Should I ask for a name in my customer survey?

Name in Customer Survey

“Should I ask for a name in my customer survey?” is something I get asked a lot from clients and contacts. There are pros and cons to both:

Some of the pros:

If there’s an issue you can contact the customer and resolve it.

Having a name in the customer survey means if a great testimonial has been given you can use it.  Many people prefer to see names with a testimonial rather than just the comment (provided you have permission to use it!)

You know who has responded!

Some of the cons:

If there’s a small niggling issue respondents are less likely to put this in if they are identifiable.  (It’s not worth making a thing of and I don’t need you to take action.  Everything else was great, I’ll just leave it out so it doesn’t lead to an awkward conversation later).

Lack of ‘real’ feedback – see above, you want customers to say in their feedback exactly what they would say to a friend.  You can’t measure the likelihood of word of mouth referrals if you don’t know exactly what they are thinking.

Reviewing feedback with a name can lead to the thinking that “it’s just them”.  It’s harder to look at feedback holistically and identify overall improvements when you’re focused on one customer.

So should I ask for a name in my customer survey?

The half-way house that resolves many of the points above is to include a name field but make it (and label it) optional.

People who are raving about you will mostly have no hesitation in adding their name.

People who have a small ‘niggle’ (but don’t want to make it an issue) can still communicate this without feeling uncomfortable.

Using it well:

I often recommend to my clients that as well as having the optional name in the customer survey, also include a filter in the survey to only ask those who have scored highly in the Net Promotor Score (NPS) for a testimonial. 

Remember, you can also use this page to gain their permissions for using the comments in your marketing eg: Anonymously, First Name only, Company Name only etc.

To improve processes and services offered, feedback is something that should be looked at as a whole and not on a one by one individual basis.  After all, if you are going to invest your time and/or money in making change, you need to know that what you are doing is the will of many customers and not just one. 

This is where the value of real and honest feedback is essential – something that’s much easier to obtain when respondents have the option to be anonymous.

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