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Survey maintenance + partnership—Keeping your surveys healthy

Emily Gates | Dec 15, 2017 Emily Gates 12/15/17

Building a killer customer experience (CX) survey is no easy task. Once you’ve established the right invitation method, incentive, structure, length, and design—you may feel tempted to kick your feet up and leave it alone. But ensuring long-term success of your CX program means keeping track of how your survey is doing, even after you’ve put it all together.

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Testing, testing, 1-2-3

Part of maintaining your survey is making sure every part is operating at full strength as customer expectations, your brand strategy, and your CX program evolve over time. What’s working right now may not have the same impact this time next year. The best way to understand how well each part is working is to test each element periodically to make sure you’re getting the best quality feedback.

To make sure you’re getting the highest possible response rates and most accurate results, test and retest:

  • Incentives
  • Questions asked
  • Question wording
  • Invitation methods

So what are you looking for in the tests? It depends on the lever you are pulling, but we generally test to see if we can increase response (via incentives and invite methods), lower abandonment rates (all levers), increase linkage to financials (questions asked/wording), and obtain a sample that represents your customer demographics (incentives and invitation methods).

Tracking the results of each change and comparing them can help you better understand how your changes impact your feedback. And that way, you won’t have to stab around in the dark to figure out which changes are most likely to produce better results. Understanding your business model and your customers are essential first steps in building your survey to begin with, but they’re also crucial when it’s time to test. But how do you know how well your surveys are working to begin with?


Determining when to test

When revisiting your survey after it has spent some time gathering feedback, it’s important to know what you’re looking for in terms of understanding its success. Asking yourself these questions can help you learn more about how well your survey is performing and if it’s time to test:

  • When was the last time you completed your brand’s survey? (Can’t remember? Time to take it!)
  • As a brand, have you been able to take action on the results?
  • Are there other/better avenues for capturing transaction details so there is no need to ask directly in the survey?
  • Are you talking to all customers across all business touchpoints?
  • How has your company’s strategy evolved since you last refreshed your survey?

Understanding the questions—and your answers—can help keep your survey operating at full strength. That means getting the most quality feedback possible, no matter what changes happen within your customer landscape or your business model. Listening closely to your feedback means you’ll learn the most about what your customers are telling you—which helps you build an experience they’ll keep coming back for again and again.

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Bottom line

Keeping your survey healthy is a critical step in running a top-quality CX program for your brand. Testing every element periodically can help you ensure the feedback you get is always plentiful and accurate. Great feedback ensures the resulting insights will point you in the right direction when it comes to knowing where to focus your efforts—so you don’t waste time fixing what isn’t broken.

Keeping your survey under control can be a full-time job in and of itself—but the right partnership can make building and maintaining your survey no big deal. SMG has been helping brands build great experiences for customers all around the world for 26 years.

Want to learn more about our approach to building a winning CX program? Take a look at our full guide to building powerful surveys here.

Emily Gates
Director, Client Insights