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Making Customer Feedback Incentives That Work

Posted on July 18, 2014 , by Sabrina Bozek
CATEGORIES: Loyalty Research

“How can I motivate employees the right way?”

We get a lot of questions about whether individual incentives should be given for relationship survey scores and our general answer for B2B is no because (a) it takes a whole company to deliver a customer experience, and therefore a relationship survey score is reflective of the business as a whole far more than any one individual; and (b) you don’t want people gaming the system in order to drive up scores artificially.  Garbage in, garbage out.
I recently came across this entertaining video that (literally) illustrates research about incentives and whether they work to enhance an employee’s performance or not. Relating it to CS, incentives become a problem when they’re based around the quality of the feedback, not the process for collecting feedback. Incentives can work, but only if done the right way.

Based on the research discussed in this video, here are some ideas when incentives would work well for Customer Success programs (keep in mind that there’s no silver-bullet, one-size-fits-all ultimate KPI– the most successful programs leverage a few selected metrics to ensure a well-run program):

    • Hold a Contest to see who can recruit the most people to be invited to the feedback request? You need to cover a few user types within your accounts to make sure you’re getting accurate and trustworthy data. It’s not enough to get insights from one set of customers within an account, so encourage your staff to meet a goal of (and these are exemplary numbers here – you’ll need guidelines that align with your go-to-market and sales strategy) 3 Decision Makers, 2 Influencers, and 5 End Users for each account– whatever numbers make sense for your account sizes and are feasible to meet but also challenging.

    • Who are able to get high response rates? In B2B, it’s so important for all voices to be heard, so the higher amount of people responding to a feedback request, the better. Encourage some healthy competition between Sales or Account Management teams to see who can get the most customers to respond. To avoid gaming, don’t make it about what those customers are saying, but the fact that more customers are bothering to talk to you at all, which is a good indicator of relationship health itself.

    • Who has the best follow-up rates? Assuming your survey program is generating “alerts” (cases) based on survey responses, who is doing the best job at following in the most timely fashion and documenting the root causes?

How are these examples different than those mentioned in the video, you ask? Because …

  1. Internal incentives around aiding the collection process but not enhancing the score ensures:
    • Data is trustworthy and reliable for strategic business decisions
    • Account teams build relationships with people they work with every day—customers!
  2. The incentive is not a monetary reward for customers; the real incentive for them here is intangible. By submitting feedback, customers are helping develop the product, fix bugs, and solve pain-points for them and their peers.

One Last Thought

Keep team motivations high by posting a leader board in the break room, hallway or other highly visible area before and during the survey wave. Let everyone see the progress for both and stimulate some healthy competition!