Customer surveys conducted through email are one of the easiest market research projects to have up and running quickly. Organizations across the world use customer surveys to listen to customer feedback, drive change in an organization, and collect data to assist with difficult decisions.
However, because they are so easy to implement, organizations often pull the trigger too quickly to launch without fully examining options to improve it. This is particularly true for organizations who choose to embark on this customer survey effort on their own. These do-it-yourself (DIY) agencies choose not to engage a national customer email survey firm to assist with questionnaire design, programming, invitations, and analysis.
Here are 3 issues our team noticed with a survey recently sent to a customer list by another organization. This organization chose to complete the market research in-house. All 3 of the tips revolve around issues with the current survey in the field.
The 3 tips revolve around (1) having the invitation pass the eye test, (2) making the survey short and engaging, and (3) asking the demographic questions in the appropriate spot in the survey.
Here are 3 basic tips to think about the next time you put together your email customer survey for your organization.
Tip 1: Your invitation needs to pass the eye test
We have all heard: first impressions matter. This is also the case with email invitations for surveys. All of these variables and components will impact your response rate. These factors include the subject line, from address, email body text, font, color, layout, etc. Everything matters.
It is important to make the initial invitation to your survey inviting. Many of the basic design principles in marketing and advertising apply here. No white font on a light background, making the text or email title easy to read, making the font large enough to read (even on mobile), and including the link of the survey at or near the beginning of the invite.
All of these items matter. Your ultimate goal of an email invitation is to get the user to take a survey. Anything in the invitation which deters or prevents this will harm your customer survey response rate.
Tip 2: Keep the length of Your customer survey short
Another common problem we see with customers surveys is the length of a survey. We cringe when we see lines in the invitations that say: "This survey will take 10 minutes" or "This survey contains 40 questions and will take 15 minutes". Ouch.
Although you can get away with a few additional questions or minutes with a customer survey when compared to a non-customer survey, we still recommend about 15 questions and 3 to 5 minutes maximum for our surveys. Over the years, we have found this is the ultimate threshold to reduce drop-off in a customer email survey.
Asking too many questions results in a longer time to complete. This can often exhaust or frustrate customers which could detract from your brand. Keeping the survey short and covering your core objectives should be your main goal. Some of the secondary questions you want to ask may be better suited for a follow-up market research project. Choose your questions wisely.
Tip 3: Ask your demographics at the end
Another common mistake we notice in online surveys and customer surveys is asking demographic questions at the beginning of a questionnaire. This ties back to drop off and best practice survey writing.
First, demographics are personal categorization questions which can cause a certain level of uneasiness from respondents. By answering these questions respondents know they are being categorized and labeled. These questions often incur some refusals, skips, or force a drop-out from the survey.
This is why it is important to place these at the end of the survey. If your survey software collects partial data, you'll want to acquire the feedback that is most crucial to you early. This might include questions around satisfaction, areas of improvement, and ratings of customer service. All of these data points are more important than demographics.
Contact Drive Research
Drive Research is a national customer email survey firm located in Syracuse, NY. Our team works with clients across the country to assist with customer surveys through email, mail, and phone. Questions about an upcoming market research project? Contact us: