The Global Contact Rule is one of the bedrocks of AskNicely: its purpose is to prevent over-surveying.
With automation software tools, it is a lot easier than you might think to do the same action more than you intended - in AskNicely's case, this would be sending too many surveys in a span of time.
It is critical that your contacts do not annoyed by over-surveying; if they choose to unsubscribe from AskNicely emails, that results in permanent "Do Not Contact" flag on their email address. This means they will never receive any AskNicely surveys and you will never receive any feedback from them ever again.
How the Global Contact Rule Works
The Global Contact Rule's logic prevents over-surveying by telling us, "[This account will] ...wait at least [xx] days before surveying a contact again." ([xx] = 120 in the screenshot below.)
In this sentence, "contact" is defined as either a unique email address OR your contact's SMS phone number if you are sending SMS surveys. AskNicely looks up every contact by their email address/SMS phone number to determine if they've been surveyed in the last 120 days or not, and sends or doesn't send an email accordingly.
So per the example below, if a survey is sent today, the clock will start ticking. No other surveys will be sent to that contact until 120 days have passed.
There is a second clause to this rule: "For newly added contacts, wait "[yy]" days before sending any survey." ([yy]="0" in the screenshot above.)This means that if a new contact is added to AskNicely, they will automatically be prevented from being sent a survey until "[yy]" amount of days has passed. We typically don't recommend using this unless you are accommodating a shipping time or some other predictable block of days where customers should not be receiving a survey.
What the Global Contact Rule does not do
The Global Contact Rule is not saying, "this contact will be surveyed in 120 days" - it is saying, "After 120 days, this person will be eligible to receive an automated survey." Whether or not someone is sent a survey depends on how many surveys your account is sending per day.
For example, if you have 500 contacts in your account and your Send Scheduler is set to send 500 surveys per day, people will always be surveyed exactly 120 days later. Maxing out the Survey Send means every customer will be hit no matter what the moment they become eligible.
Typically, our customers opt for more of a "drip campaign"-style of surveying, where instead of sending the max amount of surveys, they send 25-50 surveys a day. This keeps a steady stream of surveys going out and feedback coming back in, and customers are surveyed on a randomized basis.
Overriding the Global Contact Rule
There are several ways that the Global Contact Rule can be overridden. Here are the options, starting with the most convenient:
1. Use the CSV Importer to send surveys to a specific list of contacts: When you import a group of contacts and the "Success!" confirmation screen pops up, click the checkbox that says "Send a blast to the contacts in this CSV"; after doing so, you'll be given the option to override the Global Contact Rule for that specific contact list.
2. Set up a Send Scheduler with Custom Contact Rules: At the bottom of your Send Scheduler, you have the option to switch the "This scheduler will use" dropdown from the default "your global contact rules" to "custom contact rules."
3. By Integration: Certain integrations, like our Salesforce integration, allow you to set individual contact rules for each batch of contacts that you import.
4. API integration: Using the argument "triggeremails=true" will force an email to be sent every time.
There are always workarounds, so keep at it! The best way to determine what will be best for your surveying strategy is to create test users and experiment as needed, as you would with any other automated platform. We are here to help you brainstorm and suggest solutions, so don't hesitate to reach out to the Support Team (firstname.lastname@example.org or via the chat in the lower right hand corner of AskNicely) if you need another set of eyes.