Employee Satisfaction, Customer Feedback, Assessment Tools & Tips

Customer Survey Success Secrets

Want answers? Who doesn’t! The problem is, answering your own questions doesn’t help. You need real answers from real customers. But what if they’re not interested?

If you’re rolling out any kind of customer feedback survey, you need to ask yourself some questions before you launch to any of your customers. Trust me -- you’ll be glad you did when you see the boost in response rates down the road!

First, put yourself in the mind of a customer. Then ask:

  1. Why does it matter to me?
  2. What did you do with the last answers I gave you?
  3. Why is this so long anyway?

From your end, sure, these might seem like annoying questions. Of course customer data is important! Of course you care about their feedback! Of course you’re going to use the results in a productive and meaningful way!

Really, though: Think about the last time you got a survey as a customer. Whether it was a phone call, a paper to fill out, or an emailed invitation from some online survey software -- what was your first reaction? And -- most importantly -- did you fill it out at all?

We’d like to assume that our customers want to help us, and many of them probably do. But still, there’s only so much time in the day, and we all need to prioritize. While it might be asking a lot to win the hearts and minds of all of your customers, anything you can do to get them to the point of answering your survey questions can go a long way in the right direction. 

Make It Matter: Whether it’s a straightforward incentive (gift card, discount, special deal) or a more abstract point (improving service, updating inventory), don’t assume that customers are sitting around waiting for you to ask them questions. If they don’t see the point, they won’t answer. Tell them how results will be used, if a report will be shared, and what changes they might expect. The more specific you can be, the better.

Remember Last Time: Be sure to follow up with participants as you’ve promised, whether by making changes or sharing results. When you take action on something you’ve learned, be sure that all related communication (press release, newsletter, email) identifies the source of the insight. When you send your next invitation, you can cite examples of how previous results were used, and you’ll inspire confidence that there might just be a good reason to participate after all.

Keep It Tight: Simplify the questions you’re asking down to the bare minimum. Focus on what you need to know, along with any other key demographic details you require. While there are plenty of things that might be nice to know, the longer the survey, the shorter the list of participants. Use a clean, clear, and professional design, matching your own logo and other style elements, and use advanced features like logic and branching to be sure participants only see relevant questions.

Get the data you need by encouraging participation from your customers, and you’ll have the answers you need to keep them coming back. Win-win!

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