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Too many companies bombard customers with feedback requests, which annoys customers and results in a low response rate. Here are some tips to avoid this…

One question we are sometimes asked is; how often should we ask customers for feedback? Some expect there to be a golden rule or some formula to use which will give you the answer. Unfortunately there isn’t. And it isn’t as simple as one size fits all, either.

The golden rule of customer survey frequency

One of our golden principles is to ask for feedback when customers are most likely to want to give it. In transactional terms, this means on the back of some event or interaction in the customer journey which is important to the customer, and to you. These vary by business, but examples include after an order, delivery, renewal, claim, home visit, repair, contact centre interaction, billing query etc.

After these events have concluded, it is generally a good idea to give customers the opportunity to provide their feedback, what was good and what could be improved. But often these events follow each other and you don’t want to bombard a customer with several survey invitations. This will only result in annoying your customers.

Tips to avoid over-surveying

So here are some top tips to choose when to ask for feedback and avoid your customer being overwhelmed by surveys…

  • Map your customer journeys. Draw the journeys and consider the key touch points or events which are important to customers and where it makes sense to get some feedback and satisfaction scores based on these events. Don’t forget edge cases which may only exist for a small proportion of your customers, like raising a complaint or resolving a billing issue. If you are not sure what the customer journey looks like, speak to your customers and ask them what the steps are, chances are they’ll highlight something you have missed.
  • Looking at these maps, consider those touch points or events where you could collect feedback. Can any be combined? For example, a simple order then product delivery. If these events are close together, consider whether one survey can cover both events, obtaining satisfaction scores for both areas.

Just a short health warning - be careful that combining events doesn’t create a long, onerous survey! Surveys should be short and a customer should be able to complete them in about 20 seconds (that’s all the more important if the interaction itself has been short).

  • Consider if an event or interaction is important enough to warrant its own survey. This is where many companies go wrong, particularly in contact centre environments, and on websites. If a customer contacts you with a very routine short question, does that need a follow up survey? Maybe, maybe not. But think hard about this.

One annoyance for customers is being asked to give feedback when they don’t want to give it, often because the event isn’t important enough to them. If you’re not sure which events are important, ask some of your customers when they’re most likely to have feedback that they want to give.

  • Prioritise the events within the journey and understand which are the most critical to you and your customers. Often referred to as ‘moments of truth’, these are the ones which make and break the relationship, and are the real drivers of loyalty and recommendation. These will vary by business, but you should have a good idea what they are. If not, speak to colleagues and/or customers and they will tell you. You’ll also find clues in your complaints. The root causes of complaints are often ignored, so these may be good places to ensure you give customers the ability to give feedback, and eliminate problems before they escalate.
  • Have a system in place which prevents you over-surveying your customers. Ideally you’ll have a system which automatically prevents you from sending too many surveys to a customer. CustomerSure has an over-survey protection feature which enables you to set a rule for how often a customer can be surveyed. A feature like this avoids annoying customers with too many surveys. A common rule is a maximum of one survey per month for example.
  • Respond to customers when they give feedback! Something we’ve mentioned many times, but responding to customers when they do give feedback (and telling them what you are going to do/fix) is a sure-fire way to make them more likely to respond to future surveys.

Finally, put yourself in the shoes of your customers. What feels right to you? It might be no more than a fortnightly survey, or one every six months. Get in touch with us and we’ll happily help you out and give you some recommendations.

Looking for more insights on collecting and utilising customer feedback?

At CustomerSure, we’re fanatical about helping our customers drive tangible business benefits through their customer feedback process. To help, we produce a wide range of guides and resources to assist at every stage of the journey.

For anything else, we’re just a contact form away!

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