“Surveys can be the most dangerous research tool. If you write bad survey questions you get bad data at scale with no chance of recovery.” – Erika Hall
When it comes to asking questions to your customers you may want to ask them a lot of questions. They won’t complain of course they just won’t do your survey, and you lose out on valuable data. They have the power to just walk away, or close the browser.
Why run Customer surveys
A customer survey is vital for any company to keep moving forward and growing. It allows the company or organization to have a finger on the pulse of their users so to speak. Customers are a vital part of any business model and not understanding what and how they think and feel is not good business practice. Every customer survey has its own purpose and with it, its own questions. Questions may vary from survey to survey, however, there are key questions that are crucial to always ask. These questions will uncover very useful information that can help drive your business forward. The higher quality of questions you ask the better quality of answers you will get, plus keeping your survey short and sweet will ensure that you have a higher percentage of your audience giving you feedback.
“Nobody in the history of the world has ever complained that a satisfaction survey was too short. They don’t even complain when they’re too long, they just give up and move on.”
Having great survey questions will not just give you better data, but they also affect the company’s reputation. Your survey design and your survey questions will either enhance your brand or turn people away.
Top survey questions to ask
1) How likely is it that you would recommend our product/service to a friend or colleague? (Scale of 0-10)
This question is based on the Net Promoter Score method and immediately gives you a snapshot of what your customers think about your brand. It measures your customer’s experience with you and your product or service. There is a lot of research relating to the fact if someone is going to promote your product or service then they are ready to get behind it. This is a great indication of your brand. Once you have this metric it is a great practice to dig deeper to understand the reasoning behind your customer’s choice. Either by giving them a call or by simply asking to follow-up questions.
2) What is one thing we should never stop doing?
This question will open up your eyes to what your customers value most about your business. It provides great qualitative data to build on your quantitative data of website analytics, purchases, etc. These answers are a great way to cross-check what you feel your business is doing well compared to what your customers believe you are doing well.
3) What problem does our product /service solve for you?
Are you solving the problems for your customers that you thought you would? This question will help give more input for your marketing team to refine the marketing messages for your various activities.
4) How did you first hear about us?
You can tell a lot from your website analytics about where your customers are coming from. Finding out where they first heard about you though is something that it cannot tell you. This information can shed light on how your new customers find out about you and from which channel. Be it a recommendation, an ad, a social media post, or something else entirely. With this information, you can see which channels are working more than others to drive your brand.
5) Tomorrow if product “x” no longer exists how would that impact you?
Where ‘x’ product is the product or service you would like to gain feedback from. This gives you a great insight into how much your customer relies on your product or service. Ideally, you want to have at least 50% of your customer base who cannot do without your product. If you are not up to this level then this is a great indication for you to look at your customer experience. What are you offering that they cannot get anywhere else? What are you doing to keep them invested and coming back to you? How can you drive this forward more?
How to ask your question?
When it comes to organizing the questions for your customer survey a good tip is to review how your questions are structured. Are you asking one question at a time or mixing a few questions together? We can get carried away with asking questions that we end up asking four things at once. For example: “How did you find our product? What result have you gotten by using our product? How do you feel about our product? Would you recommend our product to a friend?”
It is overwhelming for the survey respondent when faced with all these questions at once. Imagine yourself facing a feedback survey with all these questions at once. I don’t know about you, but I would close the survey and not complete it. Now imagine your customer facing the same thing, they can answer any one of the questions or even worse close the survey and never look at it again. This doesn’t work out very well for you at all.
This is why it is always best to ask one question at a time, you will get more valid results and your customer will be more likely to complete the survey. Win-win!
Updated Nov 2022. The article was written in 2017.
Not too sure on which survey platform to send out your customer surveys, give Ungapped Surveys a go for free!