Increase email response rates using single-click email

In this article, my goal is to explain the implementation of a single-click feedback score directly within your customer’s email client. Ok, it doesn’t exactly work that way technically, but that’s how it will seem to your customer, and the increase in your customer response rate will be worth it.

Why use single click emails instead of a link to the web form?

If you’ve asked customers for feedback before, you know how difficult it can be to convince a customer to visit a website in order to complete a form. In my experience, click through rates that ask customers to complete a form is 10-15%. Using single-click feedback submissions within the email client can dramatically increase your response rate (I’ve seen response rates increase to 20-40%).

How does single-click feedback work?

We send an email to a customer with customized links for them (so they don’t have to do any data entry tasks). To start, we create a uniquely-coded formstack URL for each rating that includes all the information we want to capture. Then we just ask the customer to choose the appropriate link. The link directs to a form that immediately accepts the data and thanks the user for taking the time to participate.

Let’s say we were going to ask a customer to rate their level of satisfaction on a scale of 1-5. We’ll create five coded URLs for each possible rating. In addition to the rating, you’ll also want the URL to be coded with things like the customer name, a customer id, and their email address.

Once we have the coded URLs, you’ll use them in an email to send to your customer. Sort of like how the scores 1-5 are laid out below (the arrow for score #2 shows what the coded URL might look like):

1           2            3           4           5
Here's the example URL if the customer clicked #2:

http://www.formstack.com/forms/?form=XXXXX&viewkey=XXXXX&name=Ben&customerid=87838&rating=2&autosubmit=on

The steps to create an email-clickable form

  • Create the Formstack form to collect your data. If you don’t have an account, you can sign up for a trial of their professional plan.
  • Using the fields you created in Formstack, code the URLs that will automatically post the data for each customer. Besides your fields, you’ll need three other parts for your URL:
      • form={{FormstackFormID}}  <- Tells Formstack which form to display.
      • viewkey={{FormstackViewKey}}  <- Required by Formstack.
      • autosubmit=on  <- Tells Formstack to automatically submit/post the URL when it’s visited (this is the important part)
  • Create the email you wish to send using your favourite mailer (I recommend MailChimp, but other mailers that support variables are fine too).
  • Test the email send with actual variables, click-test each link to make sure they work.

Other notes & helpful tips

Take it further by redirecting to an optional second form and ask for more feedback.

After clicking the link, instead of a standard thank you page, consider redirecting to a second (optional form) that says thanks and lets the customer offer more feedback if they choose to. You can do this by telling your Formstack form to redirect to another form when the first is submitted. The second form could be a standard form that asks the user pretty much anything you like (although I mostly use it to give the customer an opportunity to write a comment).

Include details that might be helpful when reviewing submission data.

When analyzing your formstack data, think about the usefulness of the data if you only had an email address and a rating score. Not so actionable. So I like to include the customer’s first name, and sometimes the city, province/state they live in. In some cases, I include the recent helpdesk ticket number. I could easily look it up in a different system, but my life is much easier when the data’s together in one place.

Do not seed your URLs with sensitive data!

Too many companies send sensitive customer data via email. Please don’t do this. For starters, sensitive information (ie credit card details, passwords, etc) should never be emailed. I can’t think of a reason why somebody would seed a URL with a customer’s credit card number or password, but I know that if I didn’t warn about it, somebody out there will.

Do I have to use Formstack?

I’ve used a number of online data collection services and I haven’t found anything better than Formstack. It’s not perfect, but it’s really simplified some of the things I need to do. You can use a different forms service, as long as they support: seeding/coding URLs with pre-populated data, auto submission of the form, and automatic redirection to another form (if you want to collecting addition feedback such as comments).

What about customers who use plain text email clients?

This is a little trickier. When building your email, leave the rating score and the autosubmit=on variable out of the URL. This will still pre-populate the form with the customer’s email address and name, but they’ll be asked to click on the rating and then submit. Not perfect, but still saves the customer some effort by populating the form.

Can I use this method for collecting Net Promoter Survey Scores NPS?

Absolutely! In fact, since this method drastically improves your customer response rate and eliminates abandon rates for online forms, this is exactly how I tell people to collect their NPS feedback. You can use this method any time you need an answer to a singular question from your customers.

Did you find this article helpful?

I hope this article helped make your life easier in some way. If you’d like me to elaborate, you’ve found a mistake, or you’d just like to give some feedback, I’d love to hear from you!

By : Ben /January 01, 2013 /Blog /2 Comments