Bots for Business
Survey Bot Data Collection for Higher Quality and Increased Results
If you’re looking to improve survey response rates and collect higher quality customer data, survey bots are valuable tools. By engaging customers in conversations, an online survey robot can help you gather better information and make better business decisions. Consider these dos and don'ts before you build a survey bot.
May 12, 2021
Every successful business needs the trust and loyalty of a core group of customers. After all, without this approval, how can any organization be expected to get a new product or concept off the ground? But how do companies gain this trust in the first place? Just like any other relationship, the key to maintaining happy customers is to listen and make sure that they feel their voices are heard.
Although marketing analytics and data are increasingly popular, sometimes the best way to get specific and detailed information from your audience is through traditional surveys. Whether you’re a small business or a tech giant, surveys remain a powerful tool to learn what your customers want and to understand how they act.
Surveys are a great way to listen to your customers. But a great way isn’t necessarily a foolproof way. For you to extract meaningful insights from a survey, your customers have to complete that survey. And getting customers to do that can feel like pulling teeth.
Enter chatbots. Using bot data collection to survey customers can be an effective strategy for collecting more and higher quality responses, as compared to standard, form-based surveys. You get the information you need to make smart business decisions that further endear you to customers.
But first, you’ve got to create a survey bot that truly engages them.
Creating a customer survey that works
Imagine you just ordered a slice of key lime pie. You’re sure it’s going to be delicious. Except that it won’t, if the limes are rotten, the crust is dry, and the chef didn’t add enough sugar. Then it’s not even edible. After all, the success of anything—even something as universally appreciated as pie—depends on the quality of its execution.
The success of anything—even something as universally appreciated as pie—depends on the quality of its execution.
Ditto for customer surveys. Poorly worded questions, nebulous answer choices, or a thoughtlessly generic approach can make a survey close to worthless. Customer analytics brand GetFeedback points to seven types of survey questions that may turn customers off and result in useless information:
1. Leading questions that influence the survey-taker’s answer
2. Assumptive questions that may confuse the survey-taker
3. Pushy questions that force a binary choice
4. Random, seemingly unrelated questions
5. Confusing questions that can’t be answered accurately or that include loaded assumptions, such as, “What do you think about our excellent products?”
6. “Double-barreled questions” that ask too much to be reasonably answered
7. Ambiguous questions that are too broad for survey-takers to answer
So how can you avoid these issues and craft a customer survey that actually yields fruit? By seriously considering the kind of information you want and making it easy for customers to provide that information. Oh—and by keeping the survey short. That, too.
Take Hilton Hotels, where customer surveys are taken so seriously that they’re handled by a full-time director of Syndicated Customer Research. According to the individual who holds that post, use of short surveys and a straightforward 10-point rating scale can optimize response rates and can help ensure that data is usable.
Slack is another company that places heavy emphasis on user feedback. Starting with an original focus on customer service and experience, the platform has always aimed to base its product development entirely on customer feedback. Whether through a help ticket, a tweet, or a command created just for feedback (Slack’s got one!), the company goes out of its way to solicit input from users. In some form or fashion, these insights influence every new feature or product enhancement.
Is Slack responding to customer surveys? Not exactly. However, the organization’s approach demonstrates the value of going out of your way to find out what customers think. And of being a little bit unconventional.
Capturing feedback with data collection by bots
Speaking of unconventional surveying tactics, using bot data collection to gather feedback can be an effective way to obtain the information you need to build a better customer experience. Here are a few reasons to create a chatbot that can survey your customers.
Higher survey response rates
To enact changes based on customer feedback, you need a data set that’s large enough to be useful. And that means you need the highest possible response rate.
Response rates are tricky. According to online survey provider Qualtrics, everything from brand loyalty and recognition, incentives (like raffles), customer demographics, and distribution tactics impact engagement and response rates. That doesn’t mean your response rate needs to be in the high double digits—surveys of large groups can yield statistically significant data, even when response rates are low, according to a study conducted by Michigan State University (MSU) and YouGov. Instead, it means you need to shoot for the highest response rate possible given the attributes of the group you’re surveying.
Using data collection by bots for your surveys doesn’t always guarantee a higher response rate, but it can help you assemble a usable data set. In the MSU/YouGov survey, researchers found that surveying customers with Facebook Messenger bots improved response rates among recipients with high levels of brand recognition.
The lesson? Consider your audience. If they know your brand and they’re already comfortable using chatbots, higher response rates are likely.
Simple and engaging chatbots
As noted earlier, distribution tactics and incentives can impact customer engagement with your survey. Luckily, chatbots exist to engage! Chatbot dialogue that’s concise and well-written can go a long way toward helping you collect the data you need. And so can the speed with which your bot delivers the survey.
Compare a survey distributed via email to one conducted by a Facebook Messenger bot. For the emailed survey, a mobile user would have to find the email in their inbox, click a link, wait for a new page to load, complete the survey, and submit it.
The Facebook Messenger bot makes answering a survey easier. This online survey robot can tap into Messenger’s Quick Reply feature, prompting users to complete a survey. They tap once, and they’re in. Simple chatbot dialogue, along with easy, single-tap numerical or yes/no responses, makes survey completion a cinch. It all unfolds in an instant. The speed and minimal commitment quickly reveal how useful data collection by bots can be.
