10 Tips to Help Create A Customer Survey Online To Guarantee Results

Do you ask your customers for feedback regularly? When was the last time you surveyed them? Here are 10 Tips to Help Create a Customer Survey Online To Guarantee Results.

A customer survey can be really invaluable to your business and can unlock potential future business. Running an online survey can also engage your customers / readers and collect useful data quickly. Over the last 8 years we have run annual surveys for Mykidstime as well as surveys on behalf of other companies and here are some of our tips to help you get results.

#1. Go Online

Online surveys are really the best format nowadays.

With easy access via their smartphone and devices, people are spending more time online. And using an online format also allows you to collect your data and see results more easily.

If you only have postal addresses for customers or work from a premises, send or give a postcard to your customers with the link to your survey and ask them to take the survey online.

Tip: There are lots of free and easy to use online survey tools e.g. Survey Monkey

#2. Think Carefully About What Your Customer Survey Should Achieve

To create a good survey, you need to consider carefully what you want the survey to achieve. What answers will be most valuable to your business at this time?

One survey will not and should not be used to try and ascertain information about your whole business. So pick an area that you want to concentrate on and ask about that.

A mistake that we all too often see is a survey that is trying to find out too much; short and concise is always better.

Tip: Create a list of the questions you would love to ask, then be ruthless and cut them back to the ones that will give you the best answer for your brief.

#3. How Long Should the Customer Survey Be?

Taking a SurveyThe longer the survey in our experience, the less people complete it. It is important at the beginning to tell your readers how long the survey is going to take.

  • Keep the survey itself brief – decide in advance what you want to know and only ask questions relating to this topic.
  • Try and keep it to a minimum while still getting the data you want. We have found that between 10-15 questions gets the best responses overall. Longer surveys get less responses and take longer to compile as well.
  • Ensure your questions are concise – find the shortest way to ask the question without losing the meaning.

Tip: If you don’t need their name, age or address then don’t ask for it!

#4. Structure Your Customer Survey Carefully

Start with simple questions, with some multiple choice or yes / no questions and move onto open ended questions. This eases the respondent into the survey and makes it quicker to complete to start with meaning they will be more likely to give you longer answers towards the end.

If you are using a scale e.g. 1 is the least / not at all likely / very dissatisfied to 5 being the best / extremely likely / very satisfied, stick with that format throughout the survey.

With scale questions you could also add a comment box underneath for improvement ideas on how to get you to 5.

Each question should only about one thing.

If you ask a Yes/No question consider offering a Maybe if relevant as sometimes forcing people to answer Yes or No gives misleading results. Consider adding a comment box to find out “If No, why?”.

Try to avoid asking leading questions if you want to get an honest response.

Never use acronyms or assume your readers will give you specific answers, ask for them.

Tip: Don’t be afraid of generating negative responses, these will help you to improve your offering!

#5. Data Only or Grow Mailing List?

Deciding on this key factor will also frame your survey:

  • Data only? You may get more answers if you choose keep the survey anonymous and only want to get an insight into improving an aspect of your business.
  • Data & Grow Mailing List? The information collected could form the basis of a new mailing list and help you to move online to target your customers more effectively.

Tip: If you decide to ask for contact details, ensure you always have an opt in explaining you wish to retain customer details and link to clear Data Protection details on your website.

#6. How Will You Get Answers?

ChampagneResearch has shown that offering an incentive will get you a better response rate. Your customers / readers are busy people so may need an incentive to answer. This does not need to be an expensive vacation, sometimes small things get the best responses like vouchers or a bottle of champagne!

Consider asking if they want to be entered into a draw to win a prize when they complete the survey. Or give a discount / coupon for your product or service (have an end date for its use!). Make sure you add this into the budget for your survey.

Tip: Ask permission to retain their details and have a link to your Data Protection page on your website.

#7. When to Send Your Survey

Time your survey to suit your audience. Monday mornings seem to get the best response rate according to industry data.

But for parents, in our experience, Friday or Sunday work well too.

Tip: Posting your survey out on social media in the evenings is a good time for parents after kids have gone to bed!

#8. Analyse the Answers & Use The Data

Analyse DataMake sure to analyse your data once the survey is finished.

Whether you want to report it to your customers to show that you have made use of their responses or use it to show staff so that you can improve your offering, keep and refer to the survey often.These are the people who will be buying your product or service into the future so you need to keep them happy.

Tip: Let your customers know what improvements you have made by sending them a ‘Thanks for taking our survey, we value your feedback and have listened and this is how we have improved’ email afterwards.

#9. Retain the Questions

Keep your questions so that you can repeat the survey at a future date.

That way you will be able to compare the answers and get a more accurate picture of how your business is improving.

Tip: Keep everything, questions and results, on a shared drive or document for easy access in the future

#10. Suggested Email Wording to Send Customer Survey

Here’s a draft email to help you out:

Dear (Name) or Customer, if anonymous

Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to improve our service to you. We would be grateful if you could take a few moments to complete our short survey about the service you have received to date.

We appreciate your business and want to ensure we always meet your expectations.

As a token of our gratitude for your help, please find attached a discount voucher / coupon or we will enter you into a draw to win….

We take data protection seriously and will only use your details with your permission. (link to data protection page)

Sincerely (Name).

Over to you now. What’s your experience of surveying your customers online? Tell us in the comments below.

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Michelle is a Mum to 2 girls and co-founded Mykidstime.