27
Aug

Do Customers Still Respond to Surveys?

By Rob Davis

6 Reasons Why People Still Provide Feedback

Whether it’s the department store clerk asking me to rate my experience or a business partner seeking my feedback, it seems like every day I’m asked to complete some type of survey. With so many requests for feedback, it’s easy to wonder: do customers still respond to surveys?

For every survey we field, we achieve a statistically valid sample with high response rates – so we can say confidently that yes, customers still do respond to surveys! When respondents feel they have some sort of an investment in the outcome, they are more likely to complete your survey. On the other hand, when respondents don’t feel like their feedback will be used to influence their experience in a positive way, they are less likely to respond to your survey.

Why do customers still respond to surveys?

1) They expect someone is listening: This is the primary reason why anyone responds to a survey. If the organization conducting the survey isn’t listening to the feedback that is provided, what’s the point? Reassuring respondents that their completion of the survey isn’t in vain is priority number one.

2) They believe their feedback will drive action: When they have an issue or concern, respondents expect that the organization conducting the survey will take action on the feedback they provide. This generally starts out as a narrow focus – “Please correct this issue with the weekly report I’m receiving” – and, as their individual concerns are addressed, you may find them increasingly providing advice on the strategic direction of the organization from their vantage point as a customer.

3) They want to praise someone: Enthusiastic respondents who have had a great experience tend to call out specific individuals for praise. We see this all the time in our work – “Sally is fantastic!” “Bill is coming into his new role very well!” People like giving credit where credit is due.

4) They do it for the incentive: Depending on the type of survey you are conducting, customers may think “What’s in it for me?” While we typically advise against offering an incentive in a B2B context, it can be effective in boosting response rates in competitive research-type surveys (or lengthy product-centric surveys). “Win a Free iPad!” is certainly tempting, but consider donating to a charity or providing the results of the study in lieu of monetary offers.

5) They are asked nicely: The desire to be helpful is intrinsic in nearly everyone – simply asking in a nice, formal way is, many times, all that is needed. Just make sure that you don’t ask for high scores – we’re after accurate feedback, not biased information.

6) They feel a connection with the person or organization: Related to the last point, customers who have favorable views of the people they partner with believe it is important to respond to surveys as it’s a direct reflection of their relationship.

The key to implementing a successful survey is to understand customers’ reasons for responding to a survey and adapting your survey design to either appeal to, or mitigate, those reasons. This in turn leads to high response rates and valid, actionable results. Finally, whatever action you’re taking on this make sure it is based on good data.