Higher survey quality
Another thing you can get from an online survey robot is a conversation. A conversational experience can boost the overall quality of your surveys.
As Liana Epstein explains on the SurveyMonkey blog, the order and flow of survey questions should always feel like a conversation. When they do, your customers are more likely to complete the survey. She uses the following example, which involves fictitious characters, with Lucy (questioner) and Charlie (respondent), who are on a blind date:
Lucy: Do you have a good boss at work?
Charlie, unsure how to answer: In what sense? In terms of his work performance? In terms of his personality? Overall?
Lucy: I mean, how well does he manage you and your team?
In real life, this exchange could get a bit awkward. It would be comparably uncomfortable in a traditional, form-based survey. You’d suffer from at least two of the survey no-nos covered earlier—two-in-one and confusing questions.
A survey bot, on the other hand, can do this well. The dialogue might unfold like this:
Bot: On a scale of 1–10, how highly would you rate your boss’s performance at work?
User: [Indicates 7]
Bot: Thanks! Now, please tell me how well your boss manages your team. You can use the same 1–10 scale.
User: [Indicates 8]
And so on. By putting your bot in control of the conversation and employing familiar idiomatic nuances, you’re in a unique position to build a high-quality survey that results in high-quality customer data.
Helping your business with a survey bot
So we’ve established that a survey chatbot can improve response rates, boost survey quality, and keep your customers engaged. But how can it help you meet business objectives?
For one thing, an effective survey bot can help you make more informed, impactful decisions than you otherwise would have. Considering the Geekbot analysis on the power of survey bots to improve your internal communications, the results speak for themselves. Using survey bots to increase employees’ engagement with surveys and build trust reveals a 50 percent increase in productivity, as well as 106 percent more energy at work. And these same tactics can be applied to customers who will develop greater trust and allegiance with your brand.
An online survey robot’s performance has something to do with the feel of quality chatbot-human interaction. Whenever you’re communicating in a chat window (as opposed to, say, filling out a form), there’s a narrative backdrop to the experience. When it’s designed well, it can be as if you’re engaged in a conversation with an actual human. At its best, a chatbot survey can give users room to tell their story, even if it’s a story tapped out in 1–10 ratings and yes/no responses.
So how can a chatbot encourage customers to report on these broader issues? That depends on your audience and the nature of your survey. But, as the statistics demonstrate, the greater engagement that users experience with a bot-driven survey is real.
Use it to your advantage, and you can unlock more and more nuanced customer data.
Exploring survey bot platforms
Ready to use a bot to conduct your next customer survey? Or wondering what the survey bot landscape looks like, so you can begin to build your own bot? The following survey-focused chatbot platforms are excellent places to start.
This aptly named platform emphasizes ease of use. First, you use the Surveybot builder tool to create a survey. Then you deploy the bot over Facebook Messenger. Surveybot offers 18 different question types that you can choose from. Surveybot comes with a smorgasbord of analytics, so you can analyze your survey responses in depth—straight from the platform interface.
Cons? Early on, some users lamented that Surveybot couldn’t survey respondents in all languages, but Surveybot says that they’ve cleared that up, at least for the most widely spoken languages. Other than that, the only downside is that Surveybot is exclusive to Facebook Messenger and Facebook Workplace. If you’re not deploying your online survey robot over those platforms, you’ll need to look elsewhere.
Calling itself a conversational survey, Wizu cuts right to the chase—higher completion rates and better quality responses. Sounds like the sort of things you’d be looking for in a chatbot survey. But how well does Wizu work in the wild?
Pretty well, if its feature set is any indicator. It also works on various chat platforms, so you’re not bound to Facebook Messenger. The only notable customer grumbles have to do with ease of use—Wizu has a lot of features, and it can take a while to figure out how to use them all.
Come to think of it, that might not actually be a problem.
Personalization is the AceBot.ai mantra. This platform emphasizes the ability to personalize the user experience using survey logic, thereby improving response rates. Other platforms also do this, but AceBot stresses it more than most. It’s also got robust analytics and team collaboration tools.
Subscriptions are billed monthly, which may or may not be ideal. Some platforms, by contrast, bill by the number of survey responses. If you send just a few surveys now and again, you may not want a monthly bill.
A longtime player in the online survey space, SurveyMonkey lets you distribute surveys via a Facebook Messenger chatbot. If you’re thinking about administering surveys via chatbot and other means, SurveyMonkey might be the way to go. You’ll be able to compare response rates across various survey formats and communication channels—all from a single platform.
But, if you’re just looking for a dedicated chatbot survey tool, you might want to look elsewhere, especially if you want customers to chat with your survey bot on your site instead of on Facebook Messenger.
Using bots to listen to your customers
Ultimately, the more you listen to customers, the more you learn from them. Plus, the easier and more enjoyable you make the survey experience, the more data you’ll have to learn from. Thankfully, the best—and easiest—way to achieve both of these goals is through implementing bot data collection.
Nobody wants to make the mistake of not adequately understanding their audience. By engaging your customers in nuanced conversations with your survey bot, you’ll avoid the peril of making major decisions based on gut instinct. Instead, you’ll make those decisions based on what you know will work for customers.
And rest assured that your customers—current and future—are sure to notice.