How do you get customers to respond in a world of survey fatigue?

Originally published in my LinkedIn articles. 

How many surveys have you received in the past week? I just checked my email and I’ve received 7 total; that averages to 1 survey per day.

If you recently made a purchase, you probably received an email with a survey that asked something like:

  • How did you hear about us?
  • How would you rate your experience?
  • Tell us what you thought.

These types of questions are generic and customers expect to receive them. Because they’re not personalized, customers have no incentive to respond to them and consequently, don’t. You’re wasting time, effort and money on what could have been an insightful engagement.

Go for the why

Imagine if you engaged with your customers on a more intimate level throughout their lifecycle? By asking questions throughout the customer journey, as opposed to just the beginning or end, you open yourself up to a wealth of knowledge about your customer’s decision making process. You would already know why customers are making certain transactions based off their previous interactions with you.

When you want to make decisions about how to better serve your customers, consider these fundamental steps:

1. Understand who your customers are and what they’re doing.

Context is everything. Without understanding who your customers are and what they’re doing, we can never get to the why.

Using tools like Google Analytics combined with Google Tag Manager, you can track where and how visitors are coming to your website and app. In addition, you can track all the events they are taking while using your website or app.

Examples include:

  • Which pages on your website or in your app are most frequently visited?
  • The time frame a user is on your website or in app. At what point are they dropping off?
  • Which domain referred them to your website? And what are the actions being taken?
  • How many times have they visited your app?
  • Are they coming from a mobile or desktop?
  • Which geographic location are users coming from?

And on and on. The data you can collect about your users is endless. Make sure you document these behaviors in a place where your entire team can access it. Talk about them as a team. You will use this data for step #2 listed below.

2. Ask the right question at the right time.

When you’re able to segment your audiences into specific groups based on their persona and behaviors, you immediately answer the standard questions found in long form surveys.

Don’t waste time asking questions you already know the answer to! 

Wasted questions like this:

  • Where are you visiting from?
  • Is this your first time visiting?
  • Did our website help you find what you were looking for?

Knowing who your customers are and what they’re doing enables you to ask the right question at the right moment in time.

Here’s an example on what the path can look like:

Here’s a great example targeting a user that has visited your pricing page twice and has not made a purchase yet.

You have the power and knowledge to generate unique engagements tailored to who your users are or what they’re doing. Focus on gathering insights, not just answers.

Step 3. Create a continuous feedback loop.

The importance of real-time customer decision analysis has never been greater. Your customers are bombarded with advertisements from competitors and if you don’t take care of them someone else will. Taking immediate action on feedback from your customers can decrease churn, increase lifetime value and create lasting impressions for your customers.

Often times, teams will launch surveys and then turn them off once they receive the results needed. If you’re constantly iterating on your product or service, then it’s important to ask for feedback through the customer’s lifecycle. The answers you receive from users today can change over time to the exact same question.

Here’s an example of questions you can ask in every stage of your customer’s lifecycle:

People make thousands of decisions a day. Don’t waste time asking irrelevant questions; ask questions in the moment that pertain to the person you’re engaging with and more importantly, take action immediately.

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