10 Steps to Creating a Great Customer Survey

Surveys are an important tool for understanding the customer and making sure your product/service sits well with them. It can help you evaluate the effectiveness of your different organizations/employees and identify problems early, before they get too big. In this post, I will detail 10 steps to build a great customer survey.

1. Formulate the goals of creating the survey.

Though many businesses these days create customer surveys, very few are actually using the survey results for business planning. They just run a survey for the sake of running it and not surprisingly find the results not that useful.

Any business decision must be backed up with well identified goals and a solid action plan. Without proper goals, you are just shooting in the dark. You can create a survey for any of the following goals:

    • Measuring customer satisfaction.
    • Evaluating your customer service and marketing programs.
    • Performing market research.
    • Determining the need for new training programs.
    • Letting the board, stakeholders and press know the effectiveness of your organization and service.
    • Getting new ideas for product development.
    • Prioritizing your organizations resources and spending.

2. Provide incentives to your customers for attending the survey. Tell them how you will use the survey to improve their service and also include a small compliment such as 10% of on their next purchase for taking the survey.

3. When possible make the survey anonymous, unless you have a specific reason to get the customer information. Anonymous surveys tend to bring more frank and honest responses.

4. Avoid asking ambiguous questions in the survey. This will not help you measure the results. Keep the questions as specific as possible.

5. Try to use numerical rating systems (in 5-point scale or 10-point scale) when possible. This allows for more objective measurement.

6. Try to keep the questions as simple as possible. Remember, you are not sitting in the thesis committee of the Harvard College. Your goal should not be to impress the customer with your knowledge and prowess, but to get their feedback.

7. Include a couple of open ended questions to get more insight into the customer’s minds. Though these questions cannot be used to measure items, it can help you understand deeper issues.

8. Use analytical tools to understand then numbers behind the responses. Understand the trends and patterns.

9. Use the right set of tools to run the survey. Online surveys are preferable if your audience is under 40 and phone service is okay if you are targeting the seniors. One of the best online survey tools in the market is Survey Monkey. It is free for 10 questions and 100 survey responses.

10. Most importantly, act on the survey results. If the survey produced no action, you have just wasted your time and money in creating the survey.

Balaji Viswanathan

Balaji Viswanathan

Balaji Viswanathan is the founder of Agni Innovation Labs that helps startups and small businesses with their marketing and management strategy. He has been blogging for the past 8 years on technology, finance and business related topics.

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