3 principles to improve survey experience

On my blog post Break the fourth wall to improve survey experience I touched on the importance of Personalisation when it comes to design and build customer feedback surveys. But there are other things you should pay attention to, if you are truly interested in gathering your customers’ opinion.

KISS – Keep it simple

It is extremely important to follow the KISS principle and keep surveys simple. Often, we receive long and wordy surveys, which immediately put us off. We don’t have time, nor patience, to reply to lengthy questionnaires – Forrester recommends relational surveys to have no more than 15 questions, and transactional ones to have up to 10 questions.

Not long ago I received a survey invitation from Ryanair, in which they said it would take “no more than 5 minutes” of my time. But as soon as I got into the survey, I was advised it was not going to take “more than 10 minutes”. If I was already put off by the initial expectation, I surely was angry with the fact that it as misleading.

(Note: that was not the only reason I ended up not responding to the survey. The truth is that I don’t trust Ryanair’s intentions when it comes to VoC and CX, and I don’t believe they listen or care about customer’s opinions).


KITTP – Keep it to the point

It is important to follow the KITTP principle (just made it up!) and keep surveys to the point. If it is transactional, ask for satisfaction, touch-point, effort or resolution. If it is relational, add questions around brand, product or competition. But make sure you avoid cluttering the survey with further questions, and don’t try to do market research in customer feedback surveys.

Surveys should be engaging and enticing. And that only happens if they’re objective and to the point. Ideally, surveys are effortless and fun to complete. You can use tactics like telling a story or using emojis. But don’t go off in tangents and stick to the questions that really matter and will surface valuable insight.

Same applies to the email invitations. It is not unusual to see survey invitations that not only lack the company’s branding, but also contain too much text. Bin, is their immediate destiny. Don’t try and shoot two birds with one stone putting marketing messages or up/cross-selling , in a customer feedback survey invitation.

KIC – Keep it consistent

Lastly, it is crucial to follow the KIC principle (there I go, making up even more acronyms!) and keep it consistent. Avoid at all cost having silos in your organisation (departments, teams, etc.) sending surveys using different platforms, branding or, even worse, different or wrong scales.

(Note: For heaven’s sake, if it is not in a 0 to 10 scale, it is not NPS!)

Make sure you have a joint approach to customer experience, and consistent customer feedback initiatives. Use a platform that allows you to enable and deploy different voice-of-the-customer initiatives, in various channels, but at the same time ensures consistency across those initiatives and data gathered.

Break the fourth wall to improve survey experience

Organisations launch surveys to measure customer experiences, but is the survey itself delivering a good experience? Those of us who usually take the time to provide an organisation with feedback on our experiences, know that the answer to that question is more often than not a resounding “No”.

The problem is that most organisations are just throwing surveys at customers without any consideration. Ultimately resulting in surveys that put people off, and customers disbelieving organisation’s intentions, thinking they just want to get more information to cross/up-sell.

If your organisation wants to be customer-centric and is truly interested in the customer opinion, then there are a few things to concentrate on when building Voice-of-Customer initiatives. One of them, which I believe is absolutely key, is Personalisation, and it can be addressed by breaking the fourth wall.

Design your surveys with an outside-in perspective, with a big focus on the customer. The one you are talking to, not a generic customer, persona or segment. Do what Frank Underwood used to do in House of Cards. Break the fourth wall and talk to the individual customer about what is relevant to her.

You have a full history of transactions and engagements in your operational systems (ERP, CRM, etc.) so why ask the customer what product she bought, before requesting feedback? Why ask the customer what channel she used, before checking if it was the most convenient. Ask the customer about THE product she bought or THE channel she used.

Make sure you use all information and data at your disposal – Operational Data (O-Data) and eXperience Data (X-Data) – to make surveys more personalised, simpler and effortless for the customer. This will ensure not only a great survey experience but also an increase in response rate.

The customer will not only feel valued, but also feel that the organisation is listening and willing to truly consider their opinion (closing the loop is another crucial topic that influences this, but we will address that in another blog post). 

Do you want an example?… See these two surveys below. Which survey sounds better? Which sounds more truthful? Which is more attractive? Which is going to generate more responses?… It is obvious, isn’t it?


Feedback: Create Surveys

Once you have defined the questions you want to ask, you can easily present them to your audience in surveys. RightNow Feedback contains flexible tools for creating custom surveys in a variety of formats. Surveys can be:

  • Sent as mailings
  • Served as web pages
  • Sent as events triggered by a campaign or business rule.

