When determining the best way to send out requests it is important to focus on the internal structure of your company.
Under centralised management, a single person would take responsibility for sending out, analysing and responding to surveys. Typically, this is an office manager, marketing manager, or the owner of a small firm.
When this approach works best
A centralised approach works best in a larger firm with a diverse partnership. Getting the partnership of a firm to agree on and action a consistent approach can be like herding cats.
A good rule of thumb is to take a centralised approach if you have 4+ partners. As firms get bigger than that, people tend to have different agendas and priorities, and despite the best intentions, it will be too hard to hold people accountable for pulling their weight in survey requests.
- Visibility over when all work is finished, so you can send out survey requests at an appropriate time
- A single-point of responsibility and accountability means you won’t have key account holders forgetting to ask their clients for feedback
More consistent data
- your team cannot cherry-pick who gets surveyed or provide incentives that bias the results; and
- clients are asked to complete in the same way every time, controlling for time, language, who is asking, etc.
Potentially lower response rates
- If the request comes from a generic email address from a 3rd mass mail provider, it is more likely to end up in your client’s “Promotions” or “Updates” folder; and
- Clients may not feel the same social bond to the firm as to the individual practitioner, and therefore may be less likely to take the time to complete.
In this scenario, individual account managers are responsible for sending out survey requests to their clients. However, there would be a centralised repository of reviews to ensure accountability and high-level analysis.
When this approach works best
We generally do not recommend this approach however, it can work well if you’re a firm with a small partnership (say, <3) with high cohesion and transparency, and a unified commitment to providing excellent service.
In this case, it helps firms with fewer clients get a better sample-size and bigger online footprint.
- Active buy-in from all relationship managers;
- Training and reminders to relationship managers to survey all clients as matters close; and
- Standardised format and copy of requests to minimise bias in the data.
- Higher response rate due to social ties between account managers and their clients
- Can result in having to ‘chase’ and micromanage people to get survey requests sent out;
- More biased data; and
- Lower transparency over whether and how surveys are being sent.
The Best of Both Worlds
It is possible to get the best of both worlds if y able to centrally manage your team’s email addresses.
For example, Mailchimp enables you to send out from multiple senders on the same domain if you have verified it. If you take this approach, ensure that your team is happy with the survey invitation and are aware that surveys will be going out in their name.