Customer Survey Listen

What to include in a customer survey — and how to get customers to participate

7 min read
Raubi Marie Perilli

If you want to sell more products, better serve your clients, or improve your business, you need to do something important. You need to gather feedback and insights about your brand through a customer survey.

A customer survey helps you get a good look at your business and identify ways to improve.

It allows you see things from the customer perspective and learn how to:

To get these benefits, it’s important to develop customer surveys that collect and show useful insights and also get shoppers and clients to complete your survey. The rest of this post will show you how.

Tips for creating a customer survey

Before you start writing your customer survey questions, keep the following best practices in mind.

Know your goals before you begin

Don’t conduct a customer survey just because you know you should. Instead, consider what you want to gain from the survey. Outline your business goals before you begin.

  • Do you want to gather feedback to improve a product or service?
  • Do you want to learn about your customers?
  • Do you want to improve the customer experience?
  • Something else?

Knowing what you want to learn will help you craft better questions.

Consider all question formats

As you develop questions for your customer survey, think about what format will help you collect the best feedback. Use a mix of the following question formats.

  • Multiple choice
  • Yes/No
  • Open-ended
  • Sliding scales
Customer Survey Feedback

Include follow-up questions when relevant

To gain additional insights, consider asking follow-up questions. For example, follow up a “yes/no” question with an open-ended “why” question.

Ask “how” questions

Another way to gain better insight is to ask “how” questions. Don’t ask “Do you like the product?” Instead, ask “How well would you rank the product?” or “How would you describe the product?”

Include a “non-answer” answer

If survey takers must select an answer, allow them to choose a non-answer if they don’t want to or can’t respond. Add options for “I don’t know” or “Other.”

Don’t lead survey takers

To get the most useful and truthful answers, don’t lead survey takers into the answers you want them to provide. Positive feedback is great, but only when it’s true. So don’t use leading questions that guide users to say what you want to hear.

Be specific

You will gather better insights if you ask specific questions. Don’t ask “How would you rate your overall customer experience?” Be more specific and ask, “How would you rate the onboarding process?”

Think about the future

As you create questions, consider how you can use the customer survey at a later time. Use questions that will be relevant over a long period of time, and ask questions that will provide data you can compare over time.

What to include in a customer survey

Use the following questions to guide you as you create your customer survey.

Questions about customer experience

  • How would you rate your last experience with us?
  • What were your thoughts when you experienced _________?
  • Were you able to find the _________ you were looking for?
  • How responsive was our team to your questions or concerns?

Questions about customer challenges, needs, and wants

  • What’s your biggest challenge in _________?
  • What questions do you have about _________?
  • What else do you want to learn about _________?

Question about competitors

  • What other competitors did you consider before choosing our brand?
  • What made you choose us over a competitor?
  • How would you compare us to our competitors?

Questions about customer loyalty

  • How likely are you to recommend us to a friend?
  • How long have you been a customer with us?
  • How likely are you to do business with us again?

Questions about products and services

  • What problem does [product/service] solve for you?
  • How well does [product/service] meet your needs?
  • What do you like [most/least] about [product/service]?
  • Which of the following would you use to describe our [product/service]?
  • What features are most valuable to you?
  • Did we have the product in stock?
  • How well did the [product/service] meet your needs?
  • How well did the [product/service] meet your expectations?
  • What would you change about our [product/service]?

Questions about the customer

  • How did you find us?
  • What else would you like us to know?

How to get customers to complete your survey

Customer Survey Woman

You can only benefit from a customer survey if you get shoppers and clients to complete it. Use these tips to get more customers to take your survey.

Keep it short and sweet

You don’t want your survey to feel like work for your customers. Keep it short so it doesn’t take up much of their time or energy. When you conduct a survey, try to keep it to about five to 10 questions.

Be upfront of the length and time it will take to complete

Right away let customers know what is expected of them. Before the survey starts, set expectations and let them know how many questions are included and how long it will take to complete.

Give something back in return

Make it worth the customer’s or client’s time to take your survey. Offer an incentive such as a coupon, discount or freebie for completing the survey.

Show the benefit

Also, show the customer or client how the survey will benefit your business and ultimately them, too. Let them know what you’re going to do with the results or how you will use their insights to improve. Consider using language like, “Help us improve! Fill out this survey to tell us how we can get better at __________.”

Make it easy to complete

Again, a customer survey shouldn’t feel like work. Make it as easy as possible for your customers to submit their answers. Use an intuitive software that guides customers through the process.

Ask one question at a time

Also, don’t make the survey challenge for customers by asking confusing or complex questions. Be straightforward, and focus on asking clear questions about one product, service or topic at a time.

Use consistent ranking scales

If you use sliding scale questions, use the same ranking system throughout the survey. For example, don’t use a 1-to-5 ranking scale on some questions and then a 1-to-10 ranking scale on other questions. Keep it consistent.

Ask at the right time

Be mindful of the customer’s journey with your brand as you decide when to present shoppers or clients with a survey. For example, you might not want to push a survey on a customer only a few minutes after they do business with your brand for the first time.

Ask the right people

Also, consider who would be the best people to take your survey. Match the questions and goals with the customer who will be most likely to complete the survey (and provide the best insights). A brand new customer might be confused to find a survey with questions about brand loyalty and long-term brand advocacy.

By following these tips and best practices, you can create a customer survey that will help you gain valuable insights about your business. You can use what you learn to improve your brand and create better products, services and experiences.

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