they can decide if they have the time to take your survey, and plan accordingly.

  6. Tell Customers Why the Survey Matters

    This is according to the 1987 book Human Motivation by David C. McClelland, an American psychologist who spent 40 years studying what drives human motivation.

    These motives can be directly linked to what drives a customer to participate in a customer feedback survey. Let’s take a look at how that might be so:

    Agent: “By providing my feedback, I am helping the company achieve growth.”

    Customer: “I have the power to voice my opinion.”

    Agent: “I like to feel involved in the company’s process of change.”

    Customer: “I had an unfortunate situation and my feedback will help avoid it happening again.”

    These are some of the things that might motivate a customer to provide their feedback. But what might demotivate a customer is the feeling that their voice will not make a difference. This might manifest itself in the belief that the company does not really care about their opinion, or that whatever they say in the survey will not actually lead to any real, tangible change.

    Let’s focus on the “achievement” motive. While you don’t want to guarantee the customer that the changes that they suggest will necessarily become reality from one day to the next, it is important to show them what the survey will do. When you attach the survey to concrete, actionable steps the company or you as an agent will be able to take, customers will be more motivated to complete the survey.

    Some things that you can consider conveying to your customer are the following: Why are your customers taking this survey? What will it change? Who will it help?

    Here are some examples of ways that you can express this:

    We do value all of the feedback from our customers and are constantly working to improve the service as a result of the suggestions that we receive.
    The feedback that you provide in the survey helps me know what I am doing right and where I need to improve.
    We use your feedback to identify any areas where we could do better, and to work on constantly improving our products and services.

    When my Uber driver, Rodrigo, asked me to rate his service, he told me that the positive ratings help get him a higher call preference, and mean that he is more likely to be selected first to pick up a customer. Customers are also less likely to cancel his service if they see that he has positive ratings. This helped me realize why exactly my feedback was needed, and made me feel like my individual feedback might actually make a difference, however minimal, to his overall professional experience.

  7. Invite Customers Via Email

    Usually, your company will send out customer satisfaction surveys automatically to many customers via email, and it will not be your responsibility send out individual surveys. Other times, however, that may not be the case, and you might need to follow up with your customers directly.

    When inviting customers to partake in a customer satisfaction survey via email, keep your invite short and to the point. Make sure the invite corresponds with your brand identity, and that your survey looks legitimate. There may not be much you can do on this front as far as the survey’s design goes; however, you can take steps to help secure this by making sure that the survey is sent from a corporate email address, and that it uses a legitimate, professional heading.

    Avoid over-use of capitalization in your heading or your email body, and spammy sentences like ACT NOW! or WE NEED YOU! That will create distrust or wariness of the survey, and will make customers less likely to participate.

    Good Example:

    Heading: Customer Satisfaction Survey

    Dear Barbara,

    Thank you again for contacting Gabby’s Home and Kitchen! Here is the customer satisfaction survey that we discussed. I appreciate your feedback, and hope you have a great weekend.

    Sincerely,

    Jean C
    Customer Service Representative

    Bad Example:

    Heading: ACT NOW!

    DEAR CUSTOMER,

    WE NEED YOU! ACT NOW AND ANSWER OUR FREE CUSTOMER SERVICE SURVEY TO BE ENTERED FOR A CHANCE TO WIN A FREE TOTE BAG! WE APPRECIATE YOUR FEEDBACK!

  8. Be Vocal About Incentives

    The social exchange theory states that what people give depends on what they will receive. According to private American research company, Qualtrics, to maximize customer service survey responses, the following elements should be in place:

    • The costs for responding the survey must be minimized.
    • The rewards must be maximized.
    • There must be a belief that such rewards will, in fact, be provided.

    You can often see this model at work with on-site sales at retail stores, where there is minimal exchange of customer information in order to make a transaction. When handing back customer receipts, cashiers will often tell customers something like, “And if you go to our website and fill out our survey, you’ll receive a coupon for 20% off your next purchase,” or, “If you fill out our survey online, you will be entered to win a $100 gift card.”

    In some cases, if a customer has received a service that they are really happy with, they have already received the “reward” part of the exchange, and may be happy to participate. Convincing an unhappy customer (who has already spent a lot of time and effort getting their issue resolved) can be a lot harder, and this is where incentives can be especially valuable.

    In the end, it doesn’t matter who your customer is or how they approach you: if there is an incentive for them to take the survey, let them know!

  9. Thank Your Customers

    After you promote your customer satisfaction survey, be sure to thank your customers. Studies show that when you say thank you, people are more likely to help you in the future. This is due to the fact that people feel more socially valued when they feel needed or appreciated, and therefore view their contribution as being more valuable. If you make customers feel good by expressing gratitude, they are more likely to return the favor in the form of feedback.

Conclusion

I provided feedback for my Uber driver, Rodrigo, happily, and generously. Hey, he deserved it. And so do you. When you work hard every day to take care of your customers, it is nice to have a steady stream of customer feedback reflect it.

By using these best practices to effectively promote your customer satisfaction survey, you will enable greater communication with your customers, benefiting you, the company, and them.

Want more reading? Explore how you might use scripts when promoting the customer satisfaction survey and more in our blog post, 40+ Phrases to Create Positive Scripting for Customer Service.

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About 

Isabella is a freelance editor, writer, and blogger with Comm100. She is passionate about helping people, teams, and organizations grow into their full potential, and excel in their service. In her spare time, you can find her traveling, painting, or drinking copious amounts of coconut water. Connect with Isabella on LinkedIn.

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