Creating the Perfect Customer Survey in 5 Steps

Every business knows that they need a customer survey but actually creating one is a major pain point for some.

Creating the perfect customer survey doesn't have to be difficult.

The internet is saturated with "survey quick tips", and a ton of information on how to create the perfect customer survey. However, without the right infrastructure, your surveys can fall flat.

Today, we're going to talk about creating the perfect online survey - one that appeals to customers and ensures that you aren't gathering meaningless data.

Why Create a Customer Survey?

"A satisfied customer is one who will continue to buy from you, seldom shop around, refer other customers and in general be a superstar advocate for your business." - Gregory Ciotti

Your business doesn't exist in a black hole.

There's plenty of competition, and failing to measure customer satisfaction is a surefire way to lag behind.

  • How do you know whether your customers like your new product/service?
  • How do you go about finding and correcting internal issues?
  • What are your customer-facing weak points (staff, retail locations, call centers, etc.?)
  • Can you fulfill your customers needs more efficiently?

If you've ever asked yourself any of the above questions, you need a customer survey.

A good online survey offers critical insights into business objectives, corporate infrastructure, consumer needs, and measure customer satisfaction.

Really, customer surveys give you the ability to stay fluid in the ever-changing customer-centric market.

The Need For Customer Surveys

There are many reasons why businesses collect customer responses to surveys. Let’s talk about some of the most beneficial reasons:

1. Customer Surveys Give You Understanding About Your Customers

Gathering responses from customer surveys will allow you to make better decisions for your business. This in turn, will help you make your business more successful in the long run.

2. Customer Surveys Help You Improve Your Products/ Services

Taking an online survey from your customers will help you know what your customers like or dislike about your business. These could be your prices, your customer service, or even your main products or services itself.

Asking your customer how you can improve will give you inside information on what you need to change in your business in order to become more successful.

It can also help you measure customer satisfaction.

3. Customer Surveys Help You Understand What To Offer Your Customers Next

If you’re thinking about venturing into a new type of business, customer surveys can help you find out what is lacking in the market (or even in your business) and what new products you can create or new services you can offer that will help your customers out more.

More often than not, customer surveys show you what you have been missing in your business.

The Statistics

To hammer-the-point-home, let's take a look at some customer survey statistics.

  • U.S. based companies lose over $62-billion-a-year due to poor customer service.
  • 51% of customers will refuse to do business with a company again after a single poor customer service incident.
  • A 5% increase in customer retention can increase profits by 95%!
  • 72% of companies say that improving customer service is their #1 priority.
  • The average survey response for a customer survey is 24%, but well-created and expertly-designed surveys can reach over 50% response-rates!
  • Email surveys have higher response rates than in-app, telephone, or online surveys.

How You Can Use Customer Surveys For Your Business

Every customer survey needs to have a clear goal. What are you trying to improve upon? What information are you trying to find out?

Let’s talk about some ways you can use customer surveys for your business:

1. To Gauge The Performance of Your Products/ Services

In case some of your customers haven’t used your services in many months, you can send them a re-engagement email asking them what the problem is.

In this email, you can include a customers feedback survey that will help you pinpoint exactly what went wrong and what changes you can make to your products/ services to improve customer satisfaction.

This will also help improve your customer retention.

2. To Get Feedback After a Purchase

If your customer has recently made a purchase, you could send them a customers feedback survey. This will help you immediately find out whether the product has met the expectations of your customer and whether it is serving the purpose the customer purchased it for.

If the customer is unsatisfied with the product or the customers expected a different kind of product or service, you can collect valuable information from them about what went wrong. You can also offer them a replacement or exchange to keep up customer relations.

3. To Collect Ideas For New Products/ Services

A customer survey can be used to identify what products or services your company is lacking. This way you can use the information to under customer expectations and create new products/ services.

Finding out what customers expected when they approached your business can give you better ideas that you can implement for the growth of your business.

4. To Identify And Reward Loyal Customers

These days, online influencers play a major role in driving sales for businesses. You can use customer surveys to search out your most loyal (and most popular) advocates and do business with them. Loyal customers are an asset to your business, and customer surveys help you identify them and reward them for their loyalty.

Customer retention is bound to get a boost if you reward loyalty.

5. To Enhance Customer Experience

Customer surveys can be used to build relationships with your customers and show them that you care. By asking your customers about their issues and feedback, you’re investing in the relationship and building trust. Taking care of your customers experiences is crucial.

You can also offer discount coupons or other small rewards for customers who take the time to answer your surveys. This will also enhance customers experiences.

6. To Carry Out Market Research

If you are planning to venture into a new area of business or if you plan to create a new product for your customers, you can use customer surveys to conduct effective market research.

You can also collect information such as age, gender, and income of your customers to figure out the features and pricing of your next product.

7. To Measure Your Company’s Performance

Learn how to create the perfect customer survey

There's definitely a "right" and "wrong" way to create a customer survey.

Sure, surveys need to be specific to your business, and you can get creative with them. But if you don't have the core infrastructure down, you're not going to be collecting valuable data, and your response rate will be abysmal.

The right survey is only five steps away!

Step 1: Ask the Right Questions

Ask the right questions

When it comes to cutting unnecessary questions out of your survey, be ruthless.

