Growth Customer Experience Productivity Business IQ Trends Success Stories Tech Solutions Awards Business Tools Subscribe Tech Enquiry
Morris Kaplan
Smarter Writer

Morris Kaplan is a former finance and venture capitalist who writes for entrepreneurs and professional services firms

Morris Kaplan
Smarter Writer

Morris Kaplan is a former finance and venture capitalist who writes for entrepreneurs and professional services firms

How to extract the feedback you need to grow your business.

We all get them and many loathe them, yet surveys have a role and are probably under-valued by many business owners. The fact is surveys can benefit your business as well as your current customers and, indeed, your potential customers. If you or your business belongs to an association or industry group, chances are you get the benefits of surveys in terms of benchmarking and other useful outcomes. And that’s good for the industry as a whole through usable information that might otherwise be lost.

feedback cartoon

Survey satisfaction

The obvious and indeed crucial role of a survey for a business is the ability to track and measure customer satisfaction (or, in many cases dissatisfaction). Sites such as Yelp, TripAdviser or Eatability deliver continuous reviews of establishment to their owners but a more analytical approach is needed.

The attraction of the survey methodology is that customer surveys offer business the opportunity to choose which information it seeks beyond the narrow, albeit important, review site route. Thinking of a new product? For sure you can test the market by releasing the product, but a survey can find out customers' needs succinctly and could play a part in the future direction for your business.

Customers might not take the time to send an email or go to a review site, but they may however welcome an opportunity to air their grievances via a survey. They might for example be fed up with your slow-loading website or pre-recorded customer service feature. If you are thinking of creating a survey here are a few things you should know.

4 tips for building an effective customer survey strategy

1. Create a reason

You need to motivate a positive response – best done by telling a story about the new product or service. For example, talk about how your latest product, service, or policy was developed in response to a previously unhappy customer who expressed disappointment.

2. Present it as a customer service study

Be authentic: you want to do better, so make it clear the survey is intended to improve service to all customers.

3. Questionnaire design is critical

Asking open-ended questions is detrimental for surveys. The questionnaire design needs easy to track answers. Decide what you want to know from customers and develop a set of questions to suit.

4. Best Time to Survey

Sooner rather later after a purchase. Surveys are best when they follow up soon after a service or product purchase. After all, you want customers to be able to recall the interactions they had with your business with sufficient clarity that they'll be able to give you information you can use.

Verdict

Customer surveys can be an excellent way to change products, services, or policies by presenting decision-makers with data, not presumptive guesses, to use in projections. Above all, surveys open the floodgates to communication that fosters goodwill and builds a foundation for loyalty. But in an era of multi-tasking, overflowing email inboxes and lengthening social media ‘to-do’ lists, there is an over-riding consideration: keep it short. As I write this I see one landing in my inbox saying “This one will take just 4.5 minutes to complete – we promise!” They could also have said, “In appreciation of your time we will give you a $20 gift voucher to use at Amazon.”

Woman stressed at desk
Tech Solutions
Tech Solutions
When your tech fails

Technology is so important to a modern small business that even the smallest IT glitch can have enormous consequences. But there are ways to minimise – and even avoid – the dam...

e-commerce_sales
Customer Experience
Customer Experience
Four ways to prepare your business for e-commerce sales

Customers love finding bargains online – no surprises there. But in recent years, digital sales events such as Click Frenzy, Black Friday and Cyber Monday have had a real impac...

Avoid phishing threats
Tech Solutions
Tech Solutions
How to identify, avoid and recover from a phishing attack

Getting snagged by a phishing scam is never pleasant. It usually involves a cybercriminal using emails, texts, social media or phone calls to lure someone into handing over sen...

Diagram of Virtual Private Network
Business IQ
Business IQ
What is a VPN and do you need one?

If regular news of high-profile cyber-attacks across the world teaches us anything, it’s that every business, regardless of size, needs to take its security more seriously. T...