Survey Tips For Vital Customer Feedback - December 22, 2017

Customer feedback is a valuable tool that can help you gain actionable insights into what really drives customer loyalty. This information is critical to creating more targeted customer offerings and making product or program adjustments.

In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share seven tips for creating effective customer surveys from marketing strategist and business author Gregory Ciotti.

1. KISS (Keep it short, stupid). Be clear and concise when constructing your questions. Look for ways to eliminate any unnecessary phrasing. Also, keep the overall length of your survey as short as possible to avoid a high abandonment rate.

2. Ask only questions that fulfill your end goal. You need to be ruthless when it comes to cutting unnecessary questions from your surveys, says Ciotti. Every question you include should have a well-defined purpose and a strong reason for being there; otherwise, take it out. For example, do you need to know a customer's name? If not, don't ask. Including questions to get information that's simply nice to have will add unnecessary length to your survey.

3. Include open-ended questions. Although it's tempting to stick with multiple choice queries and scales, some of your most insightful feedback will come from open-ended questions. These allow customers to share their real thoughts. It's best to ask brief questions first to create a sense of progress, and then give survey takers who make it to the end of the survey the opportunity to elaborate on their thoughts.

4. Make rating scales consistent. Common scales used for surveys can become cumbersome and confusing when the context begins to change. Be sure that whatever scale you use is consistent throughout the survey.

5. Avoid leading and loaded questions. Questions that lead respondents toward a certain answer are not useful. Ciotti gives an example from the online tool SurveyMonkey, which posted this question: "We have recently upgraded SurveyMonkey's features to become a first-class tool. What are your thoughts on the new site?" Instead, it would have been better to ask a neutral question such as, "What do you think of the recent SurveyMonkey upgrades?"

6. Get specific and avoid assumptions. When you create questions that assume a customer is knowledgeable about something, you're likely going to run into problems unless you are surveying a very targeted subset of people. For this reason, avoid using industry-specific acronyms and terms. Be very clear in what you are asking or referring to in order to avoid any misconceptions.

7. Timing is important. Be strategic about when you deploy your survey. According to Survey Monkey, the highest survey open and click-through rates occur on Mondays, Fridays and Sundays respectively. There was no discernible difference between the response quality gathered on weekdays versus weekends, so your best bet is to seek out survey-takers early in the week or wait for the weekend.

Surveys are not only a great tool for getting customer insights and feedback, but also for reminding your customers of the services and solutions that you deliver. Try these tips and develop a survey that will provide valuable insights for your business.

Source: Gregory Ciotti is the marketing strategist at Help Scout, the invisible email support software for small businesses. He also writes about behavioral psychology in his blog, Sparring Mind.

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