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5 Customer Satisfaction Survey Best Practices

Do you know what your customers think about your business, your products and services or your staff?

Have you ever asked them?

A customer satisfaction survey is a great way to find out how your customers perceive you and to gain feedback so you can improve your products and systems.

When you send a survey to your customers, you’ll gain valuable data that you can analyze and then turn into action. (tweet this) This in turn helps you increase your strengths, work on your weaknesses and grow your business.

In this article, we look at five customer satisfaction survey best practices to help you send accurate, relevant surveys to your customer base.

#1: Have One Objective

Are you already saying to yourself, “But, wait, I have so many questions to ask?” That may be. So, in that instance we’d suggest sending several surveys spaced apart during the year.

The best practice when it comes to surveys is sending one survey with one very well-crafted objective.

Sit down with your team and find out what feedback you really want.

  • Do you want to know how your customers perceive a specific product or service?
  • Are you after their perceptions of your customer service?
  • Maybe you’d like to find out what they think about a new product you have in mind.

The possibilities are endless, and you do want to make sure that the objective of your survey is something you’re actually willing to take action on.

For example, if you ask several questions about your customer service, be sure you’re willing to do what it takes to help your staff improve.

When designing your survey, narrow down your survey goal. Once you have your goal, you can compose your questions. Be sure you stick to only the questions that apply to your one survey objective.

By doing this, you keep your survey focused. You also end up with better response rates because you won’t frustrate your respondents by bouncing all over with your questions and topics.

#2: Be Succinct

Now that you’ve narrowed down your objective, it’s time to come up with the questions. Brain storm questions so you have a pool to choose from.

The best surveys are short with very specific questions.

A general rule of thumb and best practice is to keep your survey under 10 questions. Better yet, make sure your customers can complete the survey in less than five minutes.

According to one study, adults lose their focus after just eight seconds. That means you have less than 30 seconds to grab their attention, convince them to take your survey and keep them interested.

Bottom line – the shorter the survey, the better chance you’ll have for a high response rate.

#3: Don’t Double Up

Make sure that you only ask one question per question as well. Sometimes survey writers are tempted to ask two questions in one. This isn’t a good idea. Make it easy on your customers so they don’t have to think too much to answer your questions.

For example, let’s say you want to know about customer service, and you ask this question, “Did you like the service you received in the deli department and the checkout lane?”

You aren’t going to get an accurate answer for either of these because while they seem related, they aren’t.

Don’t fall into the trap of asking two things in one question. Break your questions apart so your customers are very clear what you’re asking.

In the above example, they may have had a terrible experience at the deli counter and a lovely one at your checkout lane.

When offering check-boxes, don’t forget to also give respondents the chance to answer your question by selecting other or not applicable. Then, give them a text box for their answer.

This also helps ensure you get relevant answers.

#4: Test Your Survey

As with all things marketing, it’s a best practice to test your survey. Send it to your employees, a few friends or trusted advisors.

Ask them if it makes sense. Find out how long it took each one to complete the survey. Visit with them to learn if the whole survey made sense, and if they found it interesting to complete.

If you get positive feedback, that’s great, and you’re ready to send. If not, go back and revise what you need to so you can get the most valuable, relevant data from your customer satisfaction survey.

#5: Take Action

It’s a common problem – businesses send out surveys, compile the information, analyze the results, and then it sits on someone’s desk for months.

If you want to show your customers that you care about their feedback, you must take action on your results and share it with your customers.

Tell your customers what you learned. Then, explain to them what you’re going to do as a result of their feedback.

When you follow up with your customers, you show them that you value them, their feedback and their time. You increase their loyalty with your company and show them their opinions do matter.

What’s more, they’ll be happy to complete any other surveys you send them because they’ll feel like they have a voice and a say in your company’s products and surveys. This in turn confirms their reason for doing business with you.

Final Thoughts

While it may seem hard to craft your survey, it can be even harder convincing your customers to complete your customer satisfaction survey.

Your customers are busy, and as you build your survey, there are a few things to remember for the best responses. Make sure the following is in place before you send your survey:

  • A reason for them to complete the survey should be clear. For example, they are current customers with a connection to your business.
  • They believe they’re making a difference by completing the survey.
  • The survey is incredibly easy to complete.
  • There is a reward at the end. Consider offering something like a drawing or extra loyalty points for their efforts.

Now that you have five customer satisfaction survey best practices, you’re ready to begin building your survey so you can make the best decisions about your business, increasing customer loyalty in the process.

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Image: Clem Onojeghuo

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