Feedback is paramount to improvement, and one of the most effective ways to collect it is through a customer satisfaction survey. Doing so doesn’t need to take a great deal of time nor cost you a small fortune. To get started right away, ask yourself these four questions.

1. When should customer satisfaction surveys be sent?

For my small business, I send out a mid-point satisfaction survey to those receiving my 3-month Strategic Communications Plan consulting package so we can gauge how they feel they are being served and to address any areas where they are not not absolutely delighted. Then, I follow it up with a final survey once their written plan has been sent to them to evaluate the project in its entirety. For my other services, it depends on the contract length and particular work involved.

A few months ago, one of my clients hosted an event. Quickly after the event was over, we sent out a short survey to collect their feedback so we could learn what went well and what didn’t and make adjustments so their next experience will be even better.

I think a general rule of thumb is to solicit feedback every time a customer purchases your product/service. Most won’t go through the effort to complete it each time, but it presents an easy way to collect input. Grocery and retail stores do this by incentivizing you to take their survey by offering one winner a $100 gift card at the bottom of receipts. My lawn care service shoots me an email to rate their service just minutes after they leave my property.

If your organization would like to collect feedback on specific generated content and a user’s experience, you’ll want to sparse these surveys out more. For example, one of my clients has run a blog for about a year and they would like to know how their subscribers are liking the articles and if there are additional topics they’d like to read about. We want to keep their audience engaged and growing, and what better way to do that than just asking them directly through a blog article?

In terms of days of the week, check out your previous email statistics. Do Tuesdays or Thursdays have higher open rates? Typically, they do. What time of the day does your audience best respond — mid-morning, afternoon, or evening? Think about past performance as you set up your campaign.


2. What questions should be asked?

No one likes taking surveys so make yours as painless as possible.

Keep it short. Don’t exceed 10 questions if possible and seek to keep it to one page so the survey taker can see how short it is and feel more inclined to take it. And my golly, make sure to include your logo and brand name on the survey so they know it’s you!

To compose your questions, first you’ll need to identify your objective — and make it clear to your surveyor responders too! Something like, “We want you to fill out our customer survey, so we can give you better customer service.”

We recently used this objective/instruction on a survey we sent out: “We’d like to collect your honest feedback on your experience with Lauren Day of GoodBuzz Solutions and your 1-on-1 marketing consultations Sept. 30 or Oct. 1, 2016 at the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation Summit. Your feedback will help us improve our process, exceed your expectations, and continue to delight.”

Now for questions, I’d recommend asking their name/contact info, if your platform doesn’t automatically trace their survey back to that individual.

Of course, your survey should be specific in nature to the customer’s experience with your particular product or service or event or content/blog. However, here are a few generic questions that seem to apply across the board:

  • Overall, how satisfied are you with X?
  • If you could tell other brands/people about your experience working/shopping with us, what would you share?
  • How could we improve your overall satisfaction?
  • What is the likelihood of you hiring/shopping with us again in the near future?
  • Do you have any additional comments you’d like to share? We want you to have the best possible experience with us! Your feedback is invaluable in this pursuit.

That last question is good for putting at the end of your survey as a catch-all place for anything more they wish to disclose.

Make sure a few of your questions include a ranking of 0-5 stars or a multiple choice with options in a drop-down menu or with a check-box: very unlikely, somewhat unlikely, likely, very likely, definitely plan to. This gives you an easy way to evaluate through categories what your average is among all survey responders.

But, you’ll also want to create a few questions that are short and long answer comment boxes to gain additional insight about the quality of their experience and so you can make adjustments, where necessary.


3. Which platforms can assist me?

You absolutely need to ensure your survey is mobile as well as computer accessible. Doing so increases your odds of customers completing it because it’s so effortless on their part.

My go-to platforms for creating a customer satisfaction survey include SurveyMonkey and Google Forms. Of course, many email clients like MailChimp, Hubspot, and Vertical Response have features to create your surveys through them, which is ideal for linking your customer profiles (and their past data) with their individualized survey responses.

After all the work of creating the client satisfaction survey, make sure to have an enticing email subject line so folks open your survey. Here’s a few ideas:

  • Lauren, we want your input. Take our 3-minute survey
  • Tell us what you think & win a $75 gift card
  • Have 2 minutes? We’d love your feedback, Lauren.

You’ll want to have an attractive email invitation requesting them to click your call-to-action button to take the survey. Be polite, short, and direct in your request. And if you have a budget, entice them with a gift card or X% off their next purchase.


4. How can I leverage the feedback?

Here are some ways to use the feedback:

  • Pinpoint areas of weakness and then improve your processes
  • Contact responders that had a less than satisfactory experience, apologize, and make it right with them
  • Use positive responses for marketing purposes
  • Generate new ideas for how to continue delighting customers

Remember to track the responses, analyze the data, and read the answers. These people have a huge impact on your success; you want them to know you hear them and modify your practices based off their feedback.

The art of listening often gets dismissed. However, its power has been crucial in streamlining my business processes and for my clients, has been key to generating new ideas and continued growth.

If you’d like GoodBuzz to help you put a customer satisfaction survey strategy in place, contact us today!

Among Austin marketing firms, GoodBuzz Solutions harnesses the best of marketing, communications, and events to empower the brands of entrepreneurs, public figures, and organizational leaders to become more visible so they can achieve their goals and be the best. Put your marketing expertise to the test by taking the free GoodBuzz Online Marketing Assessment here. The quiz will evaluate you in seven core areas with 31 questions. Your immediate marketing score will identify your strengths and show you where you can polish your strategy – all for free!

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