How To Make Your Customer Surveys More Effective

Customer surveys are a very quick, very easy way to gather customer feedback on a variety of things related to your business and product.

Here are a few nuggets I’ve learned over the years that can help you make your customer surveys more effective.

Keep It Simple

Don’t ask more than 3 or 4 questions at a time.  Your customers are busy and — despite the allure of an Amazon Gift Card or the eager assurance that “you value their feedback” — they actually don’t get much value from completing your survey.

Recognize this and keep the questions fast and easy.

Use Net Promoter

Net Promoter is actually the best way to keep your survey simple.  Many companies now use Net Promoter as the sole question in their quarterly customer surveys, which I think has pros and cons.  Either way, I think that NPS is a no-brainer question to ask your customers each quarter.

By focusing on a single question, you can more easily understand and act on the feedback.  Asking too many questions complicates the process for your customers and complicates the wrap-up process for you.  Too many questions invariably means that you’ll end up with a lot of data that you won’t use to make decisions.

NPS also gives you the benefit of turning your survey into a lead generation effort.  For anyone that answers 8, 9, or 10 to “How likely are you to recommend our product to your friends or colleagues?”, the next obvious step is a phone call or email that directly asks for recommendations to friends and colleagues.

Lastly, NPS is a customer-centric number that your entire company can understand.  Sales, Marketing, Product, Support, etc. all play a role in customer happiness.  By communicating customer happiness in a single number, you can more easily drive your team to work together to improve the number.

Make Sure Your Data Has Context

Do the work to ensure that you understand the broader picture of the customers that are completing the survey. Are they paying customers of free trials?  Do they use Product A or Product B?  What is their job title?  You get the idea.

A clear picture of the customer demographic will help you understand how different customer and market segments are finding value in your product.  An average NPS of 8 is good.  But an average NPS of 10 from segment A and an average NPS of 6 from segment B is much more actionable.

I’ve made the mistake of blindly surveying too many times in the past and have had to clean up this data after the fact, which is an enormously painful process.

Those are my nuggets of wisdom — anything that you think I should add to the list?

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