Should You Ascertain Your Success And Failures With Customer Surveys


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When businesses are trying to understand whether or not their websites, customer service strategies, and other develops are working or not, they are often advised to ask customers what they think about what’s happening.

Customer surveys are the easiest way to do this. They are delivered in many different ways, from email invitations to social media surveys to surveys after calls. But do they really help you understand what your customers think about your success or failure?

Who Takes Customer Surveys?

Many of the people who take customer surveys are pretty happy with the product or service they’ve received. We think that the only people who will call or click through a survey are very angry – but in fact, those customers are often too angry to deal with a survey, and will simply click away or hang up.

If your survey seems to be showing nothing but positive results, remember that what you’re seeing is a sample of the people who decided to take the survey, which may not be a representative sample of your customers.

How Long Does Your Survey Take?

We’ve all been there – you start filling out a customer survey because it seems like the process will be quick – and then it starts to drag on. You quickly lose interest and give up on the survey.

You need to be respectful of customer time. If you expect your customers to spend even 10 minutes completing a survey, it’s unlikely they’ll do it – even if you offer them a significant reward. You need to make your surveys short and sweet in order to make them effective.

Know What You’re Looking For

Many companies ask the same few questions: How was your service, could we have done better, what would you have asked us to do differently? These questions are so bland as to be useless. Instead, consider what you really want to know. Even if you’re looking for information on customer service, you can ask better questions. But to do that, you need to know what you want to know.

Was your customer satisfied with your product selection? Did they get enough information to make a decision? Will they return to make another purchase?

Once you’ve determined the right questions, you’re much more likely to get helpful information.

Learn From The Data

Too many companies have strategies to gather data, but do not have strategies in place to act on that data. If you don’t plan on changing your company’s behavior based on what you discover during customer satisfaction surveys, there’s no point in conducting them in the first place.

For example, if you find out that your product pages aren’t offering your customers enough information, and this is why they’re clicking away from your website instead of making a purchase, are you prepared to rewrite your product pages to create more informative descriptions? If you receive feedback that your website is difficult to navigate, can you undertake redesigning it?

It’s important to know, as a company, what you can and can’t do from the received feedback. It’s also important not to over react based on one piece of feedback. If one customer finds your website frustrating, it’s safe to assume that a few people do – but that doesn’t mean you need to redesign your entire website.

But Don’t Forget Demographics

If you can collect demographic information from customers, this is a great way to figure out how much weight you need to give the feedback you collect. You should be more concerned if someone in your target demographic – your ideal customer – is finding your website insufficiently informative, your customer service poor, or your website badly designed.

So Should You Use Customer Service To Determine Success and Failure?

Surveys can absolutely be a factor in your company’s process of determining the success or failure of a particular service, but they shouldn’t be the only way you’re judging your overall quality. Make sure that you’re considering direct feedback, what you’re seeing on social media, and your actual sales and returns figures.

Keep your surveys to a reasonable length; they shouldn’t take a customer more than a minute or two to complete. Be upfront about how long the survey may take and be honest. And consider, instead of requiring a bunch of involved answer on an initial survey, asking for contact information and permission to contact the customer with more questions. This way, if you find that something on the survey doesn’t make sense, or that you need to get more information in order to understand what to do next, you can reach out to the customer and get what you need.

And make sure you’re doing something with the data you collect. Use it to drive employee bonuses, make sure that your website is working as well as it should, or consider it part of performance results. But if you’re sending out a survey just because everyone else is, or because you do it every quarter, you’re not going to get a return on investment that means much of anything.

Margarita Hakobyan
CEO and founder of, an online marketplace of local moving companies and storage facilities. Business women, wife and mother of two with bachelor's degree from the University of Utah with a concentration in International Studies and a Masters Degree also from the University of Utah with a degree in International business.


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