B2B Customer Experience (CX) programmes are our bread and butter at Deep-Insight and we’re used to handling questions on how to make CX programmes more effective.
One of the questions we often get from first-time clients is: “What completion rates can I expect from my CX programme?” Another common question from longer-term clients is “How do I improve my completion rates?”
Let’s deal with each question in turn.
“What completion rates can I expect from my CX programme?”
Let me preface this by saying that we are talking about business-to-business (B2B) relationships so there is an inherent assumption in the question that our clients have some existing – and hopefully strong – relationships with their clients and that the contacts in the client organisation will be receptive to a request to give feedback as part of that ongoing relationship.
This is usually the case but clients – particularly senior clients – are busy people so it may not come as a surprise to hear that the average participation rate in a B2B customer assessment is around 35%.
But that 35% figure is an aggregate score and there’s a little more to it than that, if you have a look at the graph below.
It turns out that the most common completion rate is 26-30% but we have a smaller number of clients – typically clients who have been running our Customer Relationship Quality (CRQ) assessments for many years – who regularly achieve completion rates of 50% and higher.
If this is your first time running a customer assessment – either a simple Net Promoter Score survey of something a little more complex like our CRQ relationship assessments – you can expect completion rates of less than 1 in 3.
This may sound OK if you regularly run consumer surveys where a 5% completion rate can be a good result, but for an existing long-standing B2B client relationship, it looks paltry. And yet we have been running customer assessments of all sorts for nearly 20 years and these are the actual numbers.
So now let’s get to the second question: “How do I improve my completion rates?”
“How do I improve my completion rates?”
The starting point is to understand why some B2B companies sometimes get low completion rates and others consistently exceed 50%.
Our lowest-ever completion rate (4%) came from a first-time UK software company where the quality of contact data was simply terrible – people who had left their companies three years earlier, people who had never even heard of our client, and so on. That’s because the Account Managers did not personally sign off the client contact names. You get the picture.
Our highest-ever completion rate came from a company that has been a client of Deep-Insight’s for 10 years and whose customers view the annual CRQ assessment as an important part of their ongoing strategic relationship with our client.
But there are other reasons for low and high participation rates – here’s a quick summary of the profiles of our clients that fit into both categories:
Try these 6 steps in order to improve your completion rates for a CX programme:
- Make It Strategic. If the CX programme is CEO-led and driven from the top, it will not be seen as another box-ticking exercise. Make sure this is a key item on the Executive agenda.
- Put in Governance Structures. By this we mean things like: a) Account Directors should supervise and sign all contact names, not just pull them from the CRM system; b) the Sales Director should personally sign off all Strategic Client contact names.
- Don’t call it a Survey! At Deep-Insight, we ban the use of the term “survey” . For us, a CRQ assessment is a strategic ongoing conversation with the clients and their views will be taken seriously.
- “Warm Up” the Contacts. An invitation to complete a survey should not come out of the blue. Ideally, it should be introduced by letter or by email by the CEO or Country Manager, and while an assessment is “live”, the account manager will know to stay in touch with the client and urge them to complete the assessment.
- Close the Loop. This is critical. If you ask for feedback, you need to share that feedback with the client, agree the actions that BOTH PARTIES will take to improve the relationship.
- Repeat. Get into a rhythm where your clients and your sales/account teams know that every February or October (or whenever), the annual strategic assessment will take place. You may want to run frequent assessments. Some companies have quarterly Net Promoter or Pulse assessments – but don’t overdo the frequency. Your organisation needs time to put remedial actions into effect.