TLDR: It’s true that your customers will never engage with you the same way each time. As unique persons, they expect choices and options from you.
Therefore, if you want to maximize the customer feedback you gather, you’ll need to engage customers across multiple survey channels.
What are multi-channel surveys?
A “channel” is a survey distribution vehicle, such as:
- Sending an email
- A pop-up window or widget inside your web application or website (aka in-app)
- A push notification inside your mobile app
- An SMS message
- A phone call
- A letter (snail mail)
So, multi-channel surveys employ two or more channels of distribution to broaden your reach and increase your response rates.
Why send email surveys?
A percentage of your user population isn’t actively engaged with your product. And it’s incredibly important to know why.
Therefore, email might be the best way to get a survey response, because these users aren’t in your product very often, if at all.
Also, some people prefer to respond to email because they feel more in control or less pressured by choosing when to open and respond to your email.
Why use in-app surveys?
In-application surveys are known to drive higher response rates, from 30-50% above email response rates. This big increase in survey responses can provide much more accurate and reliable findings since it’s more representative of your customer base than the lower response rates that email produces.
My belief is that users are most willing to give feedback while they are “in the moment” of using your product. The beauty of an NPS ® survey in particular is that it’s pretty unobtrusive for the user. Click a button and you’re done in a second if you want to be.
In-application surveys are best done when you collect them continuously versus periodically. In this way, you’re getting constant feedback and sensing trends in how your customer base is feeling about you.
For example, I love the “before and after” scores surrounding a major product update. The different scores can be a very telling measure of the success of the new version and its features.
What about the other channels?
Phone calls and SMS can be obtrusive to the customer, so perhaps it’s best to avoid these channels. As an aside: these channels can be very suitable for transactional surveys that measure customer satisfaction with a recent service experience. You’re asking a customer about a specific experience that is fresh in their minds.
Snail Mail is expensive and receives low response rates. Unless you really can’t get meaningful response volume from other channels, mail is a “last resort” channel given all the other options.
Survey frequency and governance
You can’t operate each channel independently, because you bear the risk of over-surveying a user. So, establish limits on the frequency of total survey requests across all the channels you use and be disciplined about the number of questions you present in each survey.
More importantly, make sure your operational systems can be configured to enforce these policies. Doing multi-channel surveys in one tool is the best way to ensure this happens.