Customer Experience Blog

Net Promoter Score Survey - 25 Tips To Increase Response Rate (2019 Edition)

By Avinash Patil

survey response rate

Improving your Net Promoter Score or NPS is a problem at hand that businesses are dealing with. The answer to the solution isn’t a magic spell. 

While there are some things that are totally out of your control, there are equally great number of things that you can change.

In order to help you improve your bad NPS survey response rate, here are 25 practical tips that will help you with it.
 

1. Craft Personalized Content

Many marketing emails end up in your customer’s inbox. What would make them open such emails?

Personalized content!

Let your customers know that your brand takes their feedback seriously and you value their time. One small yet significant personalized thing to do is to address your customers by their name.

Is it important?

Yes!

Will you gain anything from it?

A definite Yes!

Doesn’t it feel great when someone whom you don’t really know well addresses you by your name? Don’t you feel elated that they got your name right?

Similarly, your customers too rejoice when you address them by their name.

It is a great turn off when the emails are nothing but an invasive marketing. To make matters worse, spelling the name wrong is the last nail in the coffin for your dipping NPS survey response rates.

Emails containing names of the customers have a greater response rate. Try it today and you will be blown away by the results.

2. Focus on Branding

Branding is a thing that is overlooked by businesses when sending out surveys. It is a critical aspect that cannot be taken for granted if you want to build an appealing image.

Adding your logo to the survey sets the foundation for your branding. Doing so helps in establishing a brand identity which further paves the way for a high brand recall.

“Fine, how do we do create a brand identity and brand recall?”

That’s easy! By using colors.

Using your brand colors will ensure that your customers will remember you which helps in cementing your brand in the minds of the customers.

Also read: The complete guide to Net Promoter Score

3. Perform A/B testing for your subject lines

An inquisitive subject line is the key to higher email open rates. If your email subject lines aren’t compelling enough, your customers will move your email to the trash.

To avoid that, A/B test your subject lines, so that you are aware of what makes your customers tick. Split testing your subject lines can help you know what works and what doesn’t.

With the average email open rate being 25%, it would take more than ‘Fill the survey’ to get the insightful feedback you expect from your customers.

It will require a substantial amount of thoughtful experimentation before you can finally zero in on an email subject line that gets your customer to take the desired action.

4. Include open ended questions

Including open-ended questions in your NPS survey can help you know the qualitative data that is required to improve your product or service.

The reason why open-ended questions give meaningful data is that they can’t be answered with a simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No’.

Targeted NPS surveys powered by customer data can help you increase your response rates.

5. Send the surveys in the language that your customers speak

Your customers may be from a different region. Though English may be your preferred language, you won’t get a satisfactory response if they aren’t from an English speaking majority nation.

That’s why you need to send out NPS surveys in their native language to get the response. If you are a US-based firm having clients in Europe, where English isn’t the first language, you should send the survey in the language they speak.

6. Make your survey templates mobile responsive

Well, you might have heard the term ‘mobile responsive’ a zillion times, but have you implemented it?

Customers are nowadays hooked to their smartphone screens and there’s a good chance that your survey too would be viewed on a mobile. The numbers are only going to increase with time and not jumping on the bandwagon will leave you far behind.

7. Refrain from asking additional questions

We all want to know more from our customers but in the case of surveys, more is always bad. There’s nothing as displeasing as a long survey which takes more than 2 minutes to fill.

Quick surveys which ask the right questions add value and deliver the insights that you are actually looking for.

Our clients often ask us whether to include additional questions, but we reason with them as to why asking too many questions is bad for their business.

The next time you send out NPS surveys to your customers, put yourself in their shoes and imagine how you would react if you were asked too many questions.

8. Real person surveys work well

An age-old practice in email surveys is sending system generated emails. If you think that works well, we are sorry to burst your bubble.

Your customers hate receiving emails from ‘no-reply@xyz.com’ and it is going to remain that way. An email from a real person is far more likely to garner a response than an auto-generated email.

Customers these days have become smarter. They very well recognize that a system generated email is sent in bulk to other customers as well.

