Customer Service

How to Conduct Customer Surveys

By Rieva Lesonsky

What do your customers want? According to a study from Walker, by 2020 customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. Plus, a study by McKinsey shows companies focused on providing a superior experience realize a 10 to 15 percent increase in revenue and a 20 percent increase in customer satisfaction. Sounds great, but what exactly is a great “customer experience” and how can you improve the experiences of your customers?

Actually, most customers are happy to tell you what they think of your business and are just waiting to be asked. If the customer experience is not up to par, and you don’t ask—you might be too to salvage the relationship. With unhappy customers taking to online review sites and social media to share their thoughts, your reputation could already be at risk. Show you care about your customers’ opinions by conducting a customer survey. Here’s how:

  1. Be casual: If you’re not ready to create a “formal” survey, make it a point to talk to your customers when they call or leave your office. Ask “Is there anything else I can help you with?” or “Do you have any more questions I can answer?” Then add, “Let me know how the service (or product) works out for you.” If you have employees, create a short script for everyone to follow. You should also follow up with clients and conduct a short survey over the phone to ask how the experience felt to them and if they have any suggestions for improvement. Clients usually don’t have a lot of time to talk, so keep it short.
  2. Be social: Another casual, yet effective way to find out how you’re doing is to reach out on social media. Post or tweet questions or polls, or ask customers what they think in order to get a discussion going. Look for social media survey apps to use on the platforms that your customers use. You can also use social media to drive customers to more detailed online surveys that you create for your website.
  3. Be sophisticated: Adding an online survey to your website is easier than ever, with some companies offering tools to help you develop online surveys. SurveyMonkey, Snap Surveys and SurveyGizmo are three online sites that provide easy-to-use templates, data collection, benchmarking and analysis tools. Try several free trials to determine which tools best fit your needs.
  4. Be old school: Sometimes, handing your customer a quick comment card or paper survey can do the trick just as well as an online survey. Or the paper version could be a scaled down version of your online survey. The more responses you receive, no matter how you get them, the better it will be for your business decision making. You can also add an incentive by offering a coupon for their next purchase or service if they bring in the completed survey card.

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