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the perfect survey invite email

Writing the Perfect Customer Feedback Survey Invitation

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Getting high response rates for your customer feedback survey starts with creating an effective customer feedback survey invitation. You need an initiation body that makes people want to start the survey.

The invite doesn’t have to be long and complex. In fact it should be short and to the point but to be most effective it must include key information.

Remember the only goal of the invite:

Persuade the respondent to provide their feedback on your organisation.

That’s it. Nothing more.

With that in mind, here are the 10 elements your customer feedback survey invitation needs to cover:

1. Simple Salutation Personalisation

A simple name personalisation starts the message off on the right foot. You should make sure that it’s in line with your business’ general brand identity.

“Dear Mr. Smith,”

“Hi John,”

“Hey John,”

2. Why They are Receiving the Invite?

Give the respondent some context for the invite; tell them who is being asked to respond or why they have been selected.

This answers a common concern of email recipients: why am I getting this request?

Try:

“You are receiving this invite because you recently shopped at our site.”

or

“We are inviting you because you are a valuable client.”

3. Don’t Tell Them How Great You Are

Some companies add a line near the start of an invite that goes something like this:

We are the market leader and provide a great service. So we can do even better…

Resist the urge to do the same. It doesn’t increase the chance the invitee will respond and biases the start of the responses you will receive.

Try to keep your introduction as neutral as possible.

4. Explain the Purpose of the Survey

Let them know how the information will be used.

Remember that they care much less about how you will benefit from the time they are investing in the survey and much more about how they will benefit.

So, ensure that you put the purpose and value of the survey in the respondent’s terms.

For instance:

So we can provide you an even better experience we are collecting feedback on how we performed in our last engagement.

We actively use feedback to constantly improve our delivery and provide you with the best possible service.

5. Give a Realistic Estimate of the Time it Will Take

Shorter is always better in customer feedback survey terms but regardless of how long the survey is you should give a specific and accurate estimate of the time it will likely take.

Also, be specific: say “10 minutes” not “a short time”.

Respondents still getting new questions after 20 minutes, when told it will take 10 minutes, will be unhappy with your brand. This is exactly the reverse of the outcome you want.

So resist the urge to deliberately under-estimate this time.

So try:

“Based on past experience this survey will take 5 minutes.”

“Typically it takes 3 minute to complete.”

6. Give Them a Place to Ask Questions

Put some simple contact details in the message.

A very small number of people will use them ask questions. Many more will be reassured that they could have contacted you if they wanted to. This lends credibility to the invite.

This can be as simple as:

If you have any questions please contact John Smith on (555) 5555 5555 or john.smith@ourcompany.com

7. Show Them the Survey Link

Make sure you include a clear link to the survey and call to action.

Some organisations use an image for the survey link but a large number of email clients hide images by default. If the image is blocked it will be hard for respondents to see.

Even if I wanted to respond, I have no idea how to start this survey!

If you are going to use this approach make sure you provide a simple text link as well as the image.

Also, make sure that the link has a good amount of clear space around it so it doesn’t get lost in the message: maybe even underline and bold the link to make it stand out.

Try:

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Click here to start the survey.

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8. Thank Them

The respondent is doing you a favour to help you improve your business so you should thank them for that effort. It can be a simple but sincere thank you.

Thank you for providing your feedback. We appreciate the time you have taken and will actively use it to improve our services to you.

9. Include a Signature Block

If you have followed our best practices on survey email subject lines this invite will be coming from a real person so include a real person’s signature block.

If it is going to a large number of respondents you may like to remove some elements such as the cell/mobile phone number. Other than that it should be similar or the same as your standard email signature.

This will also ensure that it is “on brand” with your organisation.

10. Comply with Local Email Sending Legislation

Different countries have different email sending legislation and you should be aware of any local considerations with which you need to comply.

In general* as this is a customer feedback survey you will have an existing commercial relationship with the respondent. That reduces many of the anti-SPAM legislation that marketing emails come up against.

However, it is still good practice to comply with any marketing email requirements your country enforces as email recipients have come to expect these elements in commercial email.

Postal Address

You should include clear text explaining where you are located and a valid postal address.

Unsubscribe Requests

It is also good practice to include an unsubscribe mechanism to allow respondents to remove themselves from the invite list.

So that’s all you need. Your customer feedback survey invite is not rocket science but you do need to include everything but no more in your invitation email.

I’ve put together a template of the perfect survey invite which you can just  copy, paste and edit: Download it here

* Disclaimer: This information is not legal advice. We’re not lawyers and while we have been in the customer feedback business for a while you should contact your legal group to get their final take on the legislation.

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