Last updated March 18, 2021
Customer surveys are one of the most effective ways to collect feedback on your business’s products, services, and experience to learn what areas can be improved to increase customer satisfaction. When administering surveys, some emphasis should be placed on response rates – the number of people who completed the survey divided by the number of surveys sent out.
Why response rates are important
If response rates are too low it can cause sampling bias which may skew the perception of how your customers really feel. For example: if you send surveys to 300 customers, only 30 respond, but those 30 replied because they were really unsatisfied or really happy with their experience then you wouldn’t have a clear idea of the average customer’s feelings since 270 responses are unaccounted for.
What is a “good” response rate?
Avid Ratings research shows an excellent response rate is at least 50%. However, response rates in the 5%-30% range are more typical – the lower range being more normal for businesses that don’t have as personal a relationship with their customers. Respondents that have a connection to a business feel more inclined to respond to survey requests, so housing professionals should strive for response rates at 50% and above, at least for initial surveys, because the industry is heavily driven by customer relationships and personalized experiences. At Avid Ratings for example, our average move-in survey response rate is around 58%.
It’s also important to note that response rates aren’t the only consideration to take into account when it comes to surveying success. With a high-quality and properly administered survey program like AvidCX, lower response rates can still yield accurate results.
Here are a few tips to increase your survey response rate to get more representative customer feedback:
1. Use modern, technology-driven surveys
There are a couple of aspects to consider in terms of “modernization” to ensure surveys are more convenient for today’s busy buyers, so they’re more inclined to complete them.
Mobile-friendly surveys are more convenient and cater to the growing number of technologically-inclined buyers. Over 50% of web traffic is done on mobile devices now and the average U.S adult spends nearly 3 hours a day on their smartphones (source: Oberlo). With so many people using their mobile devices, it’s only smart to create surveys they can easily complete to increase your response rates.
Mobile-friendly surveys automatically adjust their formatting based on a device’s screen size so the survey maintains readability and offers a good user-experience regardless of the brand of phone or tablet used. If you’ve ever encountered a web page where you have to scroll sideways to view it all you probably felt a bit frustrated or left the page right away. Imagine taking an entire survey having to constantly move the screen around to read questions. You’d likely leave that survey part-way through as well.
Digitally-enhanced user experience
Another way to increase response rates is to enhance your survey user experience with “smart” or responsive survey features. Surveys are much longer for housing professionals because you’re looking for more in-depth feedback from customers than other B2C businesses who only touch on a few key touch points after a purchase has been made or a customer service ticket has been closed.
With so many questions on a survey respondents can get survey fatigue, but you need to include enough questions to collect the right data to understand your buyers’ journey and experience with your company. Branching questions and drop-down questions triggered by low ratings, like the ones exclusive to our AvidCX platform, can help shorten surveys without sacrificing key data.
Learn more about our Smart Survey and Survey Pro features here.
2. Ask for feedback at the right time
Another way to increase survey response rates is to send them out at key moments in the buyer journey and send them after a major touch point is completed. For example, homebuilders would want to send out a move-in survey 30 days after new buyers get their keys (to account for the honeymoon period), as well as 3-6 months and 12 months after move-in. Remodelers would want to do the same when they reveal the final product. Building product manufacturers would want to send a survey after a purchase and other key moments such as directly after a customer service call.
By asking for feedback within a specific timeframe, there’s a greater chance of getting more responses and more accurate ratings and reviews because the memory of their experience with your company is fresh on their mind.
3. Create the right survey awareness
Maximizing response rate potential also comes down to creating effective survey awareness. Survey awareness is the act of preparing customers to receive your surveys so they’re more encouraged to fill them out. There are a number of ways to improve survey awareness including:
- Introducing customers to your survey program: If you use a third-party survey and customer experience company like Avid Ratings, you’ll want to call or email your customers to introduce them to the program and explain that the company will be collecting their feedback on your behalf.
- Providing a survey awareness hard copy at every important customer journey milestone: After important touchpoints like design-appointments, pre-construction/remodeling meetings, distribution meetings/contract signings, and final sales it helps to give a verbal reminder and survey awareness document explaining how the survey program works.
- Reaching out prior to the survey being sent out: Before a survey is sent out, have the main point of contact reach out to the customer via phone or email to remind the customer the survey is coming.
- Reaching out to customers who received, but haven’t completed the survey: Run a report to identify which customers didn’t complete the survey and reach out to them to make sure they got the invite, update their contact information if necessary, and communicate to the customer a survey invite will be resent if their information was changed.
- Sending thank you cards/emails: Taking the time to send personalized “thank you for your feedback” notes can help connect with customers more, reiterate their feedback matters to you, and encourage them to fill out surveys in the future.
Keep in mind there is a difference between survey awareness and survey influence. Survey influence is a more aggressive awareness approach that pushes customers to respond in a specific way to get better ratings and reviews. But survey influence tactics can actually decrease the chances of customers completing surveys or backfire by resulting in more negative feedback.
Satisfaction over results
To effectively increase survey response rates you want your customers to feel that their satisfaction and authentic feedback is most important to you, not getting good ratings and reviews.