The Golden Rules of Surveying Your Customers

Like everything in the business world, consumer surveys have rules that should be followed. A good survey can be a wonderfully powerful tool to gain insight into the customer’s mind. Used at the wrong time or in the wrong way, it can quickly become a liability. Here are some rules for surveying your customers and making the most out of the insights they provide.

Rule Number One: Keep It Simple

This may sound obvious, but it’s generally an overlooked rule with surveys. It’s exciting to ask for a customer’s opinion and insight into your brand. There’s a lot of uncertainty and adrenaline that comes with asking someone’s thoughts on your business, but keeping it simple is a very important rule to surveys.

Too complex, or too long, and the customer will disengage and likely not finish the survey. That means wasted effort on your part, frustration on the part of the customer, and an overall useless exchange between consumer and provider.

A simple survey should include specific information about the customer’s experience with your brand, what they liked, what they didn’t like, and what they’d like to see changed (or unchanged).

Customer survey rules

Rule Number Two: Keep It Relevant To The Customer

A long-winded survey about the various facets of the company or brand is likely to end up in the trash folder. When you design your surveys, keep them relevant to the customer and their specific experience with your brand.

If a customer bought a product from you, you don’t want to ask them how they feel about your company’s tech support (assuming they didn’t use it.) It’s not relevant to the customer, or to what they actually purchased or used.

Rule Number Three: Ask About Their Preferences

In your surveys, you can ask things like “what three product features are most important to you?” or “which of the following would you like to see our company focus on?”. These questions make the customer feel like they’ve got a part in the growth and direction of the business. It makes the transaction feel like a relationship rather than just a card swipe or contract signing.

This adds a human element to your surveys. It says “we care about what you want, and are listening to your concerns”. Nothing says good customer service like “how can we really help you?”

Rule Number Four: Don’t Be Afraid To Ask About Your Shortcomings

If you’ve got a dissatisfied customer, chances are you’ll be hard-pressed to ask what they’re unsatisfied with. It’s discouraging to know that the brand you’ve put so much effort into was not pleasing for your customer, but know that a dissatisfied customer can provide as much insight, if not more, than a satisfied one.

There may be problems with your product’s functionality that need to be addressed, a lack of customer service in a certain area, or a general preference that was not met. It’s important to identify these gaps in your brand and to address them quickly. You don’t want other customers finding the same issues and disengaging with your brand.

When a customer walks away, send them a survey; figure out the specifics of what they were unsatisfied with, and ensure that you close the gap as soon as possible.

Rule Number Five: Offer An Incentive

Customers don’t usually want to do something for nothing. A good way to encourage your surveys are completed is to offer an incentive. This can be anything from a small coupon to enter sweepstakes or raffle drawing.

We’ve all seen those surveys at the bottoms of grocery store receipts that offer “a chance to win $5,000”. While you may not be able to offer a $5,000 prize, smaller incentives have a similar effect. A $25 gift card to a major retailer, for example, can be a great incentive and encourage your customers to fill out a survey.

Alternatively, you can offer something like a free email newsletter. This is a simple way to keep your customers informed of all that’s happening with your brand while encouraging them to complete consumer surveys.

Rule Number Six: Choose Your Survey Tools Wisely

The internet is saturated with services offering consumer surveys for free or at “extremely low prices”. The trick with these is that you get what you pay for. For example, Google consumer surveys is a free service offered by the web giant Google, but it’s a free service, meaning the customization and reach are not as effective as its competitors. There are many Google consumer survey alternatives, including Pollfish which is among the top-rated alternatives.

The platform you choose to use will greatly determine the effectiveness of your survey’s information. Identifying trends in specific demographics or in certain geographic locations can be invaluable when addressing concerns or issues with your product or brand.

Remember That Surveys Can Help Grow Your Business

The best way to grow your business is simply to listen. Your customer base comes to you for a product or service that they want, and it’s important that you consider their thoughts and opinions. If they’re not happy, they’re unlikely to return or to recommend you to family and friends. Delve into their minds with a well-placed survey, and you may find that you’ve got the exact recipe needed to create the perfect customer service atmosphere.

Just remember to keep it simple, relevant, and ask the customer about their preferences. Make them feel included in the company’s decisions, and you’ll find much greater loyalty among your customers.

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