How to Survey Your Customers to Gain Insights and Grow Your Business

Getting customer opinions and feedback can be an essential part of growing a sustainable and successful business. It’s important to touch base with your customers to get their feedback at every stage of their journey to ensure you’re meeting their needs. One way to keep your finger on the pulse? Sending out surveys.

Do you want to survey your customer but aren’t sure where to start, what questions to ask, or what platforms to use? We’ve outlined the key components needed so you can learn how to create and send a survey that will keep your customers coming back — and give you  actionable insights in the meantime.

Ask the Right Questions

If you want to use surveys to steer the direction of your business, it’s imperative that you ask the right questions.

A recent study found that 87 percent of survey-takers want to have a say in a company’s future products and services; there are plenty of people ready and willing to help you craft a more focused, customer-centric approach to growth. But how do you tap into their expertise? The key thing to keep in mind when creating your survey is less about finding out how you’re currently doing, and more about having actionable items once the survey has been completed.  

Trying to learn more about the customer experience? Ask questions about your customer’s likelihood to return to your site, their purchasing experience, or their likelihood  to refer your company to a friend or family member.

Want to learn more about product development? Consider asking your customers what products or services they would like to see you offer. Use a multiple-choice format to list items that are within your ability to produce, are commonly asked for, are similar to what a competitor offers, or that are trending in the industry. Necker juice recently sent out a customer survey asking customers to select additives they would like to see the company offer in the future. Options included trending items such as CBD and Collagen, as a way to test consumer interest.

The road to being awesome is paved with surveys ( image source )

The road to being awesome is paved with surveys (image source)

Formatting Your Questions

When you properly format your survey questions, it allows the respondent to easily read, comprehend, and provide an accurate answer.

Yes/No.

A SurveyMonkey study showed that closed-ended yes/no questions make for great starter questions because they are typically easier to evaluate and complete.

Multiple Choice

Multiple choice questions allow customers to select one or all that apply from a list of options. Want to know what items to include on your menu? List the most commonly asked for items in one question and allow another option at the bottom as a fill in the blank.

Rating Scales

If done correctly, rating scales can provide great insight into your customer’s experience and their likelihood to return or recommend your business to a friend or family member. Make sure to keep consistency with your scale (0 Not Likely - 10 Very Likely)

Fill in the Blank

Although it can be tempting to stick with multiple choice and rating scales, some of your most insightful feedback can come from open-ended questions. It’s best to keep the text box and questions short so the customer doesn’t get overwhelmed.

Keep it Short and Simple

A staggering 80 percent of customers have abandoned a survey halfway through, when you combine that with the 2% that is engaged enough to attempt to complete the survey, it doesn’t leave much for data. Retain customers by keeping your survey to under 3 minutes and consider using scannable text to keep them engaged and focused. A progress bar at the bottom of the survey can also help keep your customers engaged; if they can see how close they are to the finish line, they are more likely to stick around until they reach it.

Make it Visually Appealing

To keep the reader engaged, make your survey as visual as possible. This can be done through the use of emojis and images to drive interest. Since most survey takers are using a mobile device, you’ll want to consider using a platform that embeds the surveys and is optimized for different screen types.

You may be surprised at how many individuals are willing to help you improve your business ( image source )

You may be surprised at how many individuals are willing to help you improve your business (image source)

Choose the Perfect Platform

Once you have your questions and goals ironed out, it’s time to choose the perfect platform for your needs. Let’s take a look at your options.

SurveyMonkey

Create custom themes, add your logo, select fonts, choose from expert-written questions and even use their pre-built survey templates to quickly get you started. (Free and paid plans available)

Qualtrics

One of the top rated survey tools that is trusted by brands such as Coca-Cola Disney and Harvard University. It comes equipped with a complete styling suite with 100+ question types, embedded data, branching, display logic, quotas, email triggers, mobile and offline compatibility, randomization, and all the advanced features you’ll ever need. You can also create, test, and modify surveys instantly with no coding required.

Mail Chimp

Create simple polls or gauge subscribers opinions on a topic within your current email campaigns. Features and functionalities are limited, and coding may be required depending on your needs. (Free plans available)

Qualaroo

Qualaroo has all the nuts and bolts you could ever dream of with nearly every mentioned feature above from the competition. They also partnered with IBM because collecting user feedback is only half the battle. Once you have input from the right users, it’s time to make sense of it all. With Sentiment Analysis, you can get a snapshot of how users feel and get to work improving their experience. (Pricing starts at $199/month)

Survey Any Place

Trusted by brands such as T-Mobile, Survey Any Place makes the survey process a little more fun and interactive for the user. Imagine all the “bells and whistles”, now add a ton of glitter! Features include automatic color selection, responsive design and loads of templates that will make you a gorgeous survey in a matter of seconds. (Free)

Create Incentives

It sometimes makes sense to entice customers to take your survey: a variety of data shows that incentives can increase survey response rates by 5 to 20 percent. These incentives could be a discount, a giveaway or account credit.

Determine the Best Send Time

The best send time can be determined by diving into your current email and social media analytics to see when your audience is online, but if you want a more general rule of thumb, a recent SurveyMonkey study found the highest survey open and click-through rates occurred on Monday, Friday, and Sunday respectively.

Don’t forget to give your customers your feedback, too! ( image source )

Don’t forget to give your customers your feedback, too! (image source)

Final Tip

Surveys are about creating customer centricity and a lifetime customer by learning more about them. Let your customers know their voice matters and assure them that their voice can lead to an improved customer experience at the beginning messaging and again at the end when you thank them for their time.


Want to learn more about how to learn more about your customers in order to attract more? Check out Sarah Cho’s new Skillshare Originals class, Know Your Customers: How to Send a Survey That Drives Results.