10 Automated Lost Customer Survey Design Tips

August 20, 2012

Automated Lost Customer Survey Design TipsLast week, I shared 4 tips to consider when setting-up an automated lost customer survey in SalesForce. This week, I will share 10 automated lost customer survey design tips.

Below are 10 survey design tips for building an effective automated lost customer survey:

  • Ask all of your lost customers to complete an automated lost customer survey. The cost of collecting this data is minimal if you automate the survey in your CRM, and being able to track trends across customer segments is incredibly valuable information in identifying areas for improvement.
  • These surveys should be launched a couple days after cancellation. You do not want to bombard your lost customers immediately after they cancel your service, as they sometimes will ignore these emails and see them as attempts to salvage business. They also sometimes are frustrated with the cancellation process and this can bias the responses. By waiting a few days before sending it out, you will increase response rates and also get a more objective set of data.
  • The survey should be no more than 3 to 5 minutes in length unless you are targeting enterprise customers. In those cases, you can get away with a slightly longer survey without sacrificing a significant drop in completion rate. This is because enterprise customers are generally more tied to a product and have a closer relationship with the vendor. However, the goal here is to get responses from these customers as this will help you identify which ones are worth your effort in trying to win them back down the road.
  • Limit the target respondent group to the individuals that either executed the decision to cancel the service or would have knowledge of it. Sometimes it is hard to nail this down, so you can limit the respondent target to the owner of the license agreement or the direct contact or the informant of the decision to cancel service. Otherwise you can get a lot of misleading data that would actually be more detrimental to your purposes than helpful.
  • Make the survey engaging so that you minimize the respondent abandonment rate. It is important to make the questions follow a logical order. Surveys that bounce all over the place drive respondents bonkers. Also, try to minimize the number of free response questions, as these can appear as a lot of work to the respondent.
  • Set the survey up in such a way that it can be used as a tracker survey over time. A very valuable piece of data is the change in trends over time. To obtain insight into trends you will want to develop survey questions that allow you to add additional options over time. The best way to do that is by adding an “other; please specify” option that allows you to collect write-in information and standardize it over time into additional options.
  • You will want to cover the following issues in this survey at a minimum:
    • How the product or service was used (if there are multiple use cases)
    • Reason(s) for cancellation
    • How is their need being resolved and by which competitor(s)?
  • Be sure to tell your lost customers the exact time commitment required to participate in the survey invitation. You want to set expectations that will be fulfilled. This will also ensure that they walk away from the survey with a positive last impression.
  • Let the respondent know how important this data is to improving the quality of your company’s products and services for other customers. This lets the customer know that the data will actually be used and is highly valued by your company. This is an indirect way of telling your customer you are looking into the reasons that caused their departure and, if possible and worthwhile, your company will likely be resolving the issue. This should increase your chances of winning back this customer down the road.
  • Be sure to thank lost customers for participating in the survey. You never know when your lost customers will be asked about their experience with your company. It is always a good policy to leave a positive last impression with them.

Next week, I will share a sample lost customer survey invitation.

Marketing Manager, Pricing Strategy

<strong>Brandon Hickie</strong> is Marketing Manager, Pricing Strategy at <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/">LinkedIn</a>. He previously worked at OpenView as Marketing Insights Manager. Prior to OpenView Brandon was an Associate in the competition practice at Charles River Associates where he focused on merger strategy, merger regulatory review, and antitrust litigation.