7 Tips to Increase Customer Survey Response Rates

You’ve learned about the benefits of customer surveys. (Maybe you even read our blog post 3 Key Metrics to Go After in 2022 and took it to heart.) You decided which surveys are right for your company, put together a few different types, and placed them throughout your customer journey…

…And you got crickets.

Without any responses (or too few to be statistically significant), you can’t measure how well your support team is doing, if a new product is resonating with your customers, or if your online cart experience is frustrating your customers.

You need a way to increase your customer survey response rates.

Keep reading to dive into some top strategies.

Why are customer survey response rates important?

Are you secretly asking, why is this even a big deal? We get it. You’re getting responses, so you have some data to work with. But here are a few reasons your response rates need a boost:

  • A small sample size skews your data: Just because a couple of people don’t like your product doesn’t mean the majority of your customers don’t. The larger the sample size you collect, the more accurately it will represent your customers.
  • Your survey may suffer from non-response bias: There could be something in your survey design, tactics, or questions that makes it more likely for a certain type of customer to answer. Maybe only people that buy kitchen utensils respond, or only people who are at home on Tuesdays, resulting in more skewed data. You could inadvertently skew your service to help respondents and leave non-respondents out.
  • The more data you have, the easier it is to draw conclusions: Just a handful of results all over the place won’t do your team any good. It’s easier to identify trends and craft the appropriate action plan.

What is a good customer survey response rate? According to Customer Thermometer, the typical customer survey response rate is 5–30%, and anything over 50% is considered fantastic.

Tip #1: Pick the right survey.

How many customer surveys are out there? The limit does not exist.

You can emulate tons of surveys, but many in e-commerce and other customer-facing industries focus on three vital ones.

  • Customer satisfaction (CSAT) surveys ask customers, “How satisfied were you with [product/service]?”
  • Customer effort scores (CES) ask customers, “How easy was it to interact with [company]?”
  • Net Promoter Scores® (NPS®) asks, “How likely are you to recommend [business/product/service] to someone you know?”

While they all rely on similar rating systems, each question asks about a different aspect of your business.

You’re not bound to these three, but picking the appropriate customer survey for what you’re trying to measure is important. Not only will you get misleading data, but you’re also less likely to get customer responses.

Tip #2: Send it at the right time.

Don’t ask for a CSAT survey weeks after a customer service interaction. By then, your customer has already forgotten how the conversation went—unless it was really good or really bad.

Which surveys you use will dictate when you should send them. Per the example above, CSAT surveys work best when measuring something specific, like a support interaction or a product purchase. You should typically send these types of surveys within a day or two of whatever you’re measuring. Plus, response rates increase, and responses are more accurate if customers take surveys within 24 hours.

However, Net Promoter Scores are asking more about your customers’ loyalty to your brand. In that case, pick a regular interval to send out NPS surveys. It could be once a quarter or once a year—just make sure you’re giving your team enough time to analyze the results and make improvements in between.

Tip #3: Make it as short as possible.

We know you want to get as much valuable information as you can, but long surveys have much worse completion rates.

What’s the difference between survey completion rates and response rates? Completion rates measure how many people start the survey and finish it and compare it to people who began the survey and didn’t complete it.

Response rates simply measure how many people completed the survey against how many surveys you sent out.

Here are what the equations look like:

  • # of people who completed the survey ÷ total # of people who opened the survey x 100 = Completion rate
  • # of people who completed the survey ÷ total # of people you sent the survey to x 100 = Response rate

Both of these numbers decrease dramatically the more questions you ask. That’s why one to two question surveys like the three above are so successful. They don’t ask too much of customers, and customers can respond quickly.

You can still get the information you need to improve your products and services, just maybe not on that initial survey. Consider testing optional responses for the longer, thought-provoking questions, or ask those who complete the surveys if they’re willing to take a follow-up questionnaire or speak with one of your representatives.

Tip #4: Remove the friction.

Since you’re essentially asking customers for a favor, you want to make it as easy as possible for them to fill out your survey.

A great way to help you increase your customer survey response rates is to put your surveys in immediately accessible places. Think: Within your web chat platform after a customer service interaction.

The best part? Some conversational platforms like Quiq give you rich messaging capabilities to enable customers to answer surveys right within the channel. Customers won’t be scared off by unknown links, making it faster and easier for them to respond.

Tip #5: Send follow-ups.

Just because customers don’t respond right away doesn’t mean they won’t. Your customers are busy, and things slip their minds just like everyone else. The survey can land on the bottom of the to-do list or not make it on there at all. Sending a follow-up is not only a good idea—it’s a best practice.

Sending email follow-ups is standard, but try reaching out through other channels if customers ignore your survey. Things get lost in emails, sent to spam, or deleted.

Instead, consider outbound SMS/text messaging as an alternative. While email open rates are around 20%, text messages have nearly a 100% read rate. And you get the added benefit of rich messaging that allows customers to answer the survey questions right within their text messages.

Remember, you’re asking for a favor. Keep it friendly and keep follow-ups minimal. Sending multiple emails with “or else” messaging won’t get you anywhere.

Tip #6: Try incentives.

Incentives might not be a feasible long-term solution, but they’ve been proven repeatedly to encourage survey participation.

Here are a few incentives you could try:

  • Coupons and discounts
  • Free shipping
  • Monetary incentives
  • Donations to a favorite charity
  • Entry into a sweepstakes
  • Free swag
  • Free samples
  • Exclusive content
  • Rewards points

Keep in mind that small monetary gifts for everyone actually incentivizes responses more than entry into sweepstakes with large cash prizes.

Tip #7: Test everything.

You can learn all the best tips and tricks and still not produce surveys that resonate with your audience. How do you determine what will work? Test everything.

A/B test survey subject lines, find out the best time to send them, how long after a purchase or interaction, and even what type of questions you ask and how you ask them. You can even test which incentives work better: free shipping, a percentage discount, or a dollar discount.

A good way to use testing is to figure out how to talk and engage with your customers. Figure out if they like being called by their first names or just their last name. See if incorporating their purchase into the email copy works. Does “How are you liking that new spatula, Jane?” work better than “Rate your new spatula”? Test and find out!

Bonus Tip: Respond to submitted surveys.

A big reason people don’t respond to surveys? They don’t think it’ll make a difference.

Send automated thank yous immediately after the survey (as the bare minimum). But if you’re going through responses and see bad ones that you can address directly, do so and let your customers know. Alternatively, when they’re really good, let the customer know how appreciative you are of their response and their business.

If you’re really adventurous, you can even work their sentiment and feedback into future engagement messaging. If customers had a problem with an app, let them know that you’ve updated it. If they really liked a product, share when you get new color options.

While it might not immediately increase your survey response rate, customers will appreciate that their voice is being heard.

It takes a grab-bag of tricks to increase customer survey response rates.

If your customer survey response rates are low, try implementing several of these tips. It’s no secret that consumers are reaching survey fatigue, so the more you can do to make it easy, appealing, and beneficial for your customers, the better off you’ll be.

Social Commerce 101: Tips and Tricks

You already know that e-commerce is booming.

But what about social commerce?

For years, businesses have primarily used social media for marketing. Now, selling through social media is not just possible—it’s prospering.

Even if you haven’t heard of it before, your company is likely already engaging in social commerce. It falls under the e-commerce umbrella, but it refers specifically to purchases made on a social media platform. Any time you connect a social media post with a product page and end up with a sale, you’re engaging in social commerce.

Social commerce is gradually becoming its own market entirely. Consumers spend more time on social media, and new tools are released regularly to make it easier to complete transactions without ever leaving the platforms.

How can you capitalize on social commerce? We’re breaking down what it is and how to use it in your e-commerce strategy.

What is social commerce?

As we alluded to above, social commerce is when your customers purchase directly on a social media platform, like Facebook or Instagram. It can also include sales made from a social media click.

Social selling is also wrapped up in social commerce, with slight differences. Social selling is when a salesperson reaches out to a customer to engage in the selling process.

The top four social platforms for selling are:

  1. Instagram
  2. Facebook
  3. TikTok
  4. Pinterest

Why care about social commerce?

Social commerce is a growing segment of the e-commerce market, and you should absolutely claim a slice of the pie.

According to Insider Intelligence, US social commerce sales are expected to reach $45.74 billion in 2022, with more than half of adults making a purchase directly on social media.

And eMarketer predicts it’ll reach nearly $80 billion by 2025. (That’s a big pie.)

There are also a lot of opportunities to improve mobile sales. While mobile traffic contributes to more retail site visits, it doesn’t correlate with retail sales. Cart abandonment is much higher on mobile than on desktop.

Social media commerce helps businesses capture those lost sales.

Many customers already turn to social media to discover new products, check reviews, and ask for advice. Social commerce simply closes the loop by making it easy to buy, too.

Not convinced? Here are a few more reasons why social commerce is worth your company’s time:

  • Users don’t have to leave whichever app they’re using to make a sale.
  • Fewer clicks removes the friction of selling online and leads to higher conversions.
  • Consumers are less likely to abandon their carts before completing a purchase.
  • The entire customer journey happens within the platform, improving your customer experience.
  • You can hyper-target your customers with audience tools available on social media platforms.

Tips for capitalizing on social commerce

Social commerce is already happening all around the world. Put together a strategy now to jump on the growing trend.

Start small with a strategic plan of action.

You’re probably already engaging in social commerce, but there are different things to consider when making it part of your e-commerce strategy. The biggest takeaway? Start small.

  • Pick your social platforms: Even if your brand is active across multiple social media channels, start your social selling strategy on just one or two. Not all platforms are great for selling, and you likely have different audiences across each.
  • Don’t make it a second store-front: While smaller businesses might be tempted to use Facebook Shops to open their store, larger retailers should hold off on sharing their entire product catalog. Social commerce is primarily driven by small purchases, and offering too many options to your customers can easily lead to confusion and indecision. Start with carefully selected products and add as you go.
  • Offer platform exclusives: An easy way to drum up excitement for social commerce products is to make them exclusive to a platform. This can help launch your social commerce strategy while you’re getting started. It’s also an easy way to test your campaigns on different platforms to see what sells.

Lean into social media marketing tactics.

There have been tons of blog posts dedicated to social media marketing, so we won’t dive too deep into it here. But there are a few important tactics to keep in mind while driving sales.

  • Engage with your audience: The best thing about social media? It’s social. A great strategy doesn’t just include passive posts. Make sure your team actively asks and answers questions, engages with audiences’ posts, and collects user-generated content. When switching to a commerce strategy, it’s easy to overwhelm audiences with sales messaging. Keeping it social and engaging will keep you from alienating your followers.
  • Use influencer marketing: Influencer culture gets a lot of flack, but it’s a proven method for encouraging your audience to engage and purchase from your brand. According to the Digital Marketing Institute, 49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations. Whether you target micro-influencers or the big fish, it’s important to find the right balance between social and selling.
  • Test paid advertising: There’s no denying that many social media platforms have turned into pay-to-play channels. Facebook and Instagram especially offer a wide range of ad options that can draw a clear line between advertising and sales. This makes it easy to test out what messages work for your customers and what kind of products work best for in-app sales.

Tap into your customer service team.

It’s likely that you’re already leveraging your customer service team to help answer customer questions on social media. They’re also a great resource to help drive your social commerce efforts.

  • Train your customer service team to convert. Consumers (especially Millennials and Gen Z) prefer the casual nature of social media over retail websites and traditional communication channels. So your customer service team should take a different approach to chatting and selling to customers on social media. Create social media best practices, so your team hits the right conversational notes and genuinely connects with your customers.
  • Sell in the DMs: When customers reach out for specs, sizing recommendations, and the like, empower your customer service team to complete the sale right within the messaging platform.

See how Quiq integrates messaging payment solutions so your team can securely make a sale without the customer ever leaving the app >

  • Personalize the shopping experience: Selling in the DMs or through other social methods allows your team to connect personally with your customers. Be friendly, use your customers’ names, and offer personalized recommendations.
  • Test and collect feedback: Your customer service team is already primed for collecting customer feedback, and social media is a great place to get quick insights in real-time. See which products will sell on social platforms, what type of messages work, and which purchasing methods your customers are most comfortable using.

Convenience is key.

Convenience is the main driver of social commerce’s success. Customers are able to discover, research, and purchase products without ever leaving their preferred social media app. Make purchasing from your company as easy as possible.

  • Provide multiple options to make a purchase: Social media platforms provide a variety of ways for you to capitalize on sales. Facebook and Instagram have shoppable posts, there’s Facebook Marketplace, Facebook Shops, many “link in bio” platforms, and or sell directly in the DMs.
  • Use AI chatbots for quick responses: When your customer service team isn’t readily available, your friendly chatbot is there to help. Answer customer questions quickly, so they’re less likely to second-guess their purchases and abandon their carts.

Quiq’s customer service chatbots will help you connect with your customers when you can’t. See what they can do >

Optimize for mobile: Since most social commerce will happen on mobile, ensure your checkout and website experience is mobile-friendly. You want to avoid any kind of inconvenience during the purchase process or risk losing the sale altogether.

Don’t sleep on social commerce

While this term is relatively new, there’s no denying that social commerce is here in a big way. Developing a strategy to capitalize on this new form of selling can give your e-commerce business the edge. Plus, you’ll be able to capture the interest of younger generations as they increase their buying power over the next few years.

Now’s the time to jump on this revenue-boosting opportunity.