According to FBI reports, 75% of organizations worldwide experienced some kind of phishing email attack in the past year. Businesses are now on high alert, training their employees on how to detect and avoid malicious email content. This concern and caution are influencing consumer behavior as well. Individuals are weary of inbound communication, even from sources they trust, because one click on the wrong link could lead to dire consequences.
But much like an email spam filter, sometimes perfectly safe emails are perceived as dangerous and immediately flagged or deleted. This presents a significant challenge for brands that use email for sales and marketing purposes. With recipients being taught to err on the side of caution, it’s more important than ever for branded communications to be strategic and tactful.
In our world of customer insights, online surveys have been the go-to method for brands seeking feedback from their target audiences. The most common approach is to send an email that includes a survey link. However, with lowered consumer trust and heightened security concerns, brands must reimagine and restructure their approach to gathering customer feedback online.
Here are a few ways to address your customer’s trust and security concerns when conducting an online survey.
Communicate your intent to ask for feedback before asking for feedback.
If customers haven’t heard from you in a while, or if it’s the first time you’ve asked for their feedback, there will be suspicion and hesitancy around your invitation email. But if there has been ongoing communication and customers are aware of your intent to gather feedback, there’s a better chance for a link click and survey participation.
Many phishing emails try to prompt action by catching people off guard. By alerting recipients that an invoice is overdue or that they won some fantastic prize, the hope is they will click a malicious link or provide personal information. There are also spoof emails that impersonate a person or brand that may be familiar to the recipient. Sometimes a bank or even a friend whose email account was hacked, by posing as a trusted source the recipient may be more likely to engage with malicious content.
Now, there is a sense of hesitancy and suspicion whenever something is received out of the blue like that. If a person isn’t expecting action-oriented communication, from a trusted source or otherwise, they think twice about taking the prompted action.
An effective way to overcome these concerns is to announce your intent to ask for feedback before asking for feedback. Use multiple communication channels to inform your audience that they may be receiving a survey invitation via email. Post on social media or send a text message ahead of the survey invitation. That way, customers will not be surprised when they are asked to click an online survey link.
Pay attention to your email’s wording and design.
When emails don’t look or feel right, people become suspicious. From misspelled words and poor grammar to blurry images and misaligned layout, what may be simple mistakes can raise red flags for the recipient. There is also risk when no visual design elements are included at all. Basic things like adding your logo or a recognizable header image can go a long way in affirming the email is in fact coming from you.
So, treat your survey invitation email like any other marketing piece. Ensure spelling and grammar are correct. Include imagery and colors that align with your brand’s identity. Put in the extra effort to ensure a positive first impression. When recipients open your email, having a professional look and feel will help put their minds at ease.
Follow up with customers after your feedback project is completed.
When customers take time and put in energy to provide their feedback, it means they care and feel connected with your brand. Go beyond the standard auto-response thanking them for participating in the survey and share some high-level findings. Help them feel included by highlighting a few ways their feedback will be used in support of brand development initiatives. Not only will this convey how important their feedback is, but it will also help alleviate any concerns that their feedback went to a malicious third party.
Furthermore, this will have a positive impact on customers who did not participate in the survey. By following up and showing them how feedback is being used, they will be more likely to participate in future survey opportunities. This is a common missed opportunity for relationship building and continued engagement. Many brands simply close a survey and move on. By taking the extra step of follow up communication, customers feel included and realize their voices truly are making a difference.
Now more than ever, it is important to be strategic and tactful with any customer-facing initiatives. Earning and keeping trust is a vital factor in relationship building, so doing everything possible to ensure customers feel safe and comfortable should be a high priority.
This is why brands come to us for Customer Insights Strategy development. Not only do we maximize impact and efficiency, but we also focus on building relationships and strengthening trust. If you’re interested in learning more about our process or how to get started, don’t hesitate to reach out!