Surveys continue to be a good way of activating customers though admittedly, they do not always work well. A 60% return is not unrealistic but many return quotas are doomed to failure. What can we learn from the ones that manage to get customers to give feedback?

1.      A survey has to be part of a closed loop process and the customer must perceive this. “We want to improve our service” as the basis for a survey is not enough. It’s only marginally better than “we don’t know what else to do”. It must be clear what the customer will get out of it.

2.      Customer activation is the result of a building phase. It is a well rehearsed relationship on both sides in which the customer learns that they can actually initiate change because their answers get the attention of the business and are taken seriously.

3.      Improving feedback returns is its own area of specialty. Feedback returns must be analysed. Different ways of addressing customers must be weighed up. The situation in which the customer gives their answers must be consistent.

A high return is actually the result of a cultural change in which the customer plays a more important role and in which both sides enter into a win-win situation. This may take up to 5 years, but if it if you make the effort, a positive outcome will be reached. Customers who don’t answer are simply not being asked the right questions.