It’s definitely the case that feedback is the means, not the end – after all, you’re using feedback to make things better. Work hasn’t finished when you’ve received your feedback, it’s actually only just getting started.
But without enough results coming in, you can’t say anything with confidence about your customers, your employees, your clients, your candidates – whoever you’re getting feedback from. So you need a decent response rate.
To get there, you need to be thinking of optimizing your conversions at two key points: click-through rate of your feedback invitation, and survey completion rate.
In this quick article I’ll dive into both stages of the process and run through ways of optimizing for click-throughs and completions.
Let’s get to it.
Optimizing invitation click-through rate
Unless you’ve developed telepathy and have direct access to the mind of your customer, to get their feedback you first need to invite them to a survey. In-app feedback is unreliable and is more often than not called upon by unhappy users to offload their immediate complaints. For in-depth feedback – the kind you’re thinking about for response rates – email remains the most viable channels for engaging your audience.
Problem #1 with email – ‘survey fatigue’. No matter who you’re asking for feedback, everyone’s a consumer and their mailbox is already stuffed with other invites for this, that and the third. The first step to overcoming survey fatigue is making sure your feedback invite stands out and engages your respondent. Making the experience personal goes a long way.
Here’s some quick advice on personalizing invites and making sure you’ve got the right workflows set up.
- Experiment with email invitation subject lines, like any intro-to-marketing guide would tell you. You’re going for high open- and response rates. A/B test your subject lines and templates.
- Is your first question there in the email? No one likes those horrible ‘click here to start the survey buttons! Besides being an eyesore, they harm your click-through rate. Get your first question in the email – and make it something direct and impactful like Net Promoter Score. Would you recommend us? Give them the 0-10 scale and make it clickable – have it lead through to the questions in your survey. Process this first score. Easy!
- Put customer information to work – you’ve asked them for it for a reason, right? Personalize! No one likes reading ‘Dear Customer’. Include someone’s name and relevant purchase or account information so they know their feedback is directed at something. Work smarter at scale and employ the use of automated tags to pull this information through to your invites.
- Avoid noreply@ email addresses. Especially if you’ve done the right thing and added a face and name to you invite to personalize it. This is almost worse than just sending a bland, generic invite.
- Be upfront about how long the survey is. Too many companies – or more likely the agencies they outsource their feedback project to – are dishonest here. You can have your respondent get a head start by including the first question in the email. It gets them thinking and they’re more likely to convert to click-through.
- You’re competing with a billion other emails to get their attention. Don’t get flagged as spam – avoid attachments and too many images. The words ‘feedback’ and ‘survey’ already have bad reps in spam filters, so you’ve got your work cut out for you.
Getting a lot of click-throughs is about keeping your invite short, simple, and relatable.
Optimizing Survey Completion Rate
So you’ve cleared the first major hurdle – folks have clicked the CTA in your email and they’ve landed in your survey. Now what do they see?
If your survey is a ‘black box’ you’re going to have people dropping off left, right and centre. Respondents genuinely click through surveys which aren’t transparent in their length just to see how long they are. Besides screwing up your completion rate, this may lead to gibberish results. Here’s what to keep in mind as you lead respondents to the end of your survey.
- Design surveys around key touchpoints: post-purchase if they’re a customer, for example. If they’re a client with an ongoing license – get their feedback as they approach renewal. Get employee feedback when new team members come onboard. You get the idea – feedback should be highly specific to a particular experience.
- Stop thinking in terms of that big, yearly survey. Something else which needs to disappear from feedback forever: the promise of an Amazon voucher for the brave few who reach the end of a never-ending survey.
- Cater to individual experience with your survey questions. It’s about their experience, not yours.
- Understand the distinction between market research, reviews and feedback. Combining too many of these elements in a survey leads to survey fatigue – and you guess it: drop offs. For your respondent to easily reach the end of your survey, you need to make it clear to them why they’re there. Keep them on task and focused by making your questions clear. Neutral phrasing and consistent verbiage are key here. Double negatives and tricky phrasing aren’t going to help your completion rate. Steve Krug wrote an excellent book on web usability entitled Don’t make me think – quite appropriate here: don’t make your respondent think too much. People have increasingly short attention spans.
- The golden rule of feedback: put yourself in your respondent’s shoes. What’s the experience like for them? If you could imagine yourself filling out your own survey (!) then you should be well on your way to high response rates from your respondents.
By optimizing your survey click-through rate and your survey response rate, you’ll be on your way to high response rates overall. What I’ve written here above are just a few tips to get you started.