4 Ways to Acquire Customer Surveys without Annoying Clients

By Reuben Yonatan

Customers do not like most surveys. Asking customers constantly for feedback is disruptive and feels like spam, which is the opposite of the goal of digital marketing — to serve the needs of your customers and encourage them to engage with you based on trust.

On the other hand, surveys provide incredibly valuable information for brands. They let you know what customers think about the website and buying experience, what they want to see from the business, and offer insights about how you can improve your organization to better meet the needs of your customers.

While you can collect some data from user behavior on the site, this data will only give you the facts of what customers do, not the why behind their actions. The answer to this ‘why’ is what will remove much of your guesswork and help you improve your buyers’ experience faster. These surveys offer valuable business intelligence that should not be overlooked.Blow horn with text "We want your feedback!"

To solve this problem, brands need to find a means to distribute surveys to their customers without falling into the patterns that annoy customers. Finding ways to improve the survey experience can result in customers feeling less reluctant to fill them out, and thus will offer greater insight for the organization.

1. Reduce the time needed to fill out the survey

When a survey pops up on a customer’s screen, it generally promises that the company only needs a ‘few minutes’ of the customer’s time. Most consumers, however, have begun to ignore this lie. They know that the surveys will take them several minutes of clicking, and with their busy schedule, they just do not feel like being that helpful.

You need to reduce the pain the customer feels. It can be tempting to seize the few customers who do fill out the survey and try to get as much information from them as possible. This strategy, however, will result in a greater number of abandonments and leave a bad taste in the mouth of the customer.

Minimize the information and questions you ask your customer. Use auto-fills when applicable to make the process as painless for them as possible. Think about your highest priority questions and use them to create a survey that truly is only thirty seconds to a minute long. You will get the information you need from your consumers without damaging your brand’s reputation or disrupting the customer’s day too much.

Additionally, offer your survey wherever your customer is interacting with your brand. Whether it’s on your mobile app, or website— or communication via email or phone— make sure that they can easily access the survey on the same channel to increase completion rates.

Since your survey will be shorter, you will also have a greater number of completions, which means that the information you collect will come from a larger pool and offer better insight with analytics. The short survey will therefore offer your organization greater value.

2. Personalize the questions

Make sure your surveys are highly personalized and targeted towards the people receiving the request. You do not want to send out the same survey to everyone who completes a transaction on your site, particularly when transactions might differ greatly from one another.

Customers respond better when they feel as though their individual needs are recognized. When they believe that the company cares about their pain points and wants to solve them, it builds greater trust.

Surveys should similarly reflect the personalized experience of the client. Tailor surveys to particular types of action on your website. For example, an e-commerce site might have a survey designed for larger purchases, such as furniture, and smaller purchases, such as kitchen gadgets.

This type of survey will be more engaging for the user because the questions will apply directly to them. The targeted questions will also provide you with higher-quality information. Generalized questions, that offer little actionable advice, will disappear. It will also allow you to shorten your surveys, creating an even greater experience for the user.

This type of survey can also be integrated with other aspects of your customer-care plan. Opening up a dialogue with your customers during their transaction, such as by providing bots that guide users through purchases and answer questions, can keep users engaged. These bots can then follow up their service with quick one or two question surveys. The survey then feels as though it is a part of an existing conversation, making it for easier for the customer to answer the questions.

3. Offer incentives to people

People generally do not like to do things for free. You will not be able to build a strong newsletter list, for example, if you simply post a sign up form without telling customers what they will get in return. Something along the lines of:

‘Register for our free newsletter! In return, we will send you our popular white paper on taking your PPC strategy even further!’

will get a more positive response than:

‘Register for our free newsletter, sign up below!’

Yet, countless companies bother their customers with surveys at various touchpoints without offering anything in return. They ask their customers to provide them with this important information essentially out of the goodness of their heart. It is the company who should be serving the customer, but often here the roles get reversed.

You do not have to offer a financial benefit to customers for their responses on the survey, but you should demonstrate that you value their participation. Offering a free white paper, a design or purchasing guide, or a 10 percent off coupon would all be appreciated by customers, and make them less likely to feel annoyed by your request.

4. Let customers know how the information will be used

If customers take the time to fill out your survey, they will want to know that the insights they give you will go to good use. Let people know how you will use the data you collect, and then reflect that promise in your actual behavior.

Publishing results from your surveys will also help your reputation and completion rates. When customers see that you actively value their input and use survey results to impact business decisions, they will feel more inclined to participate in future requests. It builds a relationship with the survey takers and helps make them feel valued.

Surveys offer brands valuable information about the behavior of their customers, helping them to improve their service and websites. However, it can also be very easy to overload customers, and if they are constantly bombarded by the request, may experience survey burn-out.

Customers’ annoyance with brand surveys has resulted in low completion rates. Response rates generally fall below two percent on average, which can be frustrating for brands.Therefore, focusing on these four ways to improve the surveys you create for clients can help you boost the quality of information you receive while also maintaining a positive relationship with your customers.

About the author:
Reuben Yonatan is the founder and CEO of GetVoIP — trusted VoIP comparison resource that helps companies understand and choose a business communication solution for their specific needs. Reuben assists SMBs align business strategy with culture and improve overall corporate infrastructure. Follow him on Twitter @ReubenYonatan

Photo courtesy of #WOCinTech Chat

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