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6 Customer Survey Tips for Improved Response Rate and Quality Feedback

Updated: Feb 8, 2022

Cup of coffee sitting on top of customer journey map

How do you find out what your customers are saying about your company? The best way is to ask them! A voice of the customer (VoC) survey is the starting point for optimizing customer service for maximum return on investment (ROI).

Don’t assume you know what your customers think about your company or what is important to them. Inaccurate customer information and data will lead to incorrect assumptions. The ability to make data-driven decisions is one of the most important capabilities of any successful organization. This starts with communicating with your customers to help guide customer service, sales, and marketing strategies. Without this insight, businesses are more likely to make ineffective changes while wasting time, money, and resources.

Surveying your customers and your own customer-facing team is the best way to obtain relevant information. The methodology used for surveying is especially important. As the saying goes, “garbage in, garbage out”. Asking the right questions is crucial to getting the right information to begin your customer journey mapping, design, management, and plan. Here are 6 survey tips to get the best possible result from your effort.

1. Set goals and objectives for your surveys.

Without goals and objectives acting as a guiding star, you may not ask the questions that will yield customer information that enables you to optimize customer service for maximum ROI. Your goals and objectives should align with your company’s overall goals and objectives. This means engaging your c-suite and getting buy-in before proceeding.

2. Surveys should be kept short and relevant.

In most cases 10 to 15 questions is ideal to increase your response rate, maxing out at 25. Over-surveying is an issue with customers, so you need to ensure that the context of the survey sent is relevant to where the customer is on their customer journey with your company. Email or online surveys are the most cost effective and allow you to canvass more customers in a shorter period. If you choose email, embedding the survey into the email increases the response rate.

3. Surveys should encourage a customer to tell you what they think.

A one-way survey, structuring the questions to provide you with only the information you are looking for, limits the useful information you could get back from a customer. That is why some of the questions should be open-ended and require the customer to respond with free-flowing text instead of checking boxes. Start open-ended questions with “who”, “what”, “where”, “when”, “why” and “how”. Third party surveys work best if you want to get more candid information from your customers.

4. Acknowledge and act on survey information you receive back from your customers.

If a customer agrees to answer a survey, that means they have made a conscious decision to send your company a message. Most customers will not take the time to complete a survey, so you need to pay attention to the ones that do. Using Customer Satisfaction (CSAT), Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Effort Score (CES), and Voice of the Customer (VoC) survey data solely as a directional metric is a waste of resources, time, and money if you do not act on the data you receive back. The worst thing you can do when surveying your customers is to not acknowledge what they have told you and then not act on that information.

5. Survey responses should be used as a data source to make systemic changes within your organization that improve the customer experience.

Surveys provide valuable customer information on what your company is doing right, doing wrong and what you should be thinking about doing. Asking the right questions on a survey is the key to getting back useful customer information to help guide you in customer experience journey mapping and design, product development and customer service optimization.

6. Survey your customer-facing teams.

Happy and engaged employees often equate to happy customers. Don’t forget to ask your customer-facing teams what they think about how your customers can be better served. They know a lot about what your customers like, don’t like, and want from your company. Voice of the Employee (VoE) surveys go hand-in-hand with customer surveys to get a complete overview of what your customers and your employees are telling you about how to service customers better.

If you are interested in learning more about customer surveys or having an online customer service performance survey created and administered to your customers, please contact Bass Harbor Group LLC for a free consult by clicking on this link.


Patrick Sandefur profile picture

Patrick Sandefur is the Founder and Managing Director of Bass Harbor Group / Customer Experience Solutions. His 30+ year career in Customer Service, Sales, Marketing, Product Management and Business Development has given him a unique perspective of what customers want and expect when interacting with a brand.

Read more from Patrick Sandefur by clicking on recent posts below.


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