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Tips to Boost Customer Survey Participation for Restaurants | Superorder

Written by
March 12, 2024

How to Encourage Customers to Participate in Your Restaurant’s Survey

Picture this:

You spend weeks developing what you think is the perfect customer satisfaction survey, but after sending it to your customer base, the responses barely trickle in. After a few weeks, your survey response rate hardly cracks two percent! Your survey complete rate? Even lower!

What gives?

Customer surveys are a great way to learn more about what people think of your restaurant. They play an integral role in restaurant growth and improvement, ultimately paving the way to changes that help you stay competitive in a growing market.

However, many businesses struggle with low response rates. Despite how important honest feedback is to your establishment, not every customer's eyes light up when they see a survey request. Most of your customers won't complete a survey. That's the reality.

But there are many paths to improvement, allowing you to unlock higher response rates.

Why Customer Opinions Matters

Seeing lower response rates and lackluster completion rates is enough to frustrate any restaurateur and cause them to give up on their efforts to collect customer feedback. But doing so would have you missing out on tons of valuable insight.

Ultimately, restaurants live and die by customer satisfaction. You won't have a restaurant unless you meet your customers' needs. The problem, however, is that customer preferences change. You might do well now, but that doesn't mean you'll have the same level of success six months into the future.

With new rivals sprouting up in an already fiercely competitive dining landscape, you need every edge you can get. But that's not all. Failing to evolve and improve can leave you in the dust with potential customers.

Recent studies show that most diners check online reviews before supporting a restaurant. Since they're already coming in with preconceived notions, you must do everything possible to turn negative reviews into positive ones.

Addressing customer feedback is your ticket to success in this industry. But you need to have customer input to work with before you can get to that point!

Failing to improve your survey response rates leaves you little to work with. While you might think some responses are better than none, that's not always true. If you only get one or two percent of potential respondents to complete a survey, you're obtaining a skewed look at what people think. The results can have unintentional biases or only represent the thoughts of a small customer segment.

Your goal should be to maximize participation and get good survey response rates, pushing that metric as high as possible. Survey response rates reflect the total number of surveys sent out to the total number of people who respond. Aiming for a higher rate means getting more well-rounded and accurate responses, ensuring you work with high-quality data to improve your restaurant.

Strategies You Need to Follow

Maximizing survey participation is an art form in itself. It requires a bit of psychology and great survey design. But improving survey response rates is easier than you think. Here are some tips and strategies you must follow now to see results.

1. Decide Which Feedback System You Will Use

The first thing you need to do is determine what type of feedback system you want to use. Right off the bat, this decision can greatly impact the number of potential respondents you get.

Feedback systems refer to how customers will access your surveys. While requesting that customers complete a survey is relatively straightforward, the method by which they complete the survey can make or break response rates.

You have many options here.

The first is to provide a dedicated QR code. You can display a QR code throughout your restaurants and marketing efforts. For example, many restaurants place placards with a QR code on tables, by the door and even next to the cash register. Some include it on receipts and takeout!

Another option is to provide instructions on a printed or digital receipt. You could include phone numbers, links, etc.

Email survey requests are also popular. If you use a mobile app for orders, you likely already have email information for active customers. You can send email surveys after an order, prompting customers to provide their thoughts.

The feedback system you choose matters because it impacts accessibility and influences customer preferences. Consider providing a few different feedback system options to get feedback. That way, you're not turning anyone off from responding to your survey because they prefer not to receive emails or talk on the phone.

2. Simple Questions Get More Answers

Don't get too complicated with your questions. Nothing will turn a potential respondent away faster than a question that's too long-winded or difficult to understand. Keep things simple and accessible to everyone.

The more complicated your questions are, the less likely you will get meaningful feedback. Simple is always best.

Try to keep questions short and to the point. Avoid superfluous language or asking for too much information about a single topic. If you're looking for targeted information, you can focus on one facet of the customer experience.

For example, you can ask people to rate the customer service your employees provided or ask a multiple-choice question about how they liked your menu options.

3. Don’t Ask Too Many Questions

In addition to keeping questions simple, keep the total survey experience short and sweet.

No one likes to complete a multi-page questionnaire! While it might seem like a simple survey, seeing pages of questions will make the process feel more of a hassle than it's worth. To improve response rates, you must create a survey that's not cumbersome.

Ideally, a great customer satisfaction survey will take five minutes or less to complete. Anything longer than that, and your customers won't see the point in wasting their time. Keep it short and to the point!

