Are customer feedback surveys here to stay?

30th Jan 2013

Businesses depend on surveys for their voice of the customer (VoC) and customer experience measurement programs but with so many brands indulging in this tool, customers are fed up with full inboxes or feedback calls.

Whilst some are forecasting a survey-free future, Forrester analyst Adele Sage believes this is only wishful thinking. “The reality is that your company's customer experience measurement and voice of the customer programs rely on surveys for good reason. At the heart of those programs is the customer experience,” she says in a new blog post.

According to Sage, Forrester defines customer experience as the perceptions your customers have of their interactions with your company. Perception, she says, are therefore the only true measure of customer experience quality. Until there's a (safe) way to look into your customers’ brains, you'll need surveys to figure out their perceptions.

So if better surveys increase response rates how can businesses better craft the questions to improve the customer experience? Forrester’s new report, Top Ways To Combat Survey Fatigue, outlines how companies can entice customers to start surveys in the first place as well as how they can get them to finish surveys once they've started. 

Make surveys short with personalized, relevant and clear questions, says Sage. Although it might be complicated to bring in the data you already know about a customer, your response rates might reach 40% or 50%.

“We can also reduce the number of surveys by getting smarter about using existing data sources. Even if we can't use ESP to figure out how customers perceived their interactions with a company, we can get a lot better at making educated guesses,” she adds.

NewBrandAnalytics, for example, has figured out a way to predict customer ratings in review and social media sites. It looks historically at which star ratings are associated with what sentiment and language in a customer review. Based on that data, it's building models that predict star ratings based on review content and tone, eliminating the need to ask for the rating directly. This kind of approach could reduce how much survey data you need — if social media provides enough and the right kind of feedback for your company.

“The reality, though, is that predictive analytics can only take you so far. It's time to swallow the bad news: Surveys are here to stay.”

Replies (1)

Please login or register to join the discussion.

By Paul Maplesden
31st Jan 2013 16:07

I completely agree that custoemrs are becoming very weary with having to fill out survey after survey, I suspct this comes from a belief that it might just be a tick-box exercise and are doubtful that their feedback really changes anything.

In my time as a Customer Experience and Comms Manager, we went to great lengths to show the changes that we had made as a direct result of customer feedback, which did seem to help.

However, I think that there's more that we can do to improve the experience of people that we want to fill in surveys, simply things like:

- Asking very specific questions
- Providing a clear strcuture for feedback
- Keeping surveys short
- Incentivizing people to complete them

I've been thnking about this quite a bit and recently wrote an article on how small businesses can get better feedback from their customers. If you're interested, you can read the article here.

I hope you find it helpful.

Thanks (0)