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How to Optimize Customer Surveys for the Best Results

Chris Christoff
Chris Christoff

Here are four ways you can create better customer surveys.

When you're running a business, the most crucial aspect to pay attention to is your customer base, or your audience. After all, they are the ones who are keeping your business afloat, by purchasing your product and spreading the word about your business to their friends and acquaintances.

But what's the most effective way to find out what your customers want from your products? What if you'd like to know more about what your customers think of your brand? How can you be sure to get an authentic, accurate response to ensure you're doing everything you can to reach your goals and improve your overall conversion rate?

If you have yet to create and send out customer surveys, you're missing out on an opportunity to dig deeper into the psyche of your audience so you can better cater to their needs and interests. Or perhaps you have sent out surveys but didn't get the response rate you were hoping for, or the answers you received didn't give you any actionable insights. If this is the case, it's time to re-evaluate your surveys and learn how to optimize them.

Why create customer surveys?

There are several reasons why you might want to send out a survey to your customers. Perhaps you feel like you don't yet have enough information about what they want to optimize your conversion strategy so that you have a happy audience that's loyal to your brand. For instance, the health brand Kinobody was able to use a survey to help visitors discover the best program for themselves, helping it convert 47% to 73% of visitors into segmented leads.

Also, customer surveys provide business owners with insights they wouldn't have had if they had not sought out this feedback. Maybe you wish to learn how you can improve your products. You're more able and willing to make rational, informed decisions based on what real customers have told you. A survey could help you understand what changes would help your product better suit your customers' needs and bring them greater value.

Maybe you want to know what issues your customers are having with your business or customer service. It's valuable to know what your customers honestly think so you know what direction your business is headed in and what issues you need to fix. Whatever areas you may be lacking in, it's always good to be well informed so you can move forward effectively.

Finally, surveys improve customer retention rates because they show your brand cares about their opinions and that you're willing to make changes to different facets of your business based on consumer feedback.

Here are four steps to optimize your customer surveys.

1. Decide on your goals for your survey.

What exactly are you hoping to find out through your survey? Whether you're trying to measure customer satisfaction or get feedback on a new product, it's essential to lay out the goals you have for your survey prior to sending it out. This will help you optimize your overall marketing strategy to deliver the best results, such as increased user engagement and more traffic to your website.

These are some questions you should ask yourself when creating your goals for your survey:

  • What areas of my business need improvement?
  • What are some common complaints I get about my business?
  • How satisfied is my audience with my brand?
  • What am I hoping to find out?
  • If there's an issue, is it easy for my customers to get in touch with my business?
  • What kind of customer service experience is my business giving its customers?

Once you've mapped out your goals, you'll be able to craft questions relevant to them so you can improve your overall business strategy.

2. Optimize your survey for mobile devices.

Your business can't get away with ignoring mobile as a means to connect with users. Between 2016 and 2017, the time spent on websites from mobile devices grew from 40% to 49%, and that number continues to grow. Consumers are also using mobile devices more frequently to access their email. The email platform Litmus found that in 2018, 46% of emails were opened on mobile devices.

Make sure your survey is easy to access and navigate using multiple mobile devices. It's usually best to use a single-column layout so users can see both the question and the answers laid out in front of them for quick decision-making. It also provides the easiest reading experience.

Though not nearly as popular as emailed surveys, you could also experiment with SMS surveys, which are questions sent as text messages to your audience's mobile phones. It's a fast and easy way to get in touch with people invested in your brand and can be a useful way to garner feedback and honest opinions. It's important not to bombard people with these texts, however, as this could cause frustration and lead them to unsubscribe from your email list.

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3. Keep your survey short.

While it would be ideal to get as much information from your audience as possible, it simply isn't feasible. To get the best response rate possible, keep your surveys short and simple. Your customers lead busy lives and have short attention spans; many of them aren't willing to fill out a long, drawn-out survey, no matter how loyal they are to your brand. SurveyMonkey found that the longer a survey is, the less time respondents spend answering the questions.

When crafting your questions, keep your goals and objectives in mind. Narrow your questions down to what you absolutely must know, and either leave the rest for another survey or chuck them in the bin. Also, before including a question, consider whether your customers will be comfortable or willing to provide the information you're requesting from them.

4. Ask just a few open-ended questions.

You'll want to keep your open-ended questions to a minimum, since users, especially on mobile, are less likely to spend time answering them. However, these types of questions are still important for a number of reasons:

  • They can provide detailed insight into something you may not have known about previously.
  • They allow users to divulge as much or as little information as they'd like.
  • They can teach you how to craft better questions in the future to line up with your objectives.

It's important to split up your questions, specifically the ones that leave room for written answers so that your audience answers every single one as adequately as they need to. Bunching up open-ended questions lessens the chances of each one getting the attention it needs, so you want to space them out with easy-to-answer multiple choice or yes/no questions.

Over to you.

Surveys can help you improve your conversion strategy. They're the best way to garner honest criticism and feedback from your audience, which gives you the information you need to analyze how you run your business and what you can do differently to improve your customers' satisfaction with your product and experience with your business.

You can create effective surveys by determining your goals for your survey beforehand, optimizing the survey for mobile users, keeping your survey short and simple, and including just a few open-ended questions so your audience can leave their own personalized messages about what can be executed better.

Image Credit: Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock
Chris Christoff
Chris Christoff Member
Co-Founder of MonsterInsights, the leading WordPress plugin for Google Analytics.