How To Ask for Feedback via Email

So you just sent out a mass email to your list of customers, asking them to take a quick survey. You had a fancy CTA button, a witty subject line, and a simple layout. Surely, people would be eager to answer a few quick questions for you, you thought.

Until all the data (or lack of) came back in. Hardly anybody opened your email. Less clicked on your survey CTA button. Even less completed the survey, most people who took it only made it halfway through.

And you put in hours of preliminary research so you could craft the perfect email asking for feedback from your customers. And this isn’t the first time this has happened either.

You know how important customer feedback and, by extension, happy customers are. But nothing seems to work. You can’t force your customers to fill out the survey, even though you know it will only take them a few minutes. You’re lost… but you found the right post 🙂

I will detail exactly what you’re doing wrong, then spell out how you can ask for feedback via email and actually get responses.

Problem #1 – Everybody hates surveys

How many times have you called the number on a receipt asking for feedback? Never? If so, congratulations, you’re just like everybody else! You’re not going to go out of your way to give feedback… unless you’ve had a miserable experience.

Even if you’ve had a miserable experience, most people are still unlikely to fill out a lengthy survey.

I remember at the end of each semester in college, you’d get a weekly email for each class asking you to submit feedback on the course.

The only time I was tempted to answer the survey was when my professor was awful. There was one time I even started to fill out a survey, but halfway through I decided I had better things to do.

Most people do not care enough to answer lengthy surveys.

Conversely, I recently had a terrible experience at Dunkin Donuts. Instead of asking to fill out a survey, I emailed their customer service team to tell them about how I waited in the drive-thru line for 25 minutes.

They apologized and offered me a free coffee for my trouble. Which brings me to the next major problem…

Problem #2 – A presumption their responses won’t be acted upon

When you send someone a link to fill out a lengthy survey, the first thing they think is, “How will this benefit me?”.

They don’t care how this will benefit you. They want to gain something for giving you their time. And more often than not, their responses won’t be acted upon. So their presumption about surveys is (usually) correct.

But the deeper problem here actually has to do with my next point…

Problem #3 – Too many questions

How can you be expected to act on your customers’ feedback when you ask too many questions?

First, you have to decide which specific question you want to focus on. Then you need to analyze the responses and see what the biggest problem your customers are having is. Then you need to implement a plan of action to change that.

All of this is a lot of work. And each additional question you ask in your surveys adds even more work.

Further, each additional question signals to your customers that you won’t be acting on their responses. Or that it will take a while for them to see the results.

Ask fewer questions if you want more people to answer your surveys.

Yes, asking “just one more” question will hurt your overall response rates. At YesInsights, we don’t even believe in asking more than one question at a time.

Problem #4 – The survey experience has too much friction

Think of each step of your survey as friction to your customer.

First, they have to open your email. Then, they need to scroll down and click on a link to an external site where your survey is hosted. Then, they have to click on the “Next Page” button to continue answering your survey questions. There’s friction at each step!

Eventually, the friction accumulates and they decide to do something better with their time. And that’s why most people who started your survey didn’t finish it.

Problem #5 – They don’t believe it will be done in “5 minutes or less”

Let’s face it. Nobody believes you when you add how your survey won’t take longer than X minutes to complete.

Actions speak louder than words. And their past experience with surveys has told them that that line is a lie. They know it will take at least as long as you promised they’d have it finished by, and that it’s more likely that it will take much longer.

So instead of seeing for themselves, they close your email and go back to their busy lives.

If your survey really was so short, couldn’t you make it easier for them to answer directly in the email?

So how can we turn your email surveys into ones that get feedback, cultivate an awesome customer experience, and can turn unhappy customers into promoters?

Solution #1 – One-click and NPS surveys

One of the easiest ways to curtail most of the problems I mentioned above is to use one-click and NPS surveys that naturally embed into your email provider.

Here’s a GIF of how easy it is to complete our surveys:

image of YesInsights' one-click surveys that naturally embed into your email provider for those wondering how to ask for feedback via email

As you can tell, there’s practically no friction at all!

Your customers won’t have to click on a link to see the survey. They won’t wonder how long it will take to complete. And they definitely won’t stop halfway through due to friction! (Not that it’s even possible to fill out half of a one-click survey.)

And you won’t be tempted to ask “just one more” question.

So you should make sure that your one question is the most important question to your business right now. And if you’re asking the most relevant question to your business right now, it’s much easier to act on the results.

Need help coming up with questions? Download our “100 Questions” ebook for free!

Solution #2 – Acting upon the feedback

Acting upon the feedback you receive from asking just one question will save you many headaches.

You’ll have a head start in implementing a plan of action instead of sifting through tons of data to decide which question you should focus on first. And your customers will notice.

The quicker you can solve their problems, the more appreciated they will feel. They’ll start to feel like their voice does matter and the barrier of entry to get feedback from them will decrease.

And you will have a product people truly love if you’re consistently listening to the users of your product.

Solution #3 – Personalization

Another big mistake that I see being made when sending out email surveys for feedback is a lack of personalization. The “From Name” isn’t your real name. The email survey template could be found online. And so on.

If you’re making these mistakes, just add a touch of your personality! Your customers will rejoice knowing that they’re communicating with a real person, and not a bot.

And the more personable you are with your customers, the more likely you’ll be able to develop a relationship with your customers. Which will make them more likely to provide feedback.

Solution #4 -Start an ongoing conversation

Sometimes, a one-click survey can’t answer all of your questions. So it’s important not to neglect open-ended questions too.

An open-ended question cannot be asked in a one-click survey, as it requires your customer go into detail about their particular situation.

However, using a one-click survey as a preliminary question can be a good practice.

For example, you could send out a simple question with a Yes or No answer. You could ask, “Is there anything we could be doing better?”. Then, with the help of Zapier, you can trigger each “Yes” response to be added to a Google Sheet so it’s easy to reach out and dive deeper into the details of what you could be doing better.

And you won’t be bothering all of your customers that are already happy with your product or service.

Solution #5 –  Follow-up and thank them

This is probably the most important step (see Problem #2 above). One of the biggest hurdles to getting people to provide their feedback via surveys is that they feel like it’s a waste of time.

And usually, it is a waste of time. So it’s crucial to follow-up with them after you’ve made the changes to let them know that you care about their input and to thank them for bringing the problem to your attention.

This will prove to your customers that you value their time and input and are dedicated to creating an awesome customer experience for them.

If you follow these steps, you won’t have to wonder how to ask for feedback via email ever again 🙂

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John is the Marketing Lead at YesInsights. John is motivated by a desire to make other's lives easier, particularly through digital means. He is fascinated by seeing other businesses grow, and that's how John landed at YesInsights.

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