How to Survey Your Customers

One of the keys to success in business is to know what your customers want, so you can deliver it.  But unless you’ve perfected your Vulcan mind meld skills, the chances are good you could use a bit of help figuring out just what it is that your customers want. What’s the easiest way to do that?  Ask them!

How to Survey Your Customers, Step by Step

1) Figure Out Your Goals

What are your goals in surveying customers?  If you’re a crafter or seamstress, you might be focused on finding out which products and sizes are most popular, which seasons people are interested in different items, or what other items customers might like.  If you’re a coach or consultant, you might want feedback on a new program you’re considering – ask customers about the content, title, and format before you put all that time into creating it and you’ll get better results.

2) Create Your Survey

Here are three tools you can use to create your own online survey (you just type in your questions, choose the type of answers, then at the end it gives you a page you can link to):

What should you ask?  Here are some tips to help you decide what to include and what not to include in your customer survey.

Privacy: Keep in mind that the more personal information you ask for, the fewer responses you’ll get.  You may want to consider anonymous responses to allow customers to share honestly.

Time: The longer the survey, the fewer people who will finish it.  Keep it short and sweet so customers can zip through it quickly.

Comments: Be sure to include a form to allow comments/questions/miscellaneous feedback.  Someone might have some great idea or suggestion for you that doesn’t fit in an answer to your questions but they’ll share it if you add a box for “Any Other Comments or Great Ideas You’d Like to Share?”

Free Gift: To promote responses you may also consider offering a free gift to those who respond.  It could be an ebook or special report, or a coupon for a future purchase.  If you decide to give out a free gift make sure that it’s either accessible from the last page of the survey, or that you collect email addresses during the survey so you can send out the gift.

3) Share It and Collect Responses

Once you’ve created your survey, share it.  If you want only responses from those who’ve already purchased from you, send it out to your customer list.  If you want a wider range of responses, post on your website, your blog, social networks, etc.

4) Evaluate the Feedback

Keep in mind that you don’t need or want to radically re-design your product or website based on just one response to your survey.  Watch for overall patterns and trends in the responses.  If 25% or 50% of your responses have the same suggestion, then it’s worth taking time to consider.

You may also find the responses helpful in generating ideas for articles, newsletters, blog posts, and more!

Now, get out there and collect some feedback to help your business move in the right direction!

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21 Comments

  1. good advice as always!
    .-= Karen’s last blog ..A new customer, two orders, kind words and pics! =-.

  2. […] you’d like a step by step guide to help you setup a survey, here’s a blog post I wrote with tips. You may also like these possibly related posts on the same topic (this is computer generated so […]

  3. *I am such a geek* You mentioned mind melds in today’s post so I had to see when you mentioned them :) haha I never thought about the free gift aspect, because my survey responses have been rather abysmal. Will have to implement that.
    MJ Schrader recently posted… Internet Security and Free AntiVirus ProgramsMy Profile

    1. I see a much higher response rate when I offer a gift. :)

      And too funny about mind melds… lol

  4. This is great information. I will definetly do this as a marketing tool for my business.

    1. Thanks for the comment, and glad it was helpful.

  5. Thanks for this information, Michelle
    I’ve been thinking of doing this and now that I see that it isn’t that hard, I think I will. Sometimes we just need a boost from someone who has “gone before.”
    Jeannette Koczela recently posted… Do you have a Peak-Performance PartnerMy Profile

    1. Sometimes just a little push in the right direction is helpful. :)

  6. I just love the posts that take me by the hand and give me clear instructions–plus remind me why I need to follow the instructions! Thanks so much.
    Judy Stone-Goldman recently posted… How Prewrites Can Help You Start Writing When You Don’t Know How To Get StartedMy Profile

  7. Thanks for the pointers, Michelle, as this is another valuable tool that many of us do not take advantage of and that includes me. I appreciate the tip about keeping the survey short. Many times I willingly start completing a survey and the pages go on forever and I end up aborting the process. Thank you.
    Yvonne A Jones recently posted… The Value of Relationship Marketing and Customer Retention in Your FunnelMy Profile

    1. I’ve done that too. It’s easy as the survey writer to think up great questions… keeping it short can be a challenge but gets much better results.

  8. I’ll second that motion from Yvonne about long surveys. If I’m asked to take one that’s longer than two pages, I’m gone! And I really don’t like the ones with graphs and charts and lengthy tables. They remind me of being in a classroom and having to take a test. :)

    Very helpful tips and resources!
    Melanie
    #blogboost
    Melanie Kissell recently posted… What’s Your Online PersonaMy Profile

    1. I hadn’t thought of it that way, but that could explain a lot! :) Most of us don’t have fond memories of tests. Don’t want to make our survey takers feel like they’re back in school and being tested. Good example!

  9. Great post. This will come in very handy. It’s never a bad thing to learn from your clients.
    Dennis Salvatier recently posted… Can Design Tell a StoryMy Profile

    1. Exactly. :) Best lessons come from our clients.

  10. Once again, thank you.

  11. I would expect gifts to be a considerable factor!
    Beth recently posted… Remembering That October 5th Is My BirthdayMy Profile

  12. Michelle: I love he idea of a survey – I just completed one for one of my clients. The results were quite interesting. Now I guess I should conduct a survey for my self. thanks for the reminder.

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