​4 Big Tips For Companies To Get The Most Out of Customer Surveys

Apr 16, 2018

Every business seems to ask for feedback from their customers via some kind of customer survey, but on close inspection, it was found that:

  1. Many companies are making customers work hard to complete them, and
  2. They ask the wrong questions, and
  3. They offer no benefit for completing the survey, and
  4. Most businesses don’t know how to maximise survey input to drive service improvements, and finally
  5. They generally avoid responding to feedback from surveys.

The question is this: is your business only conducting surveys in order to tick off an auditing checklist, or are you genuinely interested in making continual service improvements based on what’s important to your clients?

And that right there is what this article discusses: creating customer service surveys that provide value, and which can even foster increased customer loyalty.

Here’s the advice:

#1: Make it easy

Ever received an SMS asking you to rate your service experience, and to please SMS the rating back at a cost of ….?

The cast that you as the customer has to pay for.


If you want your customers to complete surveys, why are you asking them to pay the costs that should be coming from your pockets?

Another common mistake is making customers jump through hoops to provide feedback.

Simplify the process and you’ll get a better response rate. When the survey process has been created, brutally chop away at any unnecessary steps. Make it easy for your customers to give you what you want.

Remember they are doing you a favour, and every bit of feedback they give is gold.

Related: How Emotional Intelligence Impacts Your Business

#2: Ask the right questions

When you ask the right questions, in the right way, the feedback you get will be more valuable to your business.

Something that IT companies in particular like to do, is collect a rating for a person, but this misses the mark completely, because if you’re asking for how the interaction with an engineer went, as opposed to how the entire service experience went, you won’t get meaningful results.

Because the person handling their query may have been great, but the customer may have experienced dissatisfaction with your system, not your people. And if you’re not asking about that, but forcing them to rate a person instead, you will never know what made them dissatisfied.

So what do you really want to know from your customers, and how can you get that information in the best way possible?

  1. Be very clear and specific. For example, “how many times a week do you exercise?” is going get more concise answers than, “do you exercise regularly?”
  2. Avoid telling stories. Your customers don’t need to know why and they don’t care; just ask the question.
  3. Ask open ended questions. This type of question will provide most value, because you’ll get feedback straight from the customer, in the voice of the customer.
  4. Be neutral, don’t lead. Don’t lead the question to get the answer you want.
  5. Break it down. Break down big concepts into different questions.
  6. Instead of asking “yes/no” questions, give a scale: e.g., “on a scale of 1 - 5, how would you rate this question?”

Related: Interviews and Resumes: Detecting the Unspoken

#3: Maximise results

If you’re going to do customer surveys, you may as well do it right and get the most out of it...

Consider these points:

  • To get more people to complete surveys, offer something of benefit to them, otherwise why should they bother? Now, in certain niches, you may not even need to give something away, but rather ensure they know that you will actually use their feedback, and for what purposes.
  • Add a progress bar to the survey so that they know how far they are till completion.
  • Use the feedback to drive improvements. Make someone responsible for pushing this project. Create a culture around the importance of positive and negative feedback.
  • When customers take time to compliment someone or something, broadcast the good news to the team or even the whole company.

#4: Respond!

Besides adding value with continual improvements, the customer survey process can actually increase brand loyalty too…

Have you ever taken the time to complete a survey about the service you experienced, explaining your extreme dissatisfaction about something, only to be responded to with...S-I-L-E-N-C-E?

Irritating, isn’t it?

But by taking the time to call the customer about it, can actually turn the whole situation around, and make them a raving fan of your brand. The alternative? They’re likely to tell on average, 15 people about their poor experience.

When someone completes a survey, thank them. Depending on the level of their dissatisfaction, don’t just leave it. Instead, call them to discuss it.

Because most companies don’t make the effort, you’ll have the edge over your competitors and you’ll reap the rewards with their loyalty.

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