An email from ‘John@abc.com’ is likely to receive a response as opposed to ‘support@abc.com’.

9. Send surveys from your company domain
 

Sending emails from your domain establishes credibility and an unquestionable identity that is otherwise missing from emails that aren’t from a company domain.

Professionalism is a business trait that businesses need to have and getting your own domain can be the first step towards achieving it.

Misuse of information is a thing of worry for customers. Having a custom domain puts that to rest.

10. Use Email Authentication Methods

Email Authentication methods such as DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) , SPF(Sender Policy Work), and DMARC( Domain-based Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance) help Google and Yahoo filter the emails for any spammy content.

With most emails sent by businesses ending up in spam, the email authentication services help you bypass the spam wall and make it to the inbox.

Using SPF, DKIM, and DMARC in your DNS settings means that your NPS service provider is authorized to send the NPS survey emails on your behalf.

Otherwise, the email will definitely end up in spam as the domain would be yours but the IP address will be of your NPS service provider. 

11. Use a dedicated IP address to send your surveys

An IP address is a numerical label allocated to a computer connected to the internet. Often, companies use a shared IP address to send their emails.

Having a dedicated IP address helps you send emails in large numbers. This is not possible using a shared IP address.

There are a host of other benefits that come with having a dedicated IP address. They are listed below-

  • They help you maintain a good reputation as they can’t be misused. 
  • Since email authentication tools like DMARC, SPF, and DKIM will be used, no other suspicious third-party domains will be displayed. This is because you would have permitted your NPS service provider.
  • Using certification services like TalosIntelligence, BarracudaCentral, and TrustedSource helps you pass through the spam filter. This is only possible if you have a dedicated IP address.
  • Dedicated IP addresses help you avoid getting blacklisted from the likes of Gmail, Yahoo, and Outlook.
  • Do want to send out 1000 email NPS surveys a day? If the answer is ‘Yes’, then you should get a dedicated IP address because you need the infrastructure to support such an activity.


12. Refine your Email list


The key to a high NPS response rate is to ensure that the survey respondents are actively participating in them.

If you have a zillion subscribers and if only half of them respond to them, it is time for you to refine your email list and filter all the inactive subscribers.

Inactive subscribers mean that they are no longer interested in your surveys and you should take them off the list so that your NPS surveys can be targeted better.

Tools like Neverbounce and Email checker help you weed out inactive subscribers and help you get the actionable NPS survey data you look forward to obtaining.

Your email bounce rates for your NPS surveys can provide the inactive subscribers list.

Also read: What is a good Net Promoter Score for your business?

13. Segment your customers and stay away from premature surveying

A rookie mistake that brands often commit is not segmenting their customers according to the customer lifecycle stage they are in. If a customer has newly signed up, asking them a question about the overall product experience is pointless.

Similarly, surveying users who have spent considerable time regarding their overall experience, helps you discover vital feedback.

So, the next time you send out NPS surveys, make a detailed analysis based on the customer lifecycle stage they are currently a part of. Customers who have had more interactions with your brand can help you provide valuable feedback that you are in search of.

The summary of the point is that surveying customers who haven’t used your product won’t add much value.
 

14. Send prior notification before sending the NPS survey

 

Intimating your customers before an NPS survey is scheduled to be sent can increase your response rates. In fact, informing a customer beforehand can improve the survey rates by 4 to 29%.

That’s a phenomenal increase!

The next time you plan to send a survey to your customers, let them know beforehand and you will definitely see a monumental change in your NPS survey response rates.

15. Exclude your Detractors from the survey

Disgruntled customers or Detractors will have a poor opinion when they are included as part of the sample size. It is not wise to include them.

Why?

For the simple reason that they are bound to give you low scores. So, the prudent way would be to solve the Detractor’s issues and then proceed with sending them the surveys.

If you can’t solve the issue, fast track the issue by bringing it to the notice of the concerned department and marking it a high priority case. Converting detractors into your brand promoters should precede over everything else.

Solving their problem and then sending them the survey might make them change their opinion about you.

Never ever overlook customer issues. This is one of the reasons why customers churn.

