Get useful feedback: the keys to a good survey

It’s trendy: to survey your customers. I do not know about you, but as far as I’m concerned, there is not a week going on without being asked my opinion. Whether it’s a link on grocery or hardware store receipt, an email from a car rental company, a hotel, my employer, my nursery or a call from my insurer, everyone wants to know what I thought of the services or products they offered me. If the intention is good, the questions are sometimes irrelevant. Even worse, I feel my answers get lost in the meanders of the organization. So how to make a good survey? In this article, I review some of the winning practices for your customers, being effective for them and for you.

What is a good survey?

A good survey is one that will be useful to your customers. In responding, the survey must address their problems and improve your products or services. A survey that gives the impression to the customer, it is sent to meet your business imperatives, is a bad survey.
With the amount of surveys your customers receive, as well as the various demands of everyday life, they have little time for you. So you need to make sure that the client will spend little time answering your survey, and that the time it spends adding value.

Reduce the number of questions

Begin by reducing the number of questions. If the NPS (Net Promoter Score) suggests a single question with its comment field, the “ultimate” question is often combined with others, which reduces its power. For each question you ask your customers, you should ask yourself:

  • What will I do with this answer?
  • How can I better understand this answer?
  • What am I going to change, based on the answers to this question?

Each question should put you in action. So, if some questions bring answers for which you can not do anything, then it is non-value added. In the same way, all the things you already know, on which you have already made a decision or you do not have control on, should not be surveyed.

A survey is not used to confirm your information or to legitimize you. It is not, either, a way to make your customers think that they decide, while it is not the case.

Manage expectations

Finally, this is not the time to create expectations, and let your customers think that you will – perhaps – act, while this is not the case. If you need arguments to change things, providing your customers feedback will not necessarily convince your management to change its business strategy. In any case, all customers agree to find your products or services too expensive …

Use a user-friendly tool

Many survey tools exist on the web, use them wisely. Choose how the survey will be answered: check box, radio button, matrix. Think about the different devices used to answer: computer, phone. Leave room in the text fields to receive comments. Balance the number of pages compared to vertical scrolling: a closing page to thank your customers, it’s perfect. On the other hand, if it includes the button to submit, it is non-value added.

Every question asked to your customers should put you in action. Think about what you will do before using the precious time of your clients.

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