Every company that wants to optimize the customer experience needs feedback to make this possible. But getting customers to consistently give you their thoughts on what you’re doing right and wrong can be an ongoing struggle.
Consumers have developed an aversion to long-form written surveys and a blindness to email messages asking for them to take action. One tool that works well for collecting customer feedback is conversational surveys, also known as chatbot surveys or chats.
What Are Conversational Surveys?
Conversational surveys take place through messaging apps (like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger) or a popup on a web browser. Unlike traditional surveys, these conversations are more informal, friendly and shorter in length.
Through a mix of images, texts, buttons, video and audio files, conversational surveys deliver a more casual and enjoyable way for consumers to share their feedback quickly. These surveys offer a more frictionless method of gathering feedback, allowing you to gather the insights you need to improve the customer experience.
How Do Conversational Surveys Work?
Similar to a traditional survey, your company will come up with a set of metrics that it wants to measure from customers, as well as relevant questions to ask. After you’ve determined your metrics and questions, add your questions to a chatbot tool.
Depending on the customer’s response to a particular question, the chatbot will use artificial intelligence (AI) to re-route questions in a logical direction. For example, if a customer mentions “long wait” in a response, the next questions can reference customer service matters instead of product issues.
Online surveys often show a progress status bar as the respondent works their way through the questions. But in a conversational survey, when a respondent engages with a chatbot, it will instead show the user a menu of general topics to be discussed.
Why Messaging Apps?
In the past, email was one of the top ways of reaching customers and distributing surveys. Unfortunately, this channel has become saturated. Now that 293 billion emails are sent each day, less than 25% of all emails coming from businesses are opened.
Fewer consumers check their email regularly outside of business hours, but more spend time on social media and messaging platforms. In fact, messaging platforms are now one of the primary means of communication between people and brands.
- 1.3 billion people use Facebook Messenger each month
- 20 billion messages are sent between businesses and people on Messenger monthly
- 150 million people in the U.S. report using messaging apps
- 51% of people report that messaging apps have replaced other forms of communication
The Benefits of Using Conversational Surveys
Conversational surveys offer a wide range of benefits for consumers:
- The surveys either use platforms that consumers are already on (WhatsApp, Messenger) or mimic their user interfaces so that respondents are more comfortable and likelier to engage.
- Even though human interaction is absent, the chat still feels like a conversation, and the customer feels as if their opinion matters.
- When AI is used, it can fit naturally into a conversation and make the survey flow in the right direction to provide the most useful feedback.
- These surveys are more engaging and fun for the consumer, and they can boost the value of your brand among participants.
Organizations that use conversational surveys benefit as well:
- Conversational surveys enjoy staggeringly higher completion rates than traditional surveys. Survey Sparrow recently reported that completion rates on chat-like surveys are 40% higher than other types.
- These types of surveys open new channels of marketing, giving your company additional avenues to introduce products and services to consumers.
- These platforms allow participants to give feedback on their terms, which may not be possible with an email or form survey.
- Improved feedback leads to higher quality data to improve the customer experience. You’ll not only have a higher volume of data but also more insights from a wider range of consumers instead of just the highly satisfied and highly dissatisfied customers.
Making the Most of Your Conversational Surveys
While chat surveys are an effective means of gauging customer satisfaction, they’ll only work for your company if they are done correctly. A generic bot that asks customers if they’re “happy” isn’t likely to get your desired results.
Beyond everything else, every conversational survey should be optimized for mobile. Most people today use messaging apps on mobile devices. A chat shouldn’t just be resized for mobile, but rather created for it.
Here are several other tips to make the most of your conversational surveys:
- Be Conversational. Chats are meant to look and feel informal, so it’s essential that you phrase your questions and statements carefully. If you adopt a conversational, as opposed to a survey mindset, your chat will be more effective.
- Consider Context. The experiences you are asking customers to provide feedback on will probably dictate your tone. This should also be an extension of your brand. For example, if you are sending a chat to customers that have just used an electric scooter sharing service, the tone will be more energetic and upbeat. A healthcare provider looking for feedback might use a more neutral tone.
- Get Straight to Business. Your chat might be fun, but customers don’t want to hang out with you all day, or even for 20 minutes. While it’s common practice to begin surveys with several demographic questions, doing this in a conversational survey is going to hurt your completion rate. Consider either dropping these questions completely or adding them at the end.
- Keep it Simple. Over half (54%) of respondents in one survey stated that surveys should be kept to less than 10 minutes. Keeping conversational surveys as short and simple as possible just makes sense. If you can get participants to agree to be contacted again (many do), you’ll have another chance to ask questions. For simplicities sake, avoid repetitive questions and make responses as easy as possible.
- Acknowledge and Respond. Keep the conversation flowing. Let the customer know you heard them by acknowledging each answer and responding appropriately. Also, be sure to thank them at the end for their valuable feedback.
Make Surveys Part of Your Online Reputation Management Program
There are several ways to obtain actionable feedback from customers. Among these are mentions on social media and online reviews. While these are essential components of your overall Reputation Score, your company can take a proactive approach to improving the customer experience with customized surveys.
By using a variety of different types of surveys that are structured and deployed properly, your company can collect the information it needs to improve the customer experience and make better business decisions. Download our top trends for online reputation and CX management report for more information.