Here's another pro tip market researchers often employ: Be transparent about how long the survey will take. Set the expectations from the jump and let survey takers know the estimated time frame of this process. Nothing is worse than agreeing to take a survey only to realize it'll take more time than you have. Customers can feel duped if you assume that approach.

Be transparent and avoid unnecessarily lengthy surveys.

4. Ask Close-Ended Questions

There's a time and a place for open-ended questions. In the right setting, they could reveal things you never considered and provide amazing feedback brimming with potential for your restaurant.

However, when you aim to maximize customer survey participation, open-ended questions will do you no favors. These questions require survey respondents to extrapolate their thoughts. They encourage people to go into a deeper discussion that takes far longer than most people have or want to spend doing a survey.

Stick to close-ended questions that are hyper-focused.

An example of an open-ended question would be:

“What did you like about our restaurant?”

Think about all the potential things customers would say. They'd have to go into more detail and write out a lengthy passage. No one has time for that!

Instead, you could change that wording to something like:

“Did you like the service our employees provided?”

A simple response would be a “yes” or a “no.” If you want more information, you could include an optional question asking customers why they felt that way. But making it optional means that your respondents can choose to divulge more info or not.

5. Keep the Customer’s Attention

Customers have short attention spans. That's not a bad thing. Most people just want to get in, get their food and get out. So, when you want to improve survey buy-in, you must grab people's attention quickly!

The best way to do that is by creating a killer welcome message for your survey. Do something fun, and don't be afraid to think outside the box. An interesting welcome message will pique your customer's attention and encourage them to keep going.

Don't stop there. Do the same with your first question. Once you get people past that first question, there's a better chance they'll see the survey through.

There are many ways to make things more enjoyable and attention-grabbing. Personalization is a high-impact technique. Creating a personalized web experience will set your survey apart. Another option is to incorporate fun branding or catchy imagery.

6. Send Out Surveys Immediately

Finding the right time to send survey requests can make all the difference. So when should you send them? As soon as possible after completing a specific action!

For example, you should aim to send customer satisfaction surveys immediately after a customer completes a transaction. That way, the experience is fresh in their minds. Plus, the quick feedback can help you address concerns and make things right in real time if necessary.

For surveys revolving around the experience or food quality, aim to send your survey within 24 hours at the latest. Generally, the faster you request a customer to do a survey, the likelier they are to complete it. Consider automating the process so diners can complete a survey while waiting for your team to fulfill their order.

7. Respond to Positive & Negative Feedback

Customers are doing you a real solid by completing a survey. Thank them for their time!

Responding to feedback is a great way to build a rapport with customers and keep them engaged for future surveys. It can help you improve your reputation and make survey respondents feel they made a genuine difference for your business.

Something as simple as a “thank you” makes a difference. Responding to individual concerns can provide the personal touch customers love.

Respond to all feedback, even negative comments. Accepting negative feedback can be frustrating and disheartening, but that insight can help your business grow and succeed.

8. Implement Good Suggestions & Make Positive Changes

Not all comments and suggestions will be valuable or realistic. But those that are can foster real change that benefits your restaurant.

Review the results of your surveys and identify common threads. If many respondents comment on a particular issue, that tells you it needs addressing!

Focus on changes that have a great impact on your business. Implement changes where necessary and use all the feedback you collect. Applying what you learn through surveys is key to continued success and the push for growth.

9. Utilize All-In-One Restaurant Management Software

Our last tip is to take advantage of all-in-one software like Superorder to make the most of your feedback strategies. Managing feedback can be an overwhelming task. Hopefully, you get your response rates high enough to collect a considerable amount of feedback every day.

Unless you have the right technology, making sense of all that information can be daunting. All-in-one software can be your one-stop shop for all things review management. The right tools will allow you to collect and review information while designing high-quality surveys that count.

Use your software to design and send out surveys that people actually want to complete! A great survey and top-notch software will make managing feedback, responding to reviews and even implementing positive changes far more manageable for your restaurant.

Get Started With Superorder Today

Don't let a lack of survey responses hold your restaurant back. Customer feedback is crucial to the success and growth of any modern restaurant, and collecting feedback should be an integral part of your business strategy. With our tips, you can encourage participation and get reliable data to make game-changing decisions that boost your business.

Let Superorder be your growth partners in this industry! Superorder is an all-in-one software platform that puts great technology and tools in your hands. With Superorder, you can manage orders, disputes, finances and more from one place. Superorder's survey and feedback system is particularly beneficial.

With Superorder, you can create and send high-quality surveys. Consolidate customer opinions, analyze your findings and turn feedback into actionable insights. It's all possible with Superorder! Get started today to learn more and experience the power of customer feedback for yourself!

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