Crafting the perfect customer satisfaction survey

5 min read
Leighton Burley

If you own a business or work in a field like marketing, you’ve probably heard how important it is for companies to do customer satisfaction surveys. Why is this? Is it merely a way for them to unearth good reviews to use in their next marketing campaign?

Surveys show you what you’re doing right, and exactly where you can improve.

Rather than guessing about how customers perceive your products or services, businesses have discovered that it’s more accurate to just ask their customers.

It’s all in the wording: 3 tips for success

While there are countless questions you could ask and various ways you could deliver the survey, there are a few things the best surveyors use to increase the quality of the feedback.

  1. Use precise questions.
  2. Ask more of them.
  3. Reward participation.

Once you’ve read our three tips, check out the free survey tools here.

1. Use precise questions

Remember that your customers are doing you a favor by responding to your survey. Show you value their time and input by asking specific questions, and not making them guess at your meaning.

For example, if you run a hotel and want feedback about your staff’s service, you might use the following question: “Were our front desk attendants polite?”

Customer Satisfaction Survey Hotel Reception Desk

This is a far more precise question than merely asking, “Were our staff accommodating?” The wording will help your customers understand exactly what it is that you’re asking.

2. Ask more of them

Asking your customers a number of questions goes hand-in-hand with asking precise questions.

For example, if you ask your customers, “Can you provide feedback on your visit?” you’ll get a wide range of responses, detailing various points of their visits.

However, you’ll get far more useful responses if you break that down into several specific questions:

  • Were our staff friendly and helpful?
  • Did you have any trouble finding your room?
  • Were the charges on your bill clear and accurate?

Specific questions like these will allow you to get feedback on particular aspects of your service experience. The answers will help you set goals for improvement, rather than having no idea which part of the customer’s experience may have been unpleasant.

3. Reward participation

Rewards can be a compelling motivator to complete a survey, especially if they interest your customers. Rewarding the customer for their cooperation can increase their affinity for your company while also providing your business with the feedback it needs.

Alexandra Tachalova, the founder at Digital Olympus, says, “I receive tons of emails daily, asking me to share how much I’m satisfied with products/services. The truth is that the majority of those emails are ignored not only by me but by the majority of users.

“If you want to receive a decent number of responses and even make your users love you more, give them something back.” Alexandra suggests a discount on their next order or a small gift like a gift card to say thank you.

When to do customer satisfaction surveys

There are several situations in which a company should conduct a customer satisfaction survey. These include:

  • Determining a product or service’s performance
  • Gaining insight for future developments
  • Measuring customer loyalty
  • Conducting market research
  • Establishing performance goals

In short, customer satisfaction surveys can be useful at almost every stage of the business cycle.

What’s in it for you

Customer feedback helps businesses develop and sell products and services that meet the demands of the market.

How well you meet consumers’ needs is the primary factor in the success or failure of your business.

Businesses that presume about these needs can be wrong in their perception of what their target audience wants. As a result, they often fail in their business endeavors.

Refining your product or service

Actually asking the customer what they want and need gives business the insight they need to improve on their current offering and better assist their customers.

Smart companies survey their customers regularly, as tastes and trends change over time.

This cycle of customer feedback and product improvement fuels the best businesses, as they are first to market with products and services that perfectly suit their target audience.

Head off problems

Customer satisfaction surveys also allow businesses to catch and remedy any problems their customers may be experiencing long before they become big enough to drive the customers away.

According to Forbes, it’s less expensive for a business to keep an existing customer than to win a new one. So survey on.

The secret to longevity in any industry

Customer satisfaction surveys are a crucial part of maintaining your customer base. They help businesses:

  • Test the market for new products
  • Solicit customer feedback
  • Generate ideas for improvements
  • Resolve customer problems before they become more significant issues

While customer feedback is vital, it can be challenging to gather quality responses consistently. In order to increase your participation rate, as well as the quality of your survey responses, your surveys should be in-depth, specific and provide a reward for participation. These few steps will help motivate your respondents and provide more precise directives for you.

Editor’s note: Open a line of regular communication with your customers through email marketing. Dollar for dollar, it’s the most cost-effective marketing tool you have!