successful customer surveysIn business, your customers are your greatest asset. Their experience with your product or service is a valuable metric for measuring your success and determining  your next steps for growth. Therefore, in addition to making sure you give your customers the best service possible,  be sure you are getting feedback and learning from them in order to improve your business. Yes, being present on social media and online review sites is a great way to be accessible to your consumers so they can share their good experiences with you and others. However, you need to take it a step further. While these methods allow the consumer to tell you what they want, they don’t necessarily guarantee the information that you need from them. The best way to obtain this information from users is through customer surveys.  Surveys ask the pointed questions you need answered to your most important demographic – your users!  Customer surveys are a science. Here are three tips to ensure you get the most out of your customer surveys.

How To Ask Questions

As it turns out, the question asking process in not completely arbitrary. At least not if you actually want people to take your survey. Things like question order, language, and subject are all things that must be considered. Begin your survey with questions that will both engage the customer and show how the survey is relevant to them. Constant Contact recommends saving things like demographic questions that will benefit your market research for the end of the survey, making it more likely that people will answer all your questions and provide at least some of their personal information. Make sure that your questions follow a logical order of progression and are to the point. Figure out exactly what you want to know from your customers and ask that question. To that end, make sure the question is written in a simple, easy to understand way. Complicated sentence structure, awkward wording, and use of industry terms all risk a misunderstanding between what you are asking and what the participant thinks you are asking. Confusing questions may result in them choosing not to take the survey at all, or take it not fully understanding what you’re asking, answering inaccurately, and giving you bad data.  Lastly, keep your questions as targeted as possible. Don’t send overly general questions to customers who may not have dealt with the area of your business to which one question refers. This not only wastes their time, but wastes the valuable opportunity of having your customer’s attention. Consider creating several surveys to send to people based on whether they dealt with the sales team or a customer service representative. Oracle suggests using the branching functionality. Have the first question be a qualifying question, and the rest of the survey will adjust to questions more specific to that user’s experience.

Getting People To Take Your Survey

First, when reaching out to your customers, give them context for why you want their feedback. Even if it is something seemingly obvious, like wanting to use their experience to improve overall, customers will feel more engaged if you are personally asking their advice. Today especially, consumers feel they have the power to influence brand success, so act on it. Another strategy for receiving feedback is to offer an incentive for survey completion. Many places offer a discount on a customer’s next purchase if they complete a survey. Most important, however, is survey length. Most people won’t elect to participate, and if they do, it won’t be for long. Make sure your survey takes five to ten minutes to complete and no longer. In that same vein, don’t send your clients feedback surveys too often. If you bombard them with surveys, not only will they not answer, they will be annoyed, distancing your brand image from one that understands and values customers. Lastly, if you want customers to take your survey, make it available. Publish links to the survey on your social sites, website, and in emails to customers to for the highest visibility.

Making Participation Matter

Customer surveys are a good way to develop a more personal relationship with your customers, as it shows you really care about their opinions and improving. Therefore, be sure to follow up with the customers that are actively helping you by taking your survey.  Reach out to them to thanks them for participating, let them know what you have learned based upon their contribution. If you made an adjustment based on their suggestion, let them know.  This will cultivate a sense of loyalty.  Additionally, if the client did have a bad first experience, knowing that you have made improvements based on their experience may get them to come back.

Customer surveys benefit your business in multiple ways. They can give you more complete customer profiles and demographic information, determine customers’ levels of happiness with service and product, and create a personal relationship and sense of loyalty with those who are buying your product. They are essential and helpful, but not when executed poorly. Be sure you are taking full advantage of all of the potential benefits of customer surveys. These three tips will get the ball rolling in the right direction!