How to Create an Effective Customer Satisfaction Survey

Customer Service Survey

Productivity Tips

Customer Service SurveyBy Guest Author

The Backstory: Why Customer Satisfaction Surveys Are Important to Your Business…

Customer satisfaction surveys give you the ability to collect useful feedback straight from your existing customer base and gain insight into what their needs are.  This information is imperative in order to develop ideas and strategies on how to add more value to their overall experience and further improve your future offerings.

Believe it or not, your existing customer base is an extremely important bunch!  Research shows that loyal, repeat customers are 5-9 percent more likely to purchase than a new customer.  Additionally, they spend more, cost less to service and are pivotal in helping to spread the word about their positive shopping experiences; particularly in the social media-centric world we live in!

Feedback Time: Creating Your Survey:

Step 1:  Find an online survey tool that satisfies your needs. 

With a multitude of services out there this shouldn’t be too hard.  Key items to consider when choosing a survey service:

  • The tool should be completely anonymous and have a privacy policy that ensures respondents’ information will not be shared with anyone.  Customers will be more likely to answer honestly if they are made aware of this.  Be sure to make this clear in a text line at the top of your survey or within the email text that you use to distribute your survey.
  • The tool should have a feature to customize your survey design to match your branding.  The more professional your survey looks, the more likely customers are to respond.
  • If cost is important to you, choose a service that offers unlimited questions and responses for free.  Always read the fine print.  Some services out there will say they have a free option, but if you exceed 10 questions or a certain number of responses, you will be required to upgrade to a paid subscription.
  • For more experienced researchers, see if the tool offers you advanced options such as skip logic, question, answer piping and advanced reporting options that allow you to use filters.

Step 2:  Set up your survey.

When starting to set up your survey, be sure to make it as easy as possible for customers to respond to your questions.  Multiple choice question types are by far the easiest to answer.  Set up questions where customers only have to choose one answer from a scale such as:

  • Extremely satisfied
  • Slightly satisfied
  • Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
  • Slightly dissatisfied
  • Extremely dissatisfied

Try to limit the number of questions to 10, if possible.  If this is not possible, be sure to split your survey into 2 (or more) pages.

Identify what you’d like to learn from your customers.  Below are 5 strong examples of questions that most businesses should include when setting up a customer satisfaction survey:

  • Gauge the customer’s experience shopping/working with your organization.  Ask questions like:
    • “How seamless has your experience with our organization been?”
  • Find out how you are performing vs. your competitors.  Ask questions like:
    • “How does our product compare to our competitors’?”
  • Inquire about pricing. Ask questions like:
    • “Do you feel our price is in line with the product or services that we provide?”
  • Find out how effective your customer service has been.  Ask questions like:
    • “How satisfied are you with how we’ve handled your customer service requests?”
  • Ask how the customer feels about your brand, overall.  Ask questions like:
    • “Overall, do you like our company?”

Feel free to add an additional “non-required” question asking the customer if they have any other comments or feedback on how to improve upon your offerings. This can only help you!

Step 3:  Distribute Your Survey, Collect Responses & Optimize Your Business.

The most effective way to distribute your survey is by directly emailing it from your business email address.  Offer respondents an incentive such as the chance to win an AMEX gift card in order to increase response rate.  Give customers around 2 weeks to respond. If you haven’t collected enough responses after 2 weeks, re-send to your email list.

Export results to identify where the problems may lie. Did over 50% of respondents answer that they were slightly dissatisfied with your customer service?  This is a red flag but one that is easy to fix.

OK – now you’re on your own!  Identify all red flags and start brainstorming and planning solutions on how to fix them.  When you have executed these plans, inform customers that you’ve made improvements by announcing them via email and social media.

Good luck! Hopefully you will find online surveys a useful tool to use in your quarterly or yearly business plan!

About the Author:

Jill is an established entrepreneur and Marketing Strategist at the newly re-launched online survey tool startup SurveyAct, based on Long Island, NY. When she is not strategizing and executing marketing plans, she is enjoying vegetarian food, playing tennis or writing poetry. Feel free to contact her at [email protected] with any questions regarding online surveys, marketing or whatever fits your fancy!