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5 Keys for Creating an Effective Customer Survey

By: SmallBizClub

 

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Many companies stray away from putting time and resources into creating customer surveys because they figure that they will get minimal feedback and major resistance from customers. While many customer surveys flop, and produce little information, this isn’t true of all surveys. With a little creativity and a lot of preparation, you can make surveys more appealing to your customers. Take a look at the essentials for putting together a customer survey that will actually drive results.

 
Do Your Homework
 
When creating a survey, start with the end in mind. What is it you want to know? What do you need feedback on? Once you have the end result in mind, you’ll know where to start your research in order to craft the best questions. Different informational goals require completely different types of data. By spