Everyone in business knows customer feedback is worth its weight in gold. Who better to ask about your latest feature upgrade than the people paying money to use it.

The concept seems simple at first. Email your existing customers or leads, ask them the right questions and implement the changes that best align everyone’s needs.

If only it were that simple.

The truth is, no matter how much someone loves your business, they simply just don’t have the time or motivation to complete the typical survey.

Doing Surveys the Old Way is Hard

Studies indicate the average survey response rate hovers around 10-15%. This seems decent, especially if you have a huge email list. But even then you’re still leaving 85-90% of your list with a bad taste in their mouth… tempting them to hit unsubscribe.

I faced this exact problem while setting up the email sequences for a startup I was working for last year. We had a tiny list of about 500 people who had signed up for a free trial to our tool. So I decided to create a survey and ask them a few quick questions regarding their experience. The response rate was terrible. Out of 500 emails sent only 50 opened the email, of which only four people completed the survey. To add salt to my wounds, it turned out that six people had opted-out of the list.

Luckily, all hope isn’t lost. By thinking a little outside the box, and using the right tools, it’s possible to turn the entire model on its head. Which means it’s almost effortless to get high-quality customer feedback from your list.

Look At Surveys Through the Eyes of A Customer

Although it might seem like an obvious exercise, very few email marketers consider the user’s experience when it comes to customer feedback.

You have to assume the people receiving your emails are busy. They’re probably checking their emails at work. When they are under pressure and stressed out.

If you start thinking about things from the person on the other end’s perspective, you’ll quickly realize that time is the most important metric to optimize for.

Your customers have very little time to give you, even if they are huge fans of your business. Additionally, there’s all these apps and websites waging war on their attention spans each day. Reading a message from a friend on Facebook probably feels way more enticing to them than answering your boring survey.

Gary V quote

You need to focus on saving as much time as possible. And if you can do it correctly people will start to love you for it.

Surveys Can Help Customers Love Your Business

It seems almost strange to think that surveying your customers in the right way could make them like you more. But just think of how comforting it feels when the manager of a restaurant you’re eating at comes over and asks if you have enjoyed your meal.

People want to feel like answering your survey makes a difference.

The trick is to make your surveys convenient while making it more obvious that your customer’s answers will be heard.

How To Do It

The two most important factors I consider when setting up surveys in emails:

  1. Minimize the obstacles blocking people from answering your surveys.
  2. Ask only one question at a time, at the right time.

Minimizing Obstacles

Typical surveys are filled with many obstacles a potential respondent faces.

Usually, there’s a button in the email you send out reading something like “Click to open survey.” The user then clicks this button, which opens an external page that takes some time to load. Then they have to answer each question on a given page and hit next, while they wait for the next page to load. Sometimes they need to fill in their name and email before they can complete the survey and click submit. All of these actions are obstacles. Obstacles that can be easily avoided with a few simple tricks.

One Question Surveys

It seemed strange at first, but asking only a single question was a huge breakthrough. Not only is it much easier for me to figure out what I want to ask, but response rates to a single question survey are unbelievable. People don’t mind answering something if they know it will take only a few seconds.

The single question survey also makes respondents feel like their answer will make a difference. Because well, it does. It’s much easier to act on the results of a single question survey because the results are easy to interpret. You don’t have to worry about which question you should focus on first because you only asked one question.

Timing Is Important

One thing to take note is that you need to ask your one question at the right time.

Your email list wants to give you feedback more than you think, you just need to time it right.

So for example, if you get an email notification that a purchased product has been delivered, you can ask them if the shipping was on time. This will help with your response rates while improving the quality of the data you gather since the experience of interacting with your business will still be fresh in your respondents’ minds.

Embedding Survey Questions Directly Into Emails

This is where the convenience factor goes to the next level.

You can embed survey questions directly into emails so that it takes one click for someone to give you feedback. You’ve probably seen examples of these surveys before. Usually, they come in the form of an NPS(Net Promoter Score)  survey – you can see an example of that below.

NPS surveys are great, but I find them much less versatile than one question surveys.

The cool thing is that the same mechanism that makes NPS surveys work also makes one question surveys work. So you ask a question and have a list of answers that are all hyperlinks. Here’s an example:

GameFly survey

Then, special tokens automatically capture responses and email addresses when users choose an answer by clicking one of the links. It’s so simple, yet so many email marketers don’t even realize this is possible.

After applying the one question limit and embedding my one question surveys directly into the regular emails I sent to my email list, response rates shot through the roof. It was almost as though people didn’t even realize they were getting surveyed.

The only problem I had left was that setting up these surveys took a lot of effort. I had to create the surveys manually, with the right links, going to a domain name I had to setup and track myself.

YesInsights To the Rescue

YesInsights is a tool that takes all the hard work out of setting up and tracking the one question or NPS surveys I mentioned above.

You type your question and the answers into a form to create the survey. Then, you just select the email service provider you use, and it automatically creates a snippet you can copy and paste directly into your existing email campaigns.

Alternatively, you can also use YesInsights to setup NPS surveys. Many businesses are including NPS surveys in the signatures of their outgoing emails to help them figure out how happy their customers are in general.

A Special Offer for Benchmark Email Users

By following the outline I gave above and using YesInsights, I am certain you will see a drastic increase in the amount of customer feedback you receive. Feel free to share your own experiences in the comments below.

As a special offer from the YesInsights team, I would like to share the coupon code “BenchInsights20” for 20% off your first month at YesInsights for the first 20 people to signup.