How to Get the Most Out of Your Customer Surveys

Updated: Mar 6, 2021

Surveying your customers or clients is an easy, yet impactful way to build loyalty by showing that you value their opinions. But customer surveys can provide tremendous value to your business in other ways as well. They can give you insights into client satisfaction, loyalty, and likelihood to refer, as well as provide ideas for future products and services, marketing campaigns, and events.

To ensure your surveys yield the biggest bang for your buck and the best possible response rate, follow the advice below.

Have a goal in mind

Making your clients feel valued by showing interest in their opinions should be the number one goal, but the subject matter should ideally serve another purpose as well. If you implement a new client onboarding survey, just getting to know about the client in order to build more rapport throughout the relationship is useful. For example, you may want to know if your client has children so you can later ask how the kids are, or know what hobbies they pursue so you can connect on topics that interest them. Knowing about clients’ hobbies is also helpful for developing future marketing content such as email campaigns and client appreciation events.

Keep it brief

You’re better off sending multiple short surveys over the course of your relationship than trying to stuff every objective into one survey. Plus, sending a survey is a great reason to reach out to clients so sending a few throughout the year helps you stay in front of them more regularly.

Keep your surveys to no more than 5 minutes to complete; ideally only 2-3 minutes for a better response rate.

Avoid using leading, double-barreled, and assumptive questions.

When designing your survey, it is critical that you ask valid questions that will yield accurate responses. A leading question encourages a particular answer so you'll end up with biased results. A double-barreled question asks about two things in one so it confuses the respondent. An assumptive question assumes something about the respondent’s behavior or opinions so it may not be relevant to the respondent.

Below are some examples of corrections for poorly worded questions.

A poorly designed and executed survey has the potential to give you skewed or misleading metrics, so take your time developing it and if possible, have someone else review it for clarity. If you're looking to implement a client satisfaction survey, you can download an effective template here. There are two versions- one that will work for most service businesses, and another for product-based businesses. These surveys can then easily be built in an online survey tool, like Surveymonkey which offers a great free version.

Set expectations

When you send your survey it’s important to let your clients know why you’re sending it and how long it will take to complete. For instance, “Since we strive to have meaningful relationships with our clients, we’d like to know more about you. This brief survey will take no more than 3 minutes to complete.”

Note: if you use Surveymonkey to build your surveys, you'll see the actual time to complete your survey as you're drafting it, so you won’t be guessing at how long it takes to complete.

To get a good response rate, be sure to ask for a reply by a certain (not too distant) date as well. One week is more than enough time to request a response by for a brief survey.

Share the results

After receiving your survey responses, let your clients know what you found out and how you plan to use the results. If there are common hobbies amongst many of your clients, plan an event that will be fun for them to attend. Heard that the majority of clients would like the option to book appointments via text? Tell them how you’re implementing that new feature.

The more that you can demonstrate how you’re using the feedback your clients provide, the more trust and respect they’ll have for your organization, and the more warm and fuzzy they'll feel about continuing to do business with you.