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By asking them, of course. This simple concept forms the bulk of any customer satisfaction survey. It’s how businesses learn about their customers, what their likes and dislikes are and other useful information.

There are many challenges to consider when creating a survey. Many weeks can be spent preparing, even before the initial questions have been written up! This is because large enterprises invest a lot of time and money into these surveys. So it’s important they get a significant return on their investment.

This return is in the form of:

  • Information that can help your company achieve their business goals.
  • Ideas that are actionable and lead to improvements in your company structure, product or service.
    • Insight into how your brand can be extended into new and exciting avenues.
    • Information that’s relevant to the satisfaction of your customers. And how your business can continue to satisfy those needs.

These are just some of the many results businesses look for when deciding to conduct a customer satisfaction survey. So how do we achieve these goals?

The planning stages

In order to ask the right questions, you need to know the purpose of your survey. There may be numerous reasons why your company wants to conduct one. The key to understanding the motives behind your survey is getting information from the right people.

Some people you may wish to consult, include:

Managers or CEO’s

Managers or CEO’s

Managers or CEO’s – Any business leader in your company will outline the general vision of your survey. They should have a clear understanding of the problems they’re currently facing and what they want to know from your customers.

Whether your survey is trying to gather feedback from a new or already existing product/service – your company leader will advise you on what goals need to be achieved.

Product or Service Experts

Product or service experts

Product or Service Experts – Also known as ‘frontline experts,’ these are the people who understand the ins-and-outs of your product or service. Besides from gathering useful technical data, you’ll be able to learn about any issues customers are currently facing, or what they like about the existing product or service.

Ask what drives customer satisfaction and how they get to those points. Is it through good customer service? Does the existing product or service solve all the problems it promises to achieve?

IT Experts

IT experts

Any research or IT department should have invaluable data about your existing customers. Gather as much information as you can, including demographics, consumer behaviour, trends and much more.

This information will help you ask questions that are relevant to your target market or existing customer-base. After receiving results from your survey, you can then compare the data with your in-house data.

Understand your customer journey

By mapping out the individual stages your customers go through when engaging with your business – you can start to make sense of each process. This visual representation outlines the phases people go through to engage with your brand.

By going through this process and using any data you currently have, you can analyse each stage and question the efficiency of each one. If you notice a lacking response through a particular channel, you can address this in your survey to find out WHY people aren’t engaging with this approach.

Of course, if you don’t already have information about the distribution channels your customers are using, you can use this opportunity to find out in your survey.

Establish your goals in a survey framework

Now that you know what your survey is aiming to achieve, you can establish these goals in an easy-to-understand framework. While your company may have a diverse range of objectives to achieve, they should include some of the following aspects:

  • Key performance indicators to measure the extent of your customer’s satisfaction
  • An outline of the major distribution channels where your survey will be sent (social media, industry publication, email marketing etc).
  • Sampling guidelines
  • Information about what drives customer satisfaction

Create your questions

With the amount of information you have, you should have a good idea regarding the kinds of questions you wish to ask.

Some useful guidelines to consider include:

  1. Start with questions that are interesting to your customers.
  2. Avoid jumping straight into questions that directly satisfy your business goals. Participants may feel the survey doesn’t consider their best interests and will drop out early.
  3. Leave the most difficult or longest questions until the end. People who have reached the near the end of your survey will most likely be willing to invest the extra time into it.
  4. Keep questions that follow a similar topic grouped together.
  5. Include your most important questions relatively early in the survey. Even if a participant leaves a survey incomplete, you’ll still access to the answers they provided.

Test your survey

After you have written your survey questions and established a suitable layout – be sure to test your before distribution. Share it with people within your company and make any necessary adjustments based on the feedback you receive.

Some of the most common issues with survey drafts include: being too long, poor question format, and overly-biased questions.

Review the results

Once your survey has been distributed and you’ve received the right number of results, it’s time to review your findings.

This process will most likely be a collaborative effort between many departments. Consult the key stakeholders of your company and share your findings with them. It may take several weeks to review everything and correlate the data with your company’s. own database.

After the reviewing process, you should have new information that satisfies the objectives set out during the preparation process.

Frequently asked questions

What are Some Tips to Increasing Survey Response Rates?

Keep your survey to a reasonable length. Try to avoid making it longer than using your actual product or service itself.
Make sure to indicate the approximate time it will take to complete your survey. This will give participants a chance to decide if they wish to proceed with or not.
Keep your questions relevant to the customer experience. Questions that deviate from your customer or business-orientated goals will result in useless data.

How Often Should you Survey your Customers?

There are no rules to how often you should survey your customers. If your survey is being sent during a particular time throughout your customer journey, (ie. After using your product or service, sent to subscribers of your company newsletter etc) decide when that should be.
Automated systems can help you avoid sending too many surveys to your customers. You can even establish limits to your survey triggers, until you’ve reached a satisfactory number of responses.

What are Some Useful KPI’s or Metrics?

Always focus on your business goals when creating a survey. By asking questions that are measurable against your KPI’s, you can easily analyse your findings, and take action to improve your product or service.

Øyvind's avatar
Øyvind Forsbak
As CTO and co-founder of Orient Software, Øyvind Forsbak oversees all of our organization’s technical matters. Since Orient Software's founding in 2005, Øyvind has guided the company's choices of technology to become a world class developer in .NET and modern JavaScript frameworks.
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