Thursday, August 28, 2014

Convincing someone to take a survey after they receive a product or service can be truly difficult. Many companies have attempted to develop surveys that accurately query their customer base, often with skewed results or a series of hang-ups. That's why it's necessary to build a survey that is simple, quick, and possibly even incentivized; anything else just won’t keep the attention of consumers. In order to create an effective IVR survey, you’ve got to think like the customer.

Timing & Tone

An IVR survey should take place as close to the point of interaction as possible. That way, the customer will remember their experience and have a great deal to share, since it’s fresh in mind. Just as importantly, make your IVR survey as pleasant-sounding as possible. Clients will thus be more likely to enjoy their survey experience, and less likely to abandon the call.


Put all of your most important questions first. Don’t bury the lead: tell them that it’s not a sales call, and that this survey is voluntary. And don’t bog down your IVR survey with intricate directions or facts and figures. Get right to the point: capture as much information in as little time as possible. At most that gives you three minutes, though the best IVR surveys ask only three questions in under 45 seconds. In this way, you reduce the number of customers who hang-up. If you have more questions to ask your clients, invite them to opt-in to additional questions for further feedback.

Be Positive & Consistent

Consider the questions you are asking and how exactly they're phrased. Keep the questions positive. For example, use “How pleased were you?” rather than “How disappointed were you?” For scale questions, always use the same scale. In other words, be consistent with your numbers, and use even numbers rather than odd. Survey takers tend to choose the average number – the one in the middle – and this doesn’t provide you with very much information. So don’t give them the opportunity. Choose an even scale, like 1 to 4 instead of 1 to 5, to quickly alleviate this issue.

Limit Options

If you intend to give a list of choices for the survey questions, do not list more than four options. Human short-term memory is ordinarily limited to remembering four choices, so make it easy on them. And when you list the choices, be sure to give the number to press for each option at the end. This allows your customer to concentrate on the content of the option, not which button they need to press.

Open-Ended Comments

It’s always useful to provide space for the customer’s own comments. Similar to a comment box at the end of an online survey, provide an open segment at the end of your phone survey where a customer may freely voice what they are feeling and thinking.

All in all, it is best to empathize with the consumer. After all, we’re all consumers. So what would make us want to participate in an interactive survey? Do we want incentives? Participating in a survey takes up time, and many of modern consumers don’t have much to spare. Make it as seamless, easy, and beneficial as possible. Relay the benefit of participating to the customer right up front, even if it’s simply to improve customer service. And communicating with participants after the survey to show them the results and/or what the company did with such results will let them know their continued feedback is indeed valuable and has effect. Using well-crafted IVR surveys will help capture a great deal of useful information that can help enhance the brand, improve customer service, and ultimately increase business.