The PTM Client Relations Department conducts online client satisfaction surveys every year and continues to enjoy a 60 to 98% response rate. That’s right, up to 98% response rate on an online survey!
Over the years, we have done tons of research and have found that most advice for online surveys is intended for a B2C audience. It took a lot of fine-tuning, but we have come up with tried and true methods that are specifically tailored to monitor payroll and payroll tax filing services.
Incentives – Payroll professionals are always busy, so give them a reason to spend some of their precious time filling out your survey. We have tried both a drawing for a big prize and small incentives given just for filling out the survey. Hands down, the small incentive works the best. Perhaps it’s a desire for instant gratification or that deep down feeling that we’re unlucky and probably won’t win. In any event, giving a client a credit on an upcoming invoice just for filling out the survey will do wonders for your response rates.
Freshness – You need to monitor feedback on your payroll, tax filing and ancillary services at least annually, but don’t fall into the trap of asking the same questions each time. People will get sick of answering them. Review your survey each time and decide if you still need information on all of those topics. Re-work the survey as needed so it will not become stale and boring.
Length – Again, payroll professionals are busy, so keep it short. Only ask questions that are necessary to gauge performance and improve payroll, tax and ancillary services. Ask as few questions as you can get away with, make as many multiple choice responses as possible and leave comment boxes optional.
Read – This seems to go without saying, but it seems as though many surveys are used only to generate stats to post bragging rights about payroll and payroll tax filing services on the company’s Web site or to use the stats to evaluate employee performance. Take the time to read the responses; they give great information about clients who might be less than satisfied, who might be better fit for a different product you offer, etc.
Follow up – Again, this one seems to go without saying as well, but some people feel that surveys are just a waste of their time and will not fill it out regardless of whether or not you offer an incentive. You will have to earn their trust here. After you have read the survey responses, immediately follow up with any unsatisfied clients and thank them for their feedback (see our blog post on 5 Things Clients Love to Hear). Forward information to Sales when a client’s response leads you to believe he may be a better fit for another one of your other products or if the client may benefit from one or more of your ancillary services. Follow up regularly with unsatisfied clients until you feel as though the account has been turned around and the client is once again a fan. Follow up with clients if you implemented a suggestion they made (again, see our blog post on 5 Things Client Love to Hear). If your clients realize you are using their responses to actually improve your service, they will fill out your survey year after year.
Relationship-Oriented Service – You are likely to get better response rates from your clients if you interact with them more than just once a year. Don’t wait for them to call you, pick up the phone every once in a while and call them “just because”. (See blog post on 5 things clients love to hear).
Client Satisfaction Surveys can either be a nuisance to everyone involved or a great tool you can use to improve your services on a regular basis. It’s all in the way you manage the survey process!