How do you stand out in a sea of marketing messages that your customers receive? Getting customers to respond to satisfaction surveys can be a challenge. Read on to learn six proven best practices for increasing your satisfaction survey completion rates with your customers.

1. Personalize the Invitation to Provide Feedback

Great satisfaction survey completion rates start with an engaging call to action for customers to complete your survey. According to a RedPoint Global survey conducted by The Harris Poll, 63 percent of consumers expect personalization. Regardless of the channel of communication, your invitation to provide feedback should follow these best practices:

  • Address the customer by name
  • Reference their interaction or the product/service they use
  • Provide context as to why they are being surveyed and how the results will be used to ultimately improve their experience
  • Customize the email subject line and email address the email is sent from
  • Consider embedding the first question in the body of the invitation email
  • Follow up within 10 days with a reminder message to those who have not responded


2. Utilize Your Customer’s Preferred Channel of Communication

It goes without saying that customers who don’t receive your satisfaction survey cannot respond to your survey. Savvy marketers recognize the importance of sending the right message at the right time using the right channel. Different satisfaction surveys call for different modes of distribution. IVR and SMS are beneficial when you are trying to obtain immediate feedback from customers, such as after an install/repair appointment to confirm services are working properly. Emails are advantageous when there is a need to provide supplementary content or messaging to provide context.

Customer demographics also play a role in the success of a particular communication channel. For example, elderly customers may be more inclined to respond to phone calls whereas younger customers may prefer to interact via SMS. Regardless of channel, all communications should reflect the company’s brand, provide a consistent user experience between desktop and mobile devices, and limit contacts to appropriate hours based on the customer’s time zone.


3. Keep It Relevant, Keep It Simple, and Keep It Short

Survey design is key to better completion rates. The cardinal rule in creating an effective satisfaction surveys is to consider the goal of your survey to ensure that you are not asking unnecessary questions. Survey questions should be actionable and relevant. When creating your next satisfaction survey, follow these dos and don’ts:

  • Do be mindful of the time it takes your customers to complete the satisfaction survey
  • Do aim for satisfaction surveys under 10 questions and take less than five minutes to complete
  • Do use simple language and utilize one or two response scales for all questions
  • Do set expectations about how long the satisfaction survey will take upfront to minimize survey abandonment
  • Don’t ask questions that you already have (or should have) the answers to.
  • Don’t use double-barrel questions and multiple complex question types (e.g., open-ended, ranking, etc.) that take respondents longer to complete

Incorporating these tips into the design of your satisfaction survey will improve completion rates and hopefully help you achieve the average response rate of 33% (or better).


4. Don’t Be a Pest by Over Contacting Customers

Today’s solutions make it is easy for different stakeholder groups to survey and market to customers. The challenge companies face is ensuring customers are not lambasted with messages to the point that they get fed up and request to be placed on your “Do Not Contact” list. A holistic view of the different contacts customers receive needs to be considered to ensure that the timing is reasonable and the messaging is relevant. Customer lists should be reviewed regularly to focus on active customers that have had a recent, tangible interaction (e.g., service activation/upgrade, purchase, support interaction, etc.). Employing these strategies will ensure responses that accurately reflect the experience of customers.

The timeline for contacting customers varies depending upon the type of satisfaction survey.

  • For transactional feedback: Send the satisfaction survey immediately after the interaction, when response rates are higher and more accurate
  • For feedback about product/service: Send the satisfaction survey 7-14 days after the customer begins to utilize the product/service
  • For relationship surveys: Employ a different cadence of 30, 60, or 90 days for new customers and every 6 or 12 months for existing customers

Regardless of the type of survey, it is recommended that companies limit customer satisfaction survey contacts to once every 15-30 days and only 2-3 times per year to combat survey fatigue.


5. Close the Loop with Respondents

If you want to continue to receive feedback from customers, following up and letting them know they have been heard is key. Successful companies establish a process to combat customer churn by following up with dissatisfied customers. Personal contact by a manager apologizing for not meeting the customer’s expectations and letting them know that their concerns are taken seriously goes a long way to righting any wrongs – as long as it’s not just lip service.


6. Find Ways to Incentivize Customers for Taking Time to Provide Feedback

The use of incentives to capture customer feedback is a contested practice. Naysayers feel that incentives lead to customers taking the satisfaction survey for the sole purpose of earning the incentive. Whereas proponents are in favor of it because it leads to higher response rates that yield more actionable data. Incentives can range from an improved customer experience for the customer (and others) to a more tangible incentive in the form of a prize or discount. When it comes to incentives, a small incentive for each respondent has been shown to be more effective than those that offer a chance to win a larger prize.

Crafting an effective satisfaction survey and optimizing response rates is challenging work. SkyCreek’s eContact platform can help. We provide solutions that give companies the power to optimize customer communications and interactions. Our content designer, omni-channel campaign management, and analytics tools are utilized by leading companies to improve their customer experience. Contact SkyCreek today to start putting your survey data to work.


SkyCreek’s Customer Experience Survey platform allows you to create and deploy satisfaction surveys targeted to the right customers at the right time using their preferred mode of communication. Check it out.