16. Value the privacy of your customers

In early 2018, the business world erupted over the GDPR compliance rules. There were mixed opinions and brands had a herculean task to ensure that they abide by the rules.

Even before the GDPR rules came into existence, customer data was sacred. Companies were bound by stringent rules so that misuse of data and theft was difficult.

In the recent past, Facebook became the ire of the internet after the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke out where there was a rampant breach of customer data.

Before you hit the ‘Send’ button, make sure you include the privacy disclaimer which will assure the customers that their data is in safe hands.

The NPS survey emails you send should contain the following details as part of your privacy disclaimer-

  • A detailed account of the customer data collected
  • Divulgence about the use of the collected customer data
  • Contact information for clarification of doubts or explanation
  • The right to alter or delete any sensitive information 

Customers are parting with their data in exchange for a greater value. If you use the data for your nefarious profitable gains, they aren’t going to accept it. Invading the privacy of your customers comes at a cost that is disastrous for your business.

You could risk going out of business and shutting shop permanently. Not to forget, your reputation is also jeopardized.

17. Time the intervals for sending the NPS surveys

Surveys of any type, not just NPS see a successful response rate only when the interval period is good.

The first survey to a recently onboarded customer must be sent within the first 7 to 30 days. This gives them ample time to get acquainted using the product or service.

Sending quarterly or bi-annual surveys can help you collect meaningful data since the time is sufficient for the customer to experience using the product or service.

It also helps you gather data pertaining to each stage of the customer lifecycle stage.

While Relational NPS surveys help in ascertaining the overall customer perception of the product, transactional NPS is beneficial in measuring a certain customer interaction. It may include a support ticket raised, product updates, or a repair.

18. Send the surveys at the right time of the day

The time slot and the day of the week you send the NPS surveys are just as important as your subject lines.

According to SmartInsights study, 23.63% is the email open rates that occur during the very first hour of sending the surveys. The rate further decreases to 4.8% by the 4th hour and further dips down to a meagre 0.63% at the end of 24 hours.

With the stats painting a gloomy picture, it is important to follow the 8 AM to 10 PM golden hour rule so that you can stand out amongst the fluff emails.

No one likes to read emails in a cluttered inbox. Getting the basics right helps you catch the attention of your customers.

Keep in mind that the time zones are instrumental in driving the response rates. Whether you are serving the APAC region or EMEA, time zones just can’t be ignored. 

Also read: 4 NPS myths that need to be debunked 

19. Don’t subject your customers to survey fatigue

Frequently surveying your customers more than required just bores your customers. They will end up hating you if you have them fill surveys every now and then.

It is advised to send the NPS surveys bi-quarterly or annually. Sending the NPS surveys more than the prescribed number, makes them suffer from survey fatigue.

Rather bombarding your customers with questions after every transaction, pick up a slot from the timeline and send the surveys.

Ideally, surveying once in six months is good. In case, a customer misses out on filling the NPS survey, send them a mail in the repeat campaign. If they respond, send them a survey in the next quarter and exclude them from the repeat survey campaign.

20. Only send surveys that you are capable of handling
 

The number of surveys you send should not be more than what you can manage. While we do understand your drive to gather customer feedback, biting off more than you can chew isn’t good.

Why?

Unless all the customer feedback gathered through the NPS surveys is utilized properly, only then can it add value to the product or service. What's the use if you aren't able to measure customer satisfaction correctly? 

Also read: Learn to measure customer satisfaction correctly?

Deriving insights from the customer feedback data collected takes a lot of time. If you are doing it manually, make sure that you have enough staff to process it.

An even better way would be to use a CEM solution which automates the response to Promoters and Passives.

Customize your response to your Detractors and take steps to resolve them.

21. Offer Incentives if that’s the last option

In an NPS survey, offering incentives is usually advised against since the sample size is small and it could lead to a skewed data.

But, what can you do if your NPS response rates don’t have a favorable response?

Then, you should definitely start considering incentives. Incentivized surveys are known to increase response rates from 5 to 20%. The incentive could be a discount, cashback or free credits.

It’s your choice!

