The perfect customer feedback survey

by The Salmat Team
08 September 2016

Every business needs to incorporate customer feedback surveys into their digital marketing plan. Here are some rules to follow if you want your surveys to boost your efforts rather than harm them.

More and more businesses are including feedback surveys in some component of their online marketing. It might be a follow-up email after a marketing campaign ends, a one-question social media survey, or a short SMS – digital marketing provides businesses with an unprecedented ability to gather feedback and make changes that customers desire.

But there are many different options when it comes to carrying out a customer feedback survey, and you need to get it right. Otherwise, the survey itself could frustrate your customers and ultimately hurt your business instead of help it.

Don’t waste questions

Decide in advance what you need to know. You’re gathering valuable data and you have just one chance to get it, so ensure you ask the right questions – every question should have a purpose. If you already know your website is confusing and are planning to change it, don’t bother asking customers if it’s confusing.

Value your customers’ time

Make surveys brief and simple. Five questions is a reasonable number, using multiple choice, radio buttons, or satisfaction sliders to make it as easy as possible. For phone interviews, you can suggest they answer on a scale of one to five, or one to 10, but keep this scale consistent. Include no more than one text field. It’s harder for customers to complete and for you to analyse.

Keep the surveys alive 

You don’t need to ask all your customers every question at once. Build a living and breathing document that you add new questions to on a regular basis. Then keep your survey ongoing. It might be that one customer is asked up to 10 to 20 questions over the course of year.

But, with a properly managed CMS you'll be able to ensure the questions are dispersed over a period of time: a few in email, a couple via SMS, and maybe a handful after a phone call. You'll gather more data, without irritating your customers. 

Use clear language

It’s important to use words the customer is familiar with, not industry jargon. For example, don’t ask them about “the onboarding process”.Instead, ask if they found it “easy to sign up”. For phone surveys, clear and professional voices are mandatory.

Employ intelligent technology

If a customer is logged in or has dealt with you over the phone, you already know who they are and probably where they are. Don’t ask them to fill out all their demographic and contact details again. Not only does it take longer, but it will feel more intrusive if they have to repeat their name and address, and it may impact their willingness to answer.

To do this you'll need to have an operational CRM. You can also ensure personalisation tokens are added to your website so on-site surveys are pre-populated using autofill technology. 

Finally, promote the fact that you’ve acted on people’s answers – for example: “You asked for delivery tracking, so now we’re offering it.” This demonstrates to customers that their feedback is valuable and worthwhile, and they will be happier to provide it. For a bit of inspiration, turn to one industry where fans absolutely rule: football.

Manchester United recently took fan feedback up a notch to full-blown co-creation by getting fans to take the lead in the new build of mancity.com. Throughout several phases of design, fans helped provide feedback and direction through surveys, focus groups, and user testing. 

Looking to get closer to your customers? Learn more about Salmat’s customer experience solutions and call us on 1300 725 628.

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About the author
The Salmat Team

Salmat is a leading Australian marketing services provider. We help clients connect with their customers, week-in, week-out. Salmat's unique combination of targeted letterbox and online marketing channels enables clients to Reach, Convert and Serve their customers. We also provide a wide range of back office solutions, through our Philippines-based Managed Services business.

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