Question bloat is going to send your customers running away in record time.

There is an average 17% drop in respondent rates when your survey is over 12 questions long. Customers don't want surveys to interfere with their personal time.

Remember, customer satisfaction is more important to your business than it is to the customer — they have plenty of options!

You want to ask specific questions that are critical to your business needs.

So, if you really don't need to know "where they first heard about your business," don't ask them. Don't start dotting the survey with customer satisfaction survey questions that help you fill in marketing/sales gaps; there are other ways to get those answers.

You want customer surveys to be centered on customer satisfaction.

To figure out which specific questions are critical to your business, start asking yourself some questions.

  1. What metrics are you trying to capture?
  2. What areas of your business are you looking to improve?
  3. What kinds of customer satisfaction survey questions are going to give you the best insights into your services?
  4. Do you want to use the survey to capture other metrics (NPS, etc.?)

Once you've figured out what you're looking for, jot those questions down, then continue to the next step.

Step 2: Decide How To Ask The Questions

Once you've figured out what customer satisfaction survey questions you want to ask, you need to figure out how you want to ask those questions.

Do you want your satisfaction survey questions to be open-ended or closed-ended?

Really, you should be aiming for a combination of both. You want the majority of your questions to be closed-ended. These are the simple bubble-form questions that the customer can quickly fill out.

But, you need to include at least one open-ended question.

Typically, we see this at the end of the survey in the form of a "respondent outlet." This is an area where the customer can explain their situation or why they gave the answers that they gave.

Putting the "respondent outlet" at the end of a survey lets customers feel a sense of progress as they blaze through the closed-ended yes-or-nos.

The respondent outlet gives you more insight into the issues without forcing customers to spend a lengthy amount of time filling your survey out.

Step 3: Carefully Word Your Questions

Types of questions to ask

After you've figured out which questions you're going to ask and how you're going to ask them, you need to figure out specifics. When you're wording your questions, remember the following:

A) Don't make your questions "loaded".

Make sure that your questions have unbiased wording.

Questions like "What do you think of our world-class service?" insert bias into the survey. You want to avoid these types of questions wherever possible. Not only because it's going to turn your customers off, but it will also "muddy" your data. Make sure that you're avoiding questions that have a pre assumed notion.

B) Avoid industry jargon.

Don't assume your customers' knowledge of your industry or any other industry.

Make sure that your questions are simple, short, concise, and apply to every knowledge level. If the customer wants to get into your industry specifics, they can make use of the respondent outlet at the end of the survey.

C) Make sure you're asking one question at a time.

Survey form example using Enginemailer

There are various types of questions you can ask your customers. Avoid branching questions whenever possible.

Questions that are linked to other questions may confuse the customer and impact the validity of the data you gather.

Step 4: Design Your Survey

Enginemailer's survey form templates

Once you've figured out all of your question specifics, it's time to design your survey template. There are a ton of survey templates out there.

Find a survey template that's attractive but functional. Follow some useful survey tips to design the best customer surveys for your business.

Step 5: Automate and Analyse

Now that your survey is ready-to-go, it's time to send it out to your customers.

There are multiple ways to set this up. If you're using Enginemailer, you can segment and automate the surveys to be sent out to your customers.

If you're doing this "by hand," you can send surveys out to customer’s post customer service interaction or post-purchase.

All that's left after the survey hits the customer’s inbox is to wait, gather data, and analyse that data.

You should set up a survey response team if possible. This team can reach out to customers who leave negative comments or state specific problems in the respondent outlet.

Customer Survey Q&A

Frequently asked questions

When should I send my surveys out?

According to Survey Monkey data, Monday is the best day and Friday is the worst day. However, the difference between days was relatively minor. Really, there is no best day to send out a customer survey. They should be sent out based on other criteria (recent interactions, purchases, behaviors, etc.)

What if I want more closed-ended/open-ended questions?

The number of questions and types of questions are business-specific.

If you feel like you need more open-ended questions, put in more open-ended questions. It's crucial that your survey tells you what you need to know. These are guidelines, not rules.

How do I measure my survey responses?

There are a ton of different ways that businesses measure customer responses. Some plug the numbers into their CRM or other software in their tech stack.

Survey Tips

Useful survey tips

Finally, we'll end this post with a few quick-burst survey tips.

  1. Be very specific with your survey questions. Do not be vague or unclear about what information you want to collect from your customers.
  2. Break down general questions into multiple specific questions. This will help you get a better idea about the information the customer is giving you.
  3. Include a "Thank You!" page after the survey.
  4. Consider offering a gift. Making surveys "worth" the customer's time is a surefire way to increase your respondent rates. This could be something as simple as a discount.
  5. Double-check your questions for typos.
  6. Don't change the rating scale halfway through. If you're using a rating scale, keep it consistent. Don't switch up 1 meaning "great!" and 1 meaning "unsatisfactory!" halfway through the survey.
  7. Stay on brand! Make sure that your survey copy is on-brand. Keep your language, graphics, and design brand friendly.
  8. Make sure it's mobile friendly!
  9. Send the survey again! If respondents don't answer the survey the first time, feel free to send it again.

If you're looking for a better email solution that gives you the flexibility, control, and automation that you need, contact us.