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How to Get the Most From Your Customer Surveys

Are you currently in the process of building a customer survey? Perhaps you already have one, but need to make some adjustments. Either way, if your customers are going to take the time to fill out a customer survey, you want to make sure that the information gathered is as useful as possible, right?! With your goals in mind, what should be considered and what should be included or omitted from your customer survey? Here are some of our suggestions:
  • Keep it short and simple. Customers are more likely to participate if your survey is not going to take up too much of their time. Also, avoid industry-specific jargon that customers may not understand.
  • Ask one question at a time. If you have more than one question in the number or space, you will likely see just one of those questions answered. Rather than ask a question, WITH a “why?” also in it, ask your “why?” in the next question. Example: Change “1. Are you happy with your doo-dad since you purchased it? Why” to “1. Are you happy with your doo-dad since you purchased it? 2. Why are you happy or unhappy with your doo-dad as answered above?”
  • Be careful to not ask the same question, but in different ways. This not only provided duplicate, sometimes conflicting information (they may be misunderstood) but it can be annoying to your survey taker.
  • Ask questions that relate specifically to what you are trying to understand. What is the goal of this survey? What do you hope to do with the information? Avoid asking questions that don’t fit the goal. Again, keep it short and simple!
  • If you plan to use a rating system, keep it consistent. If you are hoping to understand satisfaction on a scale of 1-10, use the same 1-10 scale for all questions that require a rating. Don’t mix in other options as you go. Construct questions around the scale of choice.
  • Thank them! Be sure to let your participants know that you appreciate their time and input. If possible, offer a discount, credit or other bonus if it makes sense to do so. Especially if there is a chance that you will be looking for the completion of a survey from the same customer in the future.
Do you have experience in creating customer surveys or even experience in participating in customer surveys? What would you add to our list? Speaking of surveys, remember to not let your survey do all the work. Connect with customers one on one with a phone call or email, or even a visit to their location. This will go a long way in getting participation (and retention) in the future.