The Savvy Marketer’s Guide to Customer Surveys
How you deliver your customer surveys will impact results and the insight you’ll gain from those who spend their time with your product will prove invaluable.
Your customers and target market are full of information and feedback that can help you improve your product. Instead of guessing what they’re thinking, why not ask? Next time you find yourself wondering how people feel about your product or what they wish you would add to it, create a customer survey and find out.
In this article, I’ll share the key pieces to getting started with customer surveys for your organization, including:
- Why customer surveys are important,
- How to create a survey,
- Types of customer surveys to consider.
Whether your product or service is new or well-established, it’s vital to stop guessing about who your audience is and get actual data in your hands. By creating a survey to gather details on your customers or readers, you can compile data that directly impacts your brand strategy.
Surveys are a fantastic way to hear directly from the people who use your product outside of the more frequent interactions you may have with them through customer support conversations. Click To Tweet
Customer surveys help you collect information like:
- The demographics — age, sex, location, interests, etc. — of your audience.
- What they like about your current offerings.
- What kinds of changes or upgrades they may be interested in.
- The problems they have with your product or service.
- Ideas they want to share with you.
You might have a general idea about how they feel through your usual interactions with them, but a survey can take that understanding to the next level. Use the information you already know to craft the questions you’ll ask as you take a closer look. The data you collect here will help you better serve your customers, decide what to do next, and develop your customer-centric marketing plan.
How to Create an Effective Survey
Crafting a successful survey isn’t as simple as it may seem at first. You’ll need to figure out what the point of it is, find the right audience, and develop the questions. As you create your survey, be careful not to inject bias or add leading questions into the mix, as you want to encourage the respondents to share their honest answers.
Keep the following guidelines in mind as you develop a survey:
Define your survey goals
Before you write your first question, establish the goals of your customer surveys. Aim for a concrete collection of information, rather than an aimless batch of questions that may confuse people.
Survey goals will depend on your specific needs at the time, but may include:
- collecting demographic details from your audience,
- assessing interest for a feature you’re considering, or
- requesting feedback on a recent update.
Try to keep your survey’s goals limited in scope. Avoid packing one survey with lots of requests, and instead, plan to do more than one survey if needed.
Know Your Participants
Before sending out your survey to every single contact you’ve got, consider who will really be able to contribute the information you need. For example, if your product includes free and paid options and you’re wondering why some people haven’t ever paid to upgrade, ask them! But don’t ask the people who have paid. Narrow the audience to the correct scope.
Beyond asking the right people in relation to how they interact with your business, consider their personal details too. A person’s age, education, location, and more will impact their answers.
You may not use this information to remove people from your survey participants list, but should consider the data you collect through the lens of the people providing the information.
Craft Your Survey Carefully
From the questions you ask, to how you present it to your participants, creating your survey for maximum replies and understanding is essential. Write your survey to be welcoming and friendly, and avoid using jargon that may be difficult for some people to understand.
When you distribute your survey, make sure the language asking people to participate — whether it’s an email subject line or a request in a blog post — is clear and inviting.
Keep it Short and Simple
Be sure to keep your survey short by only adding the information you truly need to include. Don’t ask questions you already know the answer to (hint: if you’re emailing the survey to them, you already have their email address, and likely their account information too!). If you ask too much time of people, many won’t make it to the end. Furthermore, for multiple choice questions, limit the number of answers to just a few.
By adding several answer options, you’re more likely to paralyze a survey taker with indecision and cause them to give up. People are busy and have so many other ways to fill their time, so use it wisely. However, if you can, include some questions with text boxes for survey takers to fill in as they’d like.
Open-ended questions can help you identify data points you may not have even thought to include and also give your users a chance to provide their real, honest feedback.
Find the Right Survey Tool
How you deliver your survey will impact results, so be sure to develop a plan that will help you get the data you need. Gathering feedback from your audience can be as simple as sending them a link to a Google Form you’ve created for free or a more in-house option like adding one-click feedback surveys onto your website or asking questions right in an app as people use it.
To find the best tool for your survey, consider budget, what your team can implement, and how you want the survey presented to your customers.
Types of Customer Surveys
Once you’ve decided to create a survey, next you’ll need to figure out how to deliver it. As you roll out your customer surveys, you may find a combination of a few types to be the best way to obtain a well-rounded set of responses. Consider the following survey options as you get started:
A marketing survey meant for all or any segment of your customers or readers can be crafted and shared across platforms for maximum participation. For more targeted results, consider segmenting your audience and surveying a group with questions you’ve written specifically for them.
Use surveys to measure brand awareness, analyze your target market, gain insights into your product or a feature you’re thinking of adding, and to understand your current users better.
If people are already visiting your website, why not ask them for some quick feedback occasionally? By adding a survey directly onto your site, you’ll get it in front of the right people and make it easier for people to share their insight, since they don’t have to click a link and go elsewhere to do it.
If your product or service includes a mobile app, why not survey the users there too? A person who regularly uses your app may have key insight, and may also not use the desktop or web version, so their feedback will be app-specific. I’ve mentioned the importance of providing customer support in your mobile app before, and think customer surveys should be no different.
The people using your mobile app are a specific type of user with plenty of data to share, if only you ask. An app survey may include questions asking how often they use the app, their favorite feature, what they think could be improved, or what one addition to the app would result in them using it even more often.
Plus, by keeping the survey in the app, you’re likely to see higher participation, and you’ll also be keeping the users in the app right where you want them.
If you run a blog, you probably want to hear from your readers. A survey to ask them about your blog may include questions on where they read it, how often they visit, or which content they like best.
Example of blog survey from Nicereply
Once you’ve created the survey, share it with your readers by sending it to those who are subscribed to your blog, linking to it directly on the blog, and sharing the survey link in other areas your readers follow you, like Facebook or Twitter.
Survey for Success
Customer surveys are a fantastic way to hear directly from the people who use your product outside of the more frequent interactions you may have with them through customer support conversations.
Example of NPS survey (you can create a survey that will match your branding and attract your customers).
People who use your product are guaranteed to have opinions on it, so every day that passes where you’re unaware of those is one more day you’re just guessing about how they feel. If you’ve recently added a new feature to your product or are wondering how customers feel about things in general, start developing a survey today.
The insight you’ll gain from those who spend their time with your product will prove invaluable.
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About the Author
Sarah is a freelance writer specializing in technology and customer support for Supported Content, and former Happiness Engineer at Automattic. When she’s not renovating her house in Dallas, you’ll find her baking in her (new) kitchen or reading romance novels. Find her on Instagram: @sarahblackstock.