What’s holding your customer’s back from providing feedback?
Customer Feedback is the key to any experience improvement program. Traditionally, the process of collecting, understanding and acting on customer feedback can be time consuming, not to mention that actually getting customers to provide feedback can be challenging.
Here we look at some of the reasons holding customers back from providing feedback.
The key question to consider if your participation rates are not sufficient is what is preventing your customers from providing feedback. A few key factors that could be discouraging your customers from responding include:
Timeliness is critical to achieving high participation rates. The sooner after the event the survey is received, the higher the response rate. This is because the event is still top of mind and there might still be an emotional attachment to it. Commencing a new activity such as responding to an email survey days after a customer has called a business can be seen new interaction, with a higher degree of effort for the customer. However, in some circumstances, sending a survey too soon, before your customer has completed a follow-on activity might be too soon, and they have not yet formed a full opinion.
Finding the balance is important, but when in doubt, earlier is generally better. These general principles might assist you in determining the best time to send your survey:
- If the survey is deemed a low priority or optional, it will be deprioritised, pushed back, and eventually forgotten by the customer.
- The strength of your customers’ feelings about an event are at their peak closest to the event.
- The cognitive effort required by the customer to respond to events in the past is much higher.
- The timing of the survey offer must be convenient for your customers.
These principles generally come down to surveying immediately following an experience will produce the best results, however, if this is not practical then survey as soon as possible afterwards.
When surveys occur after customer experiences that involve your employees, the attitude and engagement of the employee can have a profound impact on participation rates.
Employees that appear uninterested or apathetic will often have their attitudes mirrored by customers, resulting in low participation. Conversely, the opposite is true. Engaged employees not only reflect positively on your brand, but also encourage customer engagement broadly, and survey participation specifically. The value of a personal request for feedback from an employee cannot be underestimated. It is a clear demonstration of employee engagement and creates a personal reciprocal obligation for the service provided. Actively engaging your front line employees to ask for customer feedback achieves the highest participation rates.
Balancing the Reward for Effort Equation
As humans, we are constantly deciding what our actions should be by striking a balance between effort and reward. If customers are going to expend effort for your brand, they want to know that there is some form of reward in it for them, even if it’s not tangible. If there is little perceived value in completing a survey, there is a higher probability that customers will not do it.
Examples of rewards that are appreciated:
Surveys that are relevant to the customer and clearly address the specifics of their interaction or product are deemed to have a reward element in terms of relevance to the customer. Conversely, the surveys that are generic and non-personalized have a negative impact on the perceived value of the effort by the customer to complete the survey.
Some customers want to be acknowledged for completing your survey by receiving something in return. This doesn’t have to be a financial reward and can take the form of recognition. Conversely a lack of acknowledgement for their efforts or time could be turning them away.
In a complaint scenario, customers appreciate that their specific issue is considered and then resolved, and they feel valued because a team leader or manager contacted them.
Commitment to Improvement
Another reward that may be appreciated is communicating to customers as a group about the way their feedback has helped improve the customer experience. Being open to what customers say and demonstrating that the business is acting to improve their issues creates a sense of transparency and value.
Humans experience positive emotions when sincere personal gratitude is expressed to them. It can be either written or verbal. Mass, impersonal communications are not sincere and do not help customers feel valued.
The converse side of reward is effort and it is worth considering how your approach may decrease the perceived effort associated with completing a survey.
Examples of high effort:
Difficulty in Completion
Surveys that are presented on interaction channels that are awkward or inconvenient for the customer will drive down completion rates. For example, requesting detailed feedback in SMS is a good example where usability can severely hamper the feedback process. Other common mistakes that increase the difficulty in completion include asking the customer for unnecessary information or information that your business should already be aware of.
Surveys that are overly lengthy and repetitive will result in lower full completion rates initially and ultimately will act to lower ongoing participation rates.
Survey questions that rely on customers to exert effort to understand what the question is asking, or to contemplate their answers in a specific form, can create a much higher mental load. For example, asking a customer to respond to a question suited for an open response with a highly limited selection of check boxes results in the customer having to think deeply about which category their response best matches. A customer who responds even to a short survey with poorly considered questions will feel like they have responded to a much longer survey.
Asking customers questions that assume knowledge on behalf of the customer can drive down completion rates. For example, requiring a customer to be familiar with a business’s product catalogue or the name of internal systems can be needlessly confusing and drive customer frustration. If it seems like there is too much effort required to fill in your survey, you’ll find that participation rates will be low. The more you can reduce the effort required from the customer, the better.
Ensuring higher participation rates for your feedback surveys will give you insights into your customer needs that can transform your business success.
How Centra CX can help achieve higher participation rates
CentraCXVoC is a Voice of the Customer (“VoC”) platform that helps organisations to collect, understand and drive action from customer feedback.
It has been designed from the ground up to collect both frontline and customer feedback with every interaction, everyday. Combined, these insights provide the complete picture of your customer experience enabling you to action what really matters.
Contact us today to find out how CentraCXVoCcan improve your Customer Experience improvement program and start creating amazing customer experiences that drive loyalty and spend at each touch point with help from GSN.
Or for more information on participation rates, download our eBook How to lift your Customer Feedback participation rates to 30%.