When measuring your customers’ satisfaction with your product or service, you want to receive as many answers as possible. It’s a numbers game – in order to make improvements to your product and/or service you need a significant response rate upon which you make data-driven decisions.

Your goal is a maximum percentage of people who eventually send you their feedback. This will provide you with a number of new insights that help you improve, ensuring you increase customer loyalty and therefore your turnover.

So far so good. But there’s 3 major ‘risky moments’ in your customer satisfaction (CSAT) surveys that you would want to prevent, or at the very least mitigate the risk of in someone abandoning the survey. Let’s call them ‘Quitting Moments’.

  1. The respondent’s email inbox
  2. The email itself
  3. The survey

Below is a checklist with questions per ‘Quitting Moment’. If you can answer these with an emphatic YES you’ll be on the right path to high response rates for CSAT surveys.

1. The respondent’s email inbox

  • Do you have a clear subject line? We all know by now that, in order to get a respondent to open your mail, your subject line needs to stand out. A few subject example texts you could try:
    • How can we make you happier?
    • We’re listening: what do you think of us?
    • We need your help!
    • How are we doing?
    • It’s time for your opinion
    • Tell us how we can improve.

Personalizing your subject line also helps to gain a higher number of e-mail openings. You could drop in someone’s name: “Sanne, a quick question for you.”

  • Are you sending out your email at the right time? Tuesday and Wednesday between 1pm and 3pm are good moments to send out your invites.
  • Are you sending your email directly from your/ a personal email address? It works much better when the customer receives an email from a person they already know. Emails sent from an info@.., or worse: noreply@…., receive a much lower response.
  • Do you have an automated reminder? A simple way to increase your response rate is to send a reminder after a few days. Of course, this should only be aimed at those customers who haven’t responded yet.

2. The email itself

Congratulations! Your email invitation survived the overload of the recipient’s inbox. They’ve opened your email – are they going to respond?

At this point, it’s important that your invitation mail’s content is personalized and geared towards converting respondents to click through.

  • Is your communication in the email personal and relevant? You know who your customers are already. Don’t confuse customer satisfaction with market research. Asking irrelevant questions harms your response rates. Use customer information in your e-mail. Customers hate to be called Dear sir/madam. Address them personally and reference their purchase information, for example.
  • Is your email to-the-point? Make sure the email is short and clear and only asks your customer for one thing: to fill in the customer satisfaction survey. Don’t distract your customer with different Calls to Action.
  • Is the value of your email clear? For example, is it clear that you’re actually going to work with the feedback they give? When there’s no feeling of value, customers won’t click through to the survey. It’s just another survey. Avoid any such sentiment by making sure there’s a clear feedback loop being closed.
  • Are you already starting with the first question in the email? By asking the first (most important question) in the email, filling in the survey will be even easier and faster, which will lead to a higher response rate.

3. The survey

Twothirds of the way there. Your invite has survived the overcrowded mailbox and your invite has actually been inviting enough to get a clickthrough (probably because you asked the first question in the invite!).

Last step – optimizing your survey to get a high response and completion rate. How do you get someone to fill out your survey?

Can you answer these questions with YES?

  • Is your survey brief and easy to fill in? When the survey is several pages long and gives your respondent that ‘black box’ feeling, they’re going to quit. Either make all your questions transparent, by showing them all on one page, or be super clear about how long the experience will take.
  • Is your survey responsive? In other words: is it also easily filled-in on a mobile device? Nowadays, more than 60% of emails are opened on a mobile. This means there’s a reasonable chance your customer will open the questionnaire on his/her phone or tablet. When this doesn’t work properly…. They will certainly quit.
  • Are your questions personal and relevant for the recipient? Same deal as the invitation – don’t ask questions you already know the answer to! Asking a customer what they bought from you only makes you look incompetent.
  • Do you have a clear followup plan for the feedback? Show that you are actually going to use the feedback. This will make your customer more willing to fill in the survey.

Hopefully, this article will help you to increase your response rate. Feedback is always a gift and you want to receive as many responses as possible. This way you can be confident turning opinions into data and insights into action.