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It’s not enough that you send out customer surveys. For them to have real value for your business, you have to make sure that they are being answered, analyzed, and accounted for.

How do you guarantee that this happens? Through the often neglected power of follow-up survey.

Too many companies stop at one email and ignore their leads after not receiving a response the first time. Don't be one of them.

Why Are Surveys Important?

One of the most effective ways to manage your online reputation is by understanding what customers feel right after they interact with your product.

There are many ways to gauge customer experience. You can do this by asking your customers directly through text, emailing them a survey, or implementing an exit survey on your website.

But the real long-term benefits go beyond reputation. Integrating customer surveys into your operations can help to collect customer feedback and improve different aspects of your business. In a world where 88% of customers put equal weight on online recommendations and word of mouth, it’s worth investing in good customer service and making sure that your online reputation is stellar.

These include:

  • Understanding pain points in your product or service: It’s not enough that you know your product by heart. Customers have a different take on your product or service, and knowing what they think can help you improve what you offer.
  • Establishing positive relationships with clients: Asking their opinion lets customers know that their experiences have value. Having the ability to communicate with your brand openly can generate positive associations with the company, which helps establish brand loyalty.
  • Generating more sales: 8 out of 10 purchases happen because of face-to-face recommendation. To make this happen, you have to make sure that customer feedback is generally positive, both offline and online.

Free Product Satisfaction Survey Template

Reasons Why Surveys Go Unnoticed

Customers just overlook emails

About 205 billion emails are sent every day and about half of the world’s population uses an email service daily. On top of work and personal emails, dozens of other companies are sending daily newsletters, and this can clog up a user’s inbox pretty quickly. This makes it easy for customers to neglect email surveys simply because they forget about them.

Poor subject line

It’s the small things that count, and that’s also true for subject lines. Shorter subject lines containing 30 or fewer characters have better open rates while personalized subject lines get 20% more opens. That's why is so important to learn how to create catchy email subject lines.

Your survey respondents don’t care enough

On average, the response rate for email surveys is about 24.8%. In situations where survey respondents don’t feel motivated enough or feel like the content isn’t personalized enough, the response rate can fall below 2%.

How to Send an Effective Follow-up Survey

Unanswered customer surveys don’t have to be a dead-end. It’s perfectly reasonable for brands to send a follow-up email after no response has been recorded from the respondents.

Keep your email short and sweet. Instead of resending the same email and only changing the subject line to something like “ Follow-up Re: Survey,” whip up something more creative and engaging. Here’s how:

1. Create an attractive subject line

This is the first thing your clients will see, the one thing that separates your email from a dozen others. To increase your chances of getting noticed, create a subject line that promotes urgency, curiosity, and relevance.

One of the best examples of is Zillow’s subject line: “ What Can You Afford?”.

The real estate agency immediately tells its audience that this content is for them.

It’s personal, relatable, and most importantly, helpful. This is the exact line home seekers are looking for.

2. Make their time count

Who wants to spend 5 to 10 minutes answering a survey? After all, what’s in it for them? One of the most foolproof ways to increase response rates is by introducing an incentive to the survey. Maybe you’ll give them a month for free.

Maybe you’ll give them an e-coupon or an exclusive discount. Whatever it is, it has to provide the customer value in exchange for their time and input.

3. Let them know they matter

Be honest. Your clients are likelier to respond to surveys if they feel motivated to respond. And what better way to motivate your clients other than letting them know their thoughts matter?

Level with them and make them understand that their thoughts can have a significant impact on their user experience.

4. Give them a shorter option

Maybe the problem isn’t the content but the format of your survey. Some people don’t have time to spare 15 minutes, even when there’s a freebie waiting at the end of it.

Instead of resending the exact same email, design one that is easier to answer.

Common survey mistakes:

  • Having too many questions in one survey. Use only relevant questions. Divide long surveys into shorter series to make them more effective.
  • Equating single choice and multiple-choice questions. Make sure that your question format matches your respondents and your content.
  • Forgoing the introduction. Let your survey respondents know what this is about. Use introductory lines like “The survey will be used to improve…”
  • Including too many choices. If you’re doing a multiple-choice type of survey, make sure that you can still quantify the answers accordingly. Keep in mind that post-survey analysis won’t be as effective if your answers are muddled together.
  • Sending the same survey to everyone. Different clients will be at different stages of your customer lifecycle. Segment surveys according to their phrases to make them more personalized and therefore effective.

5. Use a single question non-responder survey

Last but not least, if you are still wondering what to do with your follow up email after no response has been made, get to the root of the problem: ask clients why they’re ignoring your surveys.

Don’t make it long, needy, and awkward; keep it short and sweet. You can send a multiple choice question such as: “I feel that the survey is... ”

  • Pointless
  • Ineffective
  • Too long

With different answers, you get to understand what exactly needs to be improved in your surveys and use those to empower future campaigns. Instead of sending them another email, apply a more intimate approach.

If you have their contact details, try sending them a text message instead. Clients tend to prefer getting contacted at most twice a month by brands, and engaging with them directly gives you instant leverage over other brands.

You Got Responses from Surveys, Now What?

You sent a follow-up email after no response was recorded in your first email.

Congratulations, it worked! What now?

Provide updates. Let them know that their concerns have been accounted for. Send an email informing them how their response helped you improve your product or service. Having this will justify their time and will improve their willingness to participate in future surveys.

Award freebies. You promised them a discount, an exclusive offer, or a freebie. At the end of the survey period, make sure that you deliver what you promise. There is no better way to build brand loyalty than by staying true to your word.

Make the changes. This is the final and most important step that many businesses ignore: make the changes that the majority of your customers are asking for.

If too many are complaining about a certain feature in your product or service, then make the appropriate change and do it within a reasonable timeframe.

The longer you wait, the more your customers will think that your brand is all talk, no walk.

Want to learn more about what it takes to win at the survey game? Take a look at our guides:

to learn all about the Smartlook integration