Every company wants to get closer to their customers, to get inside their heads and understand their buying process. Aside from learning telepathy, the next best thing is to ask them what you want to know. Customer surveys are a tool that many companies use to crack the code to what customers want and how to provide superior customer service.
So maybe you’ve thought of surveys, but you’re not quite sure how they would fit into your plan or how you’d implement them. Starting from scratch can seem like a daunting, impossible task. But you don’t have to go into it blind.
Here are three tips on how to get the most out of customer surveys.
Know Your Goal
Before starting to use any new tool, the best thing to do is know why you want to use it. A tool can’t help you reach your goals if you don’t know what your goals are.
What is Your Goal?
- Improve customer satisfaction?
- Increase customer referrals?
- Better understand who your customers are? (especially the loyal ones)
Pinpointing your goals also helps you narrow down what you want to ask and how you should send out the survey to get the best responses. Think of it like this: if your goals are the destination, then your questions are how you’re going to get there.
Carefully Choose the Questions You Ask
If you want to obtain valuable feedback from your customers, then you have to ask them the right questions. It's not the customer's job to provide your business with constructive criticism. Instead, it's the surveyor's responsibility to create a thought-provoking prompt that engages the participant.
The questions you ask will shape the responses you get, which will determine how you will analyze and then use the survey data. There are so many potential questions to ask to get to know your customers, especially if this is your first survey, but asking too many questions increases the time it takes to finish and can lower your response rate. Instead, keep true to your goals and ask fewer questions that will get to the heart of what it is you want to know.
Examples of Questions to Ask:
- How old are you?
- Where are you located?
- If applicable, what gender do you identify as?
- What is your employment status?
- What is your marital status and do you have children?
- Product/Service usage
- How often do you use the product or service?
- Does the product help you achieve your goals?
- What is your favorite tool or portion of the product or service?
- What would you improve if you could?
- Satisfaction Scale
- A scale measuring from 1 to 10 (or another number). 1 is an extremely unsatisfied opinion and 10 meaning the customer was very satisfied.
- A descriptive scale that measures a customer's response from unsatisfied to satisfied. The customer is given a short list of responses to choose from that range from "very unsatisfied" to "very satisfied."
- A picture scale that uses images to symbolize customer satisfaction. For example, you can use happy, sad, and indifferent emojis to quickly communicate customer feedback.
- In your own words, describe how you feel about (insert company name or product here).
- How can we improve your experience with the company?
- What's working for you and why?
- What can our employees do better?
- Do you have any additional comments or feedback for us?
Use Your Responses
You have the ability to use the survey feedback to improve aspects of your business that may have emerged as problem areas from the respondents. Ultimately though, what you do with your survey results is dependent on the goals you defined in the beginning.
An important note: it’s not wise to ignore feedback, even the unflattering stuff. When you put out a survey, you’re inviting respondents to give honest feedback to understand them and help your business. You may not like all the responses that you get, but sometimes the ones that are the most difficult to read are the ones you might need to pay the most attention to (short of anything nasty, which you can simply ignore).
The information you receive can go even further if you use it in your advertising and marketing to retain current customers and attract new ones. If you show your existing clientele that you’re still thinking about them and catering to them, they’ll do the major legwork in converting new customers.
Often what draws someone to a business is knowing that they will be a part of something bigger: a community. You can often repackage survey response information as an infographic, for example, to show how the people who buy your product all share some connecting value. You can show that they share not only similar tastes but maybe they share positive traits or strong beliefs. All of this can nurture a sense of community around your company.
Surveys can be an essential tool in building your company. If packaged well, you can create eye-catching and informative reports or you can alter your branding to support the communities you rely on. There are tangible benefits to keeping audience surveys in your business toolbox, and it only gains value when you know how to use these results to your benefit.