A word of caution that we’d like to advice is not to give incentives which are unethical. Provide an incentive that justs does the trick, it doesn’t have to be expensive.

The right incentive will incite the customers if they find it to be appealing. According to an Oxford Academic Study, 19.1% and 7.9% was the increase in the average NPS response rates for monetary and non-monetary incentives.

That’s a remarkable increase!

The key takeaway from this point is that don’t offer incentives or rewards that could lead to biased NPS survey response rates.

22. Leverage the survey channel that is best suited for your audience

The survey channel that you use is the key to driving high response rates. Concentrate mainly on the channel where your customers are active.

Be it web, in-app, or mobile surveys, the survey channel is underrated when it comes to driving your response rates. Let’s look at each of the survey channels and how they fare.

a. Email surveys

Emails are gaining more relevance these days, but the only drawback of them are low response rates.

Why?

Because businesses send tons of email to customers. Most of the emails don’t have creative subject lines and have junk content which is the reason why emails end up in the trash.

Now, don’t get disappointed because there’s one good thing about email surveys.

Qualitative feedback! Yes, email surveys help you obtain qualitative feedback which is not possible with other channels.

b. In-App and Web Surveys 

In-App and Web Surveys have higher response rates compared to email NPS surveys however, they are mostly contextual.

That means, it is useful only when the survey is related to a particular transaction such as product purchase, support ticket raised or a product feature being rolled out.

c. SMS Surveys 

The one advantage that SMS surveys hold over the other methods is swift response.

Do you want to know the reason?

Because since customers are hooked to their mobile phones, they are more likely to respond immediately.

Now that all the surveys channels have been discussed in brief, weigh in the costs and the effectiveness before using the channel.

The main thing is to choose a channel where most of your customers are present. In order to get the most out of surveys, use a mix of the survey channels.

23. Resend surveys to customers who haven’t finished

A sizeable part of your survey population will only answer half of the survey and might not finish owing to some reasons. When this happens, send a gentle reminder to all the respondents who haven’t completed the survey to complete it.

You should take special care that the customers who have already been surveyed aren’t sent the reminders or repeat surveys. Also, please don’t send any more than 2 or 3 survey reminders.

If you do, you are bound to lose your customers.

An ‘Unsubscribe’ button should be provided for all customers who aren’t willing to take part in the surveys. 'Respect privacy', remember?

The reminders should be sent to remind customers and not trouble them. Schedule the reminders in accordance with your survey schedule.

Also read: Net Promoter Score vs CSAT Score - Which one should you use? 

24. Manage the auto-replies

Whenever a recipient is on leave or out of town, the auto-replies send the standard message informing the sender that the recipient is not available. It also asks the sender to contact a particular email or person.

When this happens, most of the NPS survey software don’t provide two of the most important things-

a. Provide the Unsubscribe button

Filtering out the unresponsive contacts from your email list helps maintain a quality list that yields high response rates.

b. Send the surveys again 

An NPS software that lets you send the surveys to customers who have missed the surveys helps you increase the response rates.

By sending it on a later date, it is assured that your deliverability remains unaffected.

25. Be thankful to your customers

Have you wondered what would happen if your customers didn't provide feedback? How would you ever know what improvements your product or service needs?

Without customer feedback, it is hard to know your shortcomings. So, be thankful and express your gratitude for your customer’s time. A simple ‘Thank You’ is more than enough.

Here’s why you need to be thanking your customers-

  • There’s nothing as disheartening as realizing your pleas have fallen on deaf ears. A thank you followed by efforts to implement it will get you applause from your customers.
  • Thanking your customers ensures that they would be willing to participate in future surveys.
  • When you thank your customers, your reputation increases and your customers will recommend you to their friends and family.

 

Final Thoughts

With all the aforementioned tips, it shouldn’t be difficult for you to improve your NPS survey response rates.

We have included all points which cover aspects like personalization and customization, delivery of surveys, audience analysis, scheduling the surveys and other miscellaneous tips.

If you liked this blog post, give it a thumbs up. Also, we would love to hear your NPS story.

  

Topics: Net Promoter Score

Avinash Patil

Written by Avinash Patil