Nice job, Nelnet

I doubt many other people are thrilled to see a customer survey show up in their e-mail inbox, but I sure am. Today, I took a survey sent by Nelnet, the company that manages my consolidated student loans. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised.

What they did right:

  • Brief intro – This sets the tone for the survey, so put some thought into the wording.
  • Status bar – Don’t leave anyone guessing about how long your survey is.
  • Short and sweet – Ask only the questions you need to,  resisting the temptation to ask “curiosity” questions.
  • Free response – Always include at least one free response question, where survey participants aren’t limited to the answers you provide.
  • Thank you – Include a thank-you page at the end, so participants know that you received their responses; a “contact us” link is show of good faith – you’re not just pumping them for stats, you actually want to hear from them.

What they could’ve done better:

  • Concise wording – “Which of the following topics would you be interested in receiving text messages about regarding your Nelnet account?”= not concise. Don’t make anyone read the question twice to figure out what you’re asking.
  • Narrow rating scale – “Ease of logging in to the website” on a 10-point scale, really? If you can’t explain the difference between a 7 and an 8,  go with a 5- or 7-point scale. You might even try an even number – a heap of “neutral” responses isn’t very enlightening.
  • ‘Meat’ in the question – When it comes to surveys, you should aim to get as much ‘meat’ into the questions as possible. That means the answer options are short, clean, and easy to process for the respondent. You’d be surprised how much longer it takes to complete a survey when the ‘meat’ is in the answers.

All in all, you did a nice job, Nelnet. Survey satisfaction: 7 out of 10.

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