5 Tips for Creating Better Customer Surveys


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Asking for feedback is more often than not a “swing and a miss” when it comes to making your customers feel valued.
So many customer surveys are in themselves a very poor customer experience. (I respond to a LOT of customer surveys, so feel qualified to make that statement!)
What’s frustrating, though, is that with a bit of thought and a few tweaks these surveys could be transformed into a feel good interaction with the brand!

So, aside from recommending that you use a BigEars survey…here are 5 tips to ensure your customer surveys are a moment of magic, and not a moment of misery!

1. Keep it short
You might have lots of KPIs riding on your customer experience. But your customers don’t work for you. They are giving up their precious free time to help you improve your business, you don’t want to make them regret that. Ask a few good and interesting questions. Think about what it is you want to learn and build your survey around that. Don’t give customers a long list of rating questions. It’s boring, and by question 4 your customers are just entering numbers without giving much thought to the question they’ve been asked.

2. Use branching and logic
There really is no excuse for not doing this but it is amazing how many companies don’t! Even the free versions of most web surveys offer this feature. After a rating question, branch to an appropriate follow up question. If a customer has given a low score – branch to a question that acknowledges their disappointment before asking for a comment to find out why. If they give a high score – thank them, tell them you are pleased to hear that…and ask them to explain what it was that delighted them. But for goodness sake, don’t ask a customer who has already given you a perfect score what you can do to make them more likely to recommend you (this happened to me just the other day!)
The other advantage of branching is that you can in effect ask different questions of different customer groups. So you can take people down a specific survey path depending on how they answer a demographic question, or an NPS question. This means you can ask 4 or 5 questions which are targeted and relevant to specific customer groups instead of asking 25 less relevant questions to everyone.

3. Use appropriate language
Language is so important in a customer survey. The language you use internally to measure staff performance should not be visible to your customers. Use language that isunambiguous, meaningful and concise. Use simple sentence structure. You don’t want your customer to have to work hard to understand what it is you are asking them! Think about your target audience and your brand, and make sure you use language that fits. It goes without saying that you should always ensure your grammar and spelling are accurate, yet still I respond to surveys that get this wrong.

4. Ask open-ended questions
It seems so obvious. Open-ended questions are the “why” and that is where the insight resides. And yet so many surveys I have completed recently have denied me this opportunity. Although the survey is therefore shorter, ironically it makes me feel less valued as a customer. The company don’t care enough about my opinion to give me a chance to share it, nor are they really interested in hearing from me. Giving numbers without having the ability to explain the reasoning behind them is meaningless. It forces you to make assumptions about the choices and decisions your customers are making. And that’s never a good idea!

5. Close the Loop
If customers take time to tell you what they think, be sure to close the loop. Thank them and publish the results – along with the changes you’ve made to your business as a result of listening to your customers. Customers are far more likely to engage with a future survey if they believe their insights will have an impact. Customers generally want to help you. Look on their feedback as a gift. Don’t stash it away in a drawer somewhere…thank them and be sure to use it to make a difference. That’s what you owe them for taking the time to complete your survey!


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