Customer Feedback Survey – The Art of Asking

Posted on Dec 6, 2012

Customer Feedback Survey – The Art of Asking

Businesswoman with laptop imageThe customer feedback survey can be a powerful tool for planning and improving your business. One of the best ways you can use a customer feedback survey is in planning engaging content in your company’s social media, events and marketing for the coming year. Nothing is better for planning engaging content than hearing directly from your customers what they value most.

You can plan, design and distribute your own customer feedback survey following these steps.

  1. Determine the most important questions. These are the questions you need answered, in this example, to plan your content for the coming year. These are not written as a survey question, they are simply what you need to know. You want actionable, meaningful answers back, and knowing the most important questions are essential.
  2. Determine who is important to ask. If you are an established business, ask your customers. If you are planning a new business, determine the target customer profile carefully, and target those potential customers. You can find those customers by purchasing a direct mail list of those attributes, and inviting those people to your survey.
  3. Find the right tool. There are a number of on-line survey tools, and of course, surveys can go out via mail. On-line surveys are easy to use and more affordable than mailed surveys. SurveyMonkey.com, one on-line survey provider, offers a free service level for surveys with up to 10 questions and with a limit of 100 responses (responses can be a portion of the invitations you send as not everyone responds). It also integrates with your website, email, blogs and Facebook. Other services offering free on-line surveys include Zoomerang.com, eSurveysPro.com, and SurveyGizmo.com. When sending out surveys via mail, remember to include a self-addressed, postage paid return envelope, and any incentive you are offering. Mailed surveys may cost more than on-line surveys, but may be right for your target audience.
  4. Write the survey from the customer’s point-of-review. When writing the survey, keep the customer’s point-of-view in mind as you write questions and answer choices. Test the questions out on a friend, staff member, or better still, a loyal customer to get their feedback on clarity of questions and if any answer choices are missing.
  5. Keep it interesting. Mix up the question types to keep it interesting, with multiple choice, ranking, and rating. Start with simple, general questions. Use images as appropriate. Use open questions and “other” choice answers, but use them sparingly.
  6. Involve the audience. Let your customers or target customer group know the survey is coming (knowing the survey is coming tends to increase the number of responses). When the survey arrives, let your customers know how long it will take to complete. For on-line surveys, keep descriptions short. Let them know, too, how you will use the information. Finally, if appropriate, share the results of the survey when all the responses are in.
  7. Put the feedback to work. Use the feedback in your planning. The customer feedback survey only has value when the insight is put to use. On-line surveys have the added benefit of providing instant feedback as surveys are completed.

Try a customer feedback survey for planning your marketing calendar and content for the coming year and send me a note to let me know what you learned. – Maureen

Note: If you want to conduct a formal survey, one you will use to forecast demand or establish pricing, I recommend seeking professional help with survey language and survey sampling strategy

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