There is nothing more effective when it comes to learning about your customer base than a customer survey. For years, customer surveys have been giving customers a chance to express their opinions about the companies with which they do business with.
However, the focus of this blog post is not to prove the importance of customer surveys and the positive impact that they can have on a business. Instead, we are giving you a step-by-step guide to creating the ultimate customer survey.
1. Define your survey’s purpose
Before you go writing a list of questions that you want to ask your customers, there are first some questions that you need to ask yourself:
- What am I trying to learn?
- Why do I want to learn that?
- What will I do with that knowledge?
Many companies completely skip the above step and later wonder why their survey response rates are lowest of the low. Moreover, those few answers that you do get are so broad that the only way to categorize them is as entropic. Others mistakenly define their goal as a single objective, such as increase sales.
While increasing your sales is a goal, a good survey goal should explain what you are going to do with the collected feedback and how. By asking yourself the 3 questions above, you will not only define your survey goal but also set the first cornerstone for achieving that goal.
2. Send your customer survey to the right audience
Another reason why some companies achieve below average response rates is because they end up sending their survey to the wrong audience. It may seem obvious to send your survey to your customers, but it’s not that simple.
For example, your CRM might have several contacts for each account and clicking “select all” makes no sense. While you do business with some of them, there is a high chance that some of those contacts are people who work in administration or legal departments, and sending your survey to them probably doesn’t fit the purpose.
What’s more, depending on the survey goal which you defined back in “Step 1”, you need to segment your customers. By dividing your customers into different categories, you can deliver your key messages (and surveys) more precisely, thus better connecting with your audience and developing long lasting engagement.
3. Ask the right questions in your survey
Once you have defined your survey’s purpose and the customers that you wish to survey, it is now time to write down the actual questions you wish to ask them. Here you need to sit down and think back on what questions will get you the information you need.
Over the years of being in the business, we’ve seen many companies creating survey questions that are too long or irrelevant to the survey’s purpose. Long questions create fatigue while questions that are irrelevant often confuse the customer. So, if you still have poor response rates after carefully following the first two steps, the chances are that your questions are the culprit.
Therefore, we decided to enrich this guide with sample questions to show how every aspect of the survey, such as the phrasing used to ask the question, can influence its outcome.
The Net Promoter Score question
NPS, or Net Promoter Score, is one of the most commonly used surveys in the world, and the survey itself is based on only one question:
Considering your recent purchase experience, how likely would you be to recommend [brand] to a friend or colleague? (0 is not at all likely, 10 is extremely likely).
Your score is calculated by putting the respondents into three categories (Promoters, Neutrals, and Detractors), and subtracting the percentage of Detractors from the percentage of Promoters.
Since the survey itself is very short, we suggest empowering it by some bonus questions such as:
- What did we do really well?
- What could we do in the future that would improve our score?
Customer satisfaction questions about a product or a service
How much do you agree or disagree with the following statements about [product/service]?
- The [product/service] is exactly what I need.
- The [product/service] doesn’t work out as I thought it would.
- I am happy with my decision to buy this [product/service].
- If I could do it again, I would buy a different [product/service].
- I am not happy that I bought this [product/service].
General customer satisfaction survey questions
Have you ever contacted customer service?
If you contacted customer service, have all problems been solved to your satisfaction?
- Yes, by the company’s customer service.
- Yes, by me.
- No, the problem was not resolved.
As you can see from the above examples, we strongly advise you to mostly use questions with preselected answers. These questions result in less fatigue and have much higher response rates. While we know that this will not work for everyone, we still recommend that you try to use preselected answers since it makes it very easy for your customer to complete the survey.
You can chose from a wide variety of basic questions like multiple choice and star-rating, or advanced question types like 3D matrix, or the NPS question that you have seen above.
4. Deploy your customer survey at the right time
So, when is the right time to send a survey? Well, that’s a question that we get asked all the time. To answer it, we first need to elaborate on it with some research. Based on it, we suggest that you plan your survey for Tuesday and Thursday between 2pm and 5pm when the open rate is on its high. We strongly suggest that you don’t sent any surveys during weekends.
Still, the answer to the above question largely depends on the purpose of your survey. For customer feedback surveys, the response rates are higher and more precise when the survey is delivered within 24 hours of the customer’s interaction. If you are sending out a survey related to product or service use, give your customers a couple of days to try it out before asking them for their feedback.
Some businesses survey their customers only once a year. While this is still better than not surveying your customers at all, it still means that you are completely missing out on a great deal of opportunities to improve and grow your business.
By asking the right visitor the right set of questions, and doing it at the best possible time, you are engaging your customers in the most critical point of their customer experience, giving you a chance to increase the reliability and accuracy of their feedback, as well as showing them that you really care about their opinion.
With CX Management, you can create custom scenarios to trigger a survey for a specific audience and for a specific context, such as a number of items in a shopping cart.
5. Take immediate action after the customer survey
Some adversaries of customer surveys say that they annoy customers too much. While we completely agree that surveying your customers too often can do more harm than good, we know that the best way to annoy them is by asking them for their opinion and then doing nothing with it.
With CX Management, you can take immediate action on your survey results and improve your business. If a customer gives you a bad NPS score, you can automatically trigger an alert to their account manager so he can solve the situation before it’s too late.
Or you can set up automatic CRM enrichment for the collected leads, like BMW does with CX Management’s trigger mechanisms and CRM enrichment feature.
Here is a short summary of the 5 steps to create your survey. You will be impressed by the results you will get by following them:
1. Define your survey’s purpose
2. Send your survey to the right audience
3. Ask the right questions in your survey
4. Deploy your survey at the right time
5. Take immediate action after the survey