With a wide range of formatting and customization options and full analytics integration for tracking results, surveys provide you with a powerful channel for inviting, gathering, and analysing customer feedback.

You can create four types of surveys, distinguished by invitation method:

  • Broadcast surveys are used to send broadcast invitations to specified audiences at a time you choose.
  • Transactional surveys send invitations triggered by events that you define, such as an incident resolution or a campaign action.
  • Website link surveys rely on separate invitation delivery mechanisms, such as a link to the survey placed on a web page.
  • Polling surveys display as a single question on a customer portal page or any page that is external to the customer portal, such as a “Poll of the Day”. After customers submit their response, they see a poll results chart or a thank-you message.

Although available features vary by invitation method, every survey is presented through a web page and can be linked to from outside of RightNow CX. With the exception of polling surveys, surveys can be added to workspaces, letting your agents complete surveys by proxy (on behalf of contacts) during telephone interactions.

To create a survey

1. Click the Surveys button on the navigation pane and double-click Surveys Explorer.

2. Click the New button on the ribbon. A new survey opens on the content pane.


3. Choose the type of survey (in this case we will select Broadcast Survey).


4. To let customers answer the survey anonymously, select the Allow Anonymous check box.

5. To let customers submit the survey more than once, select the Allow Multiple Submissions check box.

6. Use the At a Glance section to perform common survey functions

7. Click the Questionnaire tab to add questions and HTML content to the survey.


8. Click the Audience tab to define an audience for the survey


9. Click the Invitation Message tab to create the message sent to the survey audience


10. Click the Proofing tab to send a proof of the email for internal review before sending it to the entire audience


11. Click the Delivery tab to select delivery options


12. Click the Results tab to view the report associated with the survey


13. To preview the survey, click the Preview Survey button on the ribbon. The survey preview opens in a web browser

RightNow Feedback: Feedback Questions

In order to create surveys in RightNow Feedback, you must first create the questions that your respondents will answer. You can choose different question types to gather responses of different qualities, and you can customize display characteristics of each question.

For example, you can provide space for your respondents to enter their answers in their own words, returning data that is often specific and insightful. Alternately, you can offer respondents a choice of prewritten answers to a question, which provides you with a consistent, easily interpreted data set. You can also score choice questions and use RightNow Analytics to evaluate responses as numerical values.

When you create a survey question, you define the question name, type, and text that respondents see on the survey. You can also assign a score to each question choice. When creating questions, you can choose from three question types.

  • Text questions – Text questions let respondents type their answer to the question. You can create text questions when you want your respondents to be able to answer in their own words without having to choose from predefined options (e.g. “Do you have any suggestions?”). When you create a text question, you define only the question and the available space the respondent has to answer.
  • Choice questions – Creating choice questions lets you define the available responses for the question, allowing respondents to choose their answer from a menu, radio button, check box, or list. Choice questions may be scored and evaluated in Analytics.
  • Matrix questions – In cases where a series of questions can be responded to with the same set of answer choices, matrix questions can help streamline a survey’s appearance by grouping the questions together in a table. Answer choices are displayed using either radio buttons (to permit only one answer to each question) or check boxes (to allow more than one answer). If you choose radio buttons, you can restrict selections to one choice per row, forcing respondents to rank their answers.

To create a question:

1. Click the Surveys navigation button and then double-click the Questions Explorer on the navigation list.

2. From the Questions Explorer, click the New button. A new question opens on the content pane.


3. Type the text of the question in the Question Text field. This will be the question you want the respondent to answer.

4. Select the Question Type on the drop-down menu.

4.1. If “Text“ question type is selected you can make the question required or not, and control the number of characters the customer can use to respond, the number of lines displayed in the answer field, the width of the answer field or if there will be a real time character count displayed.



4.2. If “Choice“ question type is selected you can define how the choices are going to be displayed (Radio, Check box, Menu, List), the Respondent Selections (Required, number of choices, etc.), and add the choices. It is also possible to give score to the each choice in order to use analytics afterwards.



4.3. If “Matrix“ question type is selected you can define how the choices are going to be displayed (Radio, Checkbox), the Respondent Row Selections (Required, number of choices, etc.), add the questions and choices. It is also possible to give score to the each choice in order to use analytics afterwards.