How to Create Successful Customer Feedback Surveys

Anyone can design a customer feedback survey. It’s just a bunch of questions about things that you, your boss, your marketing department, and perhaps an executive or two want to know about your customers. Simply collect the questions from everyone who wants to know about your customers, build the survey, and wait for the results.

Stop!

If you believe any of what you just read and you have any type of customer feedback survey in place now, you are likely hurting your company’s reputation.

Successful Customer Feedback Surveys do two great things for your company:

  1. They enhance your customers’ impression of your company
  2. They give you valuable information that you can’t get without asking them directly

So, how do you make your customer feedback survey a positive experience for your customers and also get you the best data possible? Here are a few things that you should do.

Initial Impressions:

You want to make the entire survey process easy for your customer. The first step is to offer the survey using the same communication channel that the customer used when they communicated with you. If they called you, use a phone survey. If they elected to reach out via email or chat, your survey to them should be delivered in the same way. It might not be obvious to your customer when you do it right, but it is obvious when you do it wrong. The survey response rates are likely to be higher if you survey a customer in their preferred communication channel.

Your initial messaging, sometimes referred to as the survey greeting or survey invitation, is a great time to leave the customer with a positive impression about your company and your brand. Use words like “thank you,” “appreciate,” “valued customer.”

Example: “Thank you for contacting us today. As a valued customer, we would appreciate your feedback on your experience…”

Even if they don’t choose to complete your survey, the messaging you use here is a positive branding opportunity. Make it a good one.

Keeping them engaged:

Getting a customer to provide feedback isn’t always easy. Once you have conquered what communication channel to use, and how to invite your customers to provide feedback, you need to know what to ask them.

  • Obviously, you know what information you want to get from your survey. But as you start to write the questions, here are some recommendations:
  • Keep the questions short and focused. A phone survey should take no more than three minutes. For email surveys, try to stay under 10 questions. If you get too long, you will have less people completing the survey.
  • Don’t ask the customer for things they expect you to know about them (example: Why did you call us today?). Those types of questions are NOT going to make a positive impression on your customer.
  • Don’t make the mistake of asking about two things in one question (example: How satisfied were you with the product and the packaging?) Customer may have very different thoughts about those things.
  • If you want the customer to rate something, explain the scale (what is the best answer and what is the worst answer). Getting several surveys where you think people answered the questions wrong doesn’t do you any good. You want to have data you can trust.
  • If you want the customer to select from a list of answers, make sure that you have all possible answers listed. Nothing is more frustrating on a survey than not seeing an answer that matches how you feel or think.
  • Don’t use internal jargon. Run your survey questions by other people to test the wording before you send the survey.
  • Make sure to have at least one opportunity for the customer to include a message or note as part of the survey in case there is something important to them that you didn’t ask about. These types of questions work best at the end of a survey.
  • If you can make the survey interactive, where each question is based on the way the customer answered the last question, you will keep the customer more engaged and create a better experience for them.

Express Gratitude:

Customer feedback is a bonus. You owe your customers an enormous “thank you” when they are willing to tell you how they feel and help to make your business better. At the end of the survey, let them know you appreciate the time they took to help you. Even better, if you have an opportunity to tell your customers about changes you have made based on their feedback, definitely take advantage of it. Letting customers know you are listening will help improve your response rates the next time you ask for feedback.

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