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How Frequently Should You Survey?

Jacob Brain


Measuring performance is a critical aspect to managing a customer relationship. You need to know how you are performing in many different aspects of your business and act accordingly to advance your position. But how much is too much? When is it not enough? Take a look at these two extremes to see if you can identify any errors in your current survey frequency.

Too frequently

The immediate sign of the “to frequent” survey is dropping click through and completion rates. If you are not getting responses, you are missing context or overreaching.

Missing context means that you are surveying your segment at a point that is irrelevant to them. It’s either too late after a purchase, or unattached to some significant event, so the relevance is lost on the customer and they are not engaged. Overreaching means you are taking your relationship for granted, and asking too much of the relationship by prompting survey questions too often.

You could be sending too many emails flooding them with your needs. Your survey series should always include the survey email, thank you email, and follow up email. You ask, thank, and respond. The response should not be another thank you, but what you intend to do with the information and how it impacts your company. Many times this email is weeks after the survey period closes and actual change has taken place.

The point of this note is that the survey process should come to a close within a relationship before the next one begins. If you are not closing the loop on your surveys, it comes across as an ineffective communication to your company.

Not frequent enough

If you are hitting or exceeding common benchmarks of 5-10% of respondents, and getting good data from your surveys, you could increase frequency. What you would want to pay close attention to is how you proceed in the increase. Stay relevant by keeping the surveys pointed (a few questions as possible) and timely (right after actions). People are happy to give you quick feedback, as long as it does not take too much time.

Also, you are not surveying enough if you don’t have proper data on your customers. Be sure to build knowledge, not just feedback when you survey. Ask demographic and preference questions, as well as getting feedback on products or services so you learn about them in the process. And always thank them for the feedback and then respond again with what you are going to do about it.

If you are not hitting those benchmarks, refine your process before you try to ramp up frequency. In Great by Choice by Jim Collins, he uses the metaphor, “fire bullets then cannonballs”. Make sure you are exacting and hitting targets, before you “fire cannonballs” and spend more money on more surveys.

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