How to Time Retail Surveys for Optimal Results

Brands rely on retail surveys to discover and correct problems and to adapt to changing customer needs.

Surveys are powerful tools for gathering actionable customer feedback, as long as they are designed well and delivered at the right time. Poorly designed or ill-timed surveys are likelier to be abandoned or to collect information that is less useful.

Knowing when to deliver retail surveys is as important as knowing what to include on them. When brands get the content and the timing right, surveys can strengthen customers’ emotional investment in a brand. Generally speaking, the sooner you deliver a survey, the better the information your survey will collect.

Surveys Can Be Completed During the In-Store Experience

Woman looking at her phone while in a retail shop.
Surveys can be used to gather feedback before the customer even leaves your store.

You don’t necessarily have to wait for a customer transaction to be over to have the customer complete a survey. Easy, brief, mobile-friendly surveys (often delivered directly on a retail app) can gather customer insights while the customer experience is happening in real-time.

On surveys delivered during the purchase experience, you can ask customers questions like whether retail associates greeted them in a friendly manner, answered their questions or helped them find what they needed. Customers who complete these “undercover” surveys tend to feel valued and more loyal.

Retail report 2019

Immediately After a Purchase Is Another Good Time to Survey Customers

Surveying customers as soon as the transaction is completed is another way to gather information while the experience is fresh in the customer’s mind. Many ride-share apps use this technique, delivering instant, brief (three or fewer questions) surveys via a retail app. Retail NPS surveys are examples of super-quick, easy surveys that work well immediately after transactions. Immediate post-transaction surveys can also be delivered by SMS or email.

Surveying within 24 Hours of the Customer Transaction

Woman typing on her laptop.
The sooner you deliver customer surveys via email, the better.

If you wait longer than 24 hours after a customer transaction to deliver a survey, you can expect lower response rates. Furthermore, the longer after a transaction you wait, the less detail the customer is likely to remember. As more time passes, only certain aspects of the transaction (often the very best or very worst aspects) are likely to be remembered.

However, if you aren’t using real-time surveys during the customer experience or surveys delivered immediately after transaction completion, surveys delivered within 24 hours can still be delivered by SMS or email, which are primary channels customers expect to use for surveys.

The Bottom Line

People are willing to answer retail surveys as long as they’re convenient, brief and not overly intrusive, especially if the brand has a track record of genuinely listening to customer feedback. Time your surveys with precision, and you’re more likely to gather honest, actionable information. Download our ebook: How to Build Customer Surveys that Yield Actionable Feedback today to learn more.

Topic: Through Leadership
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