Customer Pulse Surveys: How Much is Too Much?

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Customer Pulse SurveysWith the proliferation of DIY survey tools, it is easier than ever to survey your customers. So easy, in fact, that many companies have completely lost control over who is surveying which customers, when and how many surveys are being sent to specific groups of customers. Additionally, if no one is managing the list of customers who choose to opt-out of your surveys, you risk violating your company’s privacy policy.

While it is nice to be asked your opinion, customers begin to feel that “enough is enough.” Over-surveying does not communicate customer centricity – it communicates that you do not value customers enough to be judicious in contacting them, and ultimately, that your surveys are inconvenient at best, and at worst an annoying invasion of privacy.

What are Pulse Surveys?

This is an even greater concern given the latest marketing research trend: pulse surveys. Pulse surveys are much shorter than traditional surveys (about ten questions), focus on only one or two topics, but are sent more frequently to customers. The hypothesis is that customers will be more likely to respond to – and less likely to be annoyed by – shorter surveys, even if they receive them more frequently. In fact, some experiments have discovered that as many as 50% of B2B customers will respond to a short survey, where most traditional full-scale customer satisfaction survey struggles to get a 10% response from B2B audiences.

Pulse surveys, when conducted properly, serve as your early warning system for client satisfaction. In olden days, miners would take canaries into the coal mines with them. When noxious gas accumulations caused the canaries to stop singing, the miners knew it was time to evacuate before they too were overcome. Pulse surveys can be your canaries – letting you know when satisfaction is trending downward before you see other, more devastating signs of customer dissatisfaction (e.g., loss of sales or increasing contract cancellations).

However, pulse surveys cannot take the place of other marketing research efforts. You still need to explore new products, evaluate marketing communications, and test operational improvements. Plus, you probably still need to conduct an overall customer satisfaction survey so that you can understand the importance of different factors in driving satisfaction. How do you fit them all together into a research calendar?

Tips for Managing Customer Survey Frequency

Ideally, all survey efforts in your company go through one central contact point. This maintains survey quality (especially for DIY surveys), ensures that the information collected results in action and improvement, prevents over-surveying, and maintains control of opt-out customers. Survey invitations, reminders, and completes should be tracked through your CRM so that you can manage and regulate customer survey frequency, response rates, and opt-outs at an enterprise level. Having this information available will allow you to monitor responses and determine the optimal survey frequency (type and length) for your customers.

Additionally, in many organizations, DIY marketing researchers simply send the survey to all customers, whether they need that many responses or whether the survey applies to all customers. This is also something that can be controlled by having a single point of control for access to customers for marketing research purposes.

Everyone in your organization should view customer feedback with the greatest respect, as a rare and valuable resource. We would never want surveys to be the reason for customer attrition!

Contact Us for help developing your Customer Survey strategy!

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Kyle Burnam

Kyle Burnam is the CEO of Infosurv and the leader of its sister company, Intengo, where he oversees all client research and R&D projects. Having been in the industry since 2005, Kyle brings a wealth of experience to the table and an innovative eye to every project.