Do You Use Customer Surveys? If Not, Maybe You Should

John Krautzel
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Customer surveys have been around a while, but their efficacy is still strong. The key is to use the information you collect. Customers want to know their voices are being heard, and that companies are doing something about their concerns. To get the most out of surveys, you want to design ones that appeal to customers. After all, a survey with no responses is like a boat without water; you're not going to get anywhere.

Customer surveys have lots of benefits for your business. You can use them to find out issues that customers may have with your company so you can maintain customer loyalty. If you're doing things well, you can publish the feedback to show what customers think of your business. Surveys are also an ideal way to educate customers about new products or services and promote sales opportunities.

What Are You Trying to Learn?

Don't inundate your customers with lots of surveys. Think about the information you want to know. Are you trying to gather customer feedback about a product or service you are wanting to launch? Perhaps you've already launched the product and want feedback about how the customer is using the product. Do you want to know what customers think of your products or services? There are lots of reasons to send out surveys and solicit customer feedback, but you want to make sure you send out customer surveys for the right reasons. Gathering information just to gather information doesn't help anyone. Using the information you collect to improve a product or service or improve your company's processes is the right motivation for sending out a customer survey. Customers like to know that what they say matters. Giving your surveys a personal touch helps them feel more connected to your company and your brand.

Survey Design

The right design makes or breaks a customer survey. You want to ask questions that will give you meaningful information, and keep the number of questions to a minimum. You'll lose people's attention if you ask too many questions. It's also important that you clearly explain why you're collecting the information. Explain that not only does the survey benefit you but it benefits your customers because you're trying to better their experience.

People who fill out surveys like to see progress meters so they know how much more of the survey they have left to answer. You also want to provide a realistic time frame for the survey's length. Don't say the survey will only take 10-15 minutes when the average person takes 30-45 minutes. You may lose a customer's interest halfway through the survey, and if he thinks you aren't being honest about the survey length, he may not take the time to fill out any future surveys that you send out.

If you're not using customer surveys, you might want to rethink your strategy on how you gather feedback from your customers. If designed properly, surveys can give you valuable information about how customers interact with your company and what they think of your products or services.

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at


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