The One Question Survey

A company called Mailtrust (formerly hosts a majority of my email. I’ve been using them for several months and have been quite happy. I found a recent survey they sent me fairly interesting and wanted to write about it for today.

On Monday, the company sent me an email with the subject “Mailtrust: 1-Question Survey”. The text of the email was pretty simple and straight forward:

Hi -name-,

We are currently asking our customers to take a one-question survey so that we can rate their level of satisfaction with our company. If you have a few seconds, we would appreciate it if you would answer our one-question survey found by clicking the link below:

Thank you for your continued support

Pat Matthews
CEO, Mailtrust, LLC.

This is really dead simple, but also very effective. It is classic Net Promoter, which is extremely popular among a lot of companies (for good reason).  I like how they included a box for any additional comments instead of choosing to do a longer survey. The actual survey, the one you saw once you clicked on the link, looked like the image below.


Like all surveys run by almost all companies, though, this survey has room for improvement:

1. Utilize the technology further. Mailtrust knows if I have HTML email or not and could easily do a form where I can do the rating right from the email. Making it more convenient will make customers happier and produce a higher response rate.

2. On the survey, show my email address. Customers may not feel like their comments are going into a blackhole (a common concern) if an email address was clearly shown under the comments box. I know the company has my email address because it is in the URL of the link I clicked on, but a lot of customers (especially non-technical ones) won’t notice this or put the two together.

3. Offer some sort of award (or possibility of an award) for participating.
Inc. Magazine sends me regular surveys and when it sends surveys, it says I have a chance at winning an American Express Gift Card or a signed book or something whenever I participate. I actually won a book once, so I believe in the possibility of it actually happening. If Mailtrust gave away something, it would increase the response rate and encourage even more people to participate in the survey.

4. Include a support / help link.
In the email and/or on the actual survey, there should be a link to contact the company directly or at least an email address to contact support. The logo links to their homepage, which subsequently has a link to support, but that isn’t direct enough.

Overall, this was a well done survey. It wins a lot of points for simplicity. The next step (one that perhaps Mailtrust can clue us in on) is how they will use the data and what they can do to increase their response rates (and of course, the ratings) next time around.

7 Responses to “The One Question Survey”

  1. Service Untitled » A Different Type of Survey - customer service and customer service experience blog said:

    Feb 21, 08 at 11:03 pm

    […] This week seems to be the week of surveys for me. Yesterday I wrote about Mailtrust’s One Question Survey and today I received another survey from a software company called TimeBridge. TimeBridge makes scheduling software and they have been pretty persistent at trying to get beta feedback from me. […]

  2. Glenn Ross said:

    Feb 27, 08 at 5:53 pm

    This is Fred Reichheld’s Net Promoter Score survey. If you’re interested, see Fred’s blog at

    I agree with you about the improvements.

  3. Service Untitled said:

    Feb 27, 08 at 7:25 pm

    I’m familiar Glenn – thanks for the link! Seems like an interesting blog and I think I have his book.

  4. Adam Dorrell said:

    Mar 03, 08 at 12:20 pm

    Thanks for sharing this – I collect good AND bad examples of surveys on my Survey Idols page (

    Our product CustomerGauge does exactly what you describe – simply measure Net Promoter Score. Interestingly, many companies (despite advice) insist on adding a few more questions!

    To answer your specific points:

    1. A survey in email: While technically possible, we have found this sort of thing gets caught in spam filters, and may not always work. Best to put in a seperate page we found.

    2. On the survey, show my email address: Here is a balance between being Big-Brother-ish and respecting privacy. We have found that leaving customers the option to answer has been the best policy.

    3. Offer some sort of award (or possibility of an award) for participating – this one I disagree with. We have found best feedback comes from real “fans” of a brand, or those who are motivated to comment because of poor service. Rewards do not improve quality of feedback, merely quantity.

    4. Include a support / help link. Agree – our best practice is to tell the customer they will get an answer in X hours (less than 48 is best)if they leave an email address.

    Hope that’s useful


  5. Service Untitled said:

    Mar 05, 08 at 8:21 pm


    Thanks very much for those comments. The information is definitely interesting — I’m glad you came by to share your insights.

  6. Service Untitled » How to Measure Satisfaction at Every Step - customer service and customer service experience blog said:

    Mar 17, 08 at 11:02 pm

    […] My personal preference is to send a brief (as in: no more than 2-3 question) survey after every customer service interaction (phone call, email, etc.). This way companies can get an accurate idea about the quality of the service they are providing across all mediums. If it is emailed to the customer immediately after the interaction, it should still be fairly fresh in their mind. Simple surveys with a Net Promoter question usually provide companies with a good idea of the quality of service they are providing. […]

  7. Service Untitled » Quick Post: Build the feedback process right in. - customer service and customer service experience blog said:

    Apr 29, 08 at 11:47 pm

    […] Skype has an interesting way of gathering feedback. After every call, a little survey pops up. They ask you to rate the quality of your call (they use a 1-5 star system) and then they show a list of things that could have gone wrong (echos, etc.) and ask you to check boxes of anything that was applicable. The survey is super simple and has gotten even simpler over time (it used to redirect you to a web site – now it seems to be built into the program). It’s very self explanatory and since it pops up after every call, you have the opportunity to rate your experience frequently. The survey is optional, but I bet that Skype has really high response rates. Again, the simplicity is probably what would lead to high response rates. I’ve already talked about what a big hit one question surveys are and this just serves as an extension of that. Keep your surveys simple, keep the questions relevant, watch the results pile in. « Internal Customer Service   […]