How do I conduct a proper customer survey?

How do I conduct a proper customer survey?


How do I conduct a proper customer survey?

A good customer survey allows you to analyse and act on the data obtained from customer feedback. Few other forms of customer feedback allow you to gather as much data so quickly on any individual topic.

But creating one that is useful, relevant and accurate is no easy task. These are my six essential tactics for getting the most out of your customer feedback surveys.

You need to make it relevant, time it right, avoid death by survey, choose the best channel, make the individual feel heard and follow up on feedback.

Make it relevant

Customers want to know you care about their experience, not about surveying your customer base. Make sure the survey is relevant to the customer’s specific transaction. Ask only questions that fulfil your end goal: to get useful customer feedback on a specific topic.

Every question should have a defined purpose and a strong reason for being included. Adding in questions that aren’t relevant will decrease the response rate and the accuracy of the feedback.

Time it right

Get in touch with your customer as soon after the transaction as possible. Customers are more likely to provide feedback when your company is front of mind than a week later when your service is no longer relevant.

While you’re more likely to get an emotional reaction, the customer will be able to recall the experience more accurately and let you know what worked, or didn’t. You’ll also leave them feeling valued, regardless of whether it was a good experience or a bad one.

Avoid death by survey

Remember the last time you were excited about filling in a 15 minute survey? I don’t either. The survey length is a vital point for keeping abandon rates low. Death by survey happens when your questions are too long or there are too many of them.

The customer either ends up randomly answering questions, or hits the back button and doesn’t submit the survey at all.  Keep questions short and punchy. Limit the number of questions asked.

Choose the best channel

Customers will choose the channel that is most convenient for them to interact with you. It’s important to survey each customer via their preferred channel. If a customer contacts you via email, don’t send an SMS survey.

Web chat is becoming a popular channel for customer service, so if your customers use them, remember to initiate your survey  in the same manner.   

Make the individual feel heard

Starting off with “Dear valued client…” is the quickest way to tell your customers you don’t actually value them and they’re just another number on your database.

If you’re sending an email survey, address the individual by name and refer to the specific experience. If you’re surveying the service from a specific call centre agent, refer to the agent by name.

Follow up on feedback

Don’t ignore dissatisfied a customer. Providing a immediate channel for customer feedback is a start, but you need to respond before your customer takes action.

Not responding means you’ve wasted time and money spent asking for feedback in the first place. If it’s a bad experience, you may be able to sidestep a knee-jerk reaction by responding promptly and appropriately to the situation.

Andrew Cook
Andrew Cook is the founder and CEO of Smoke CCS, which focuses on helping organisations achieve great customer service. He focuses on connecting companies with their customers and using the customer feedback loop to enhance business processes for both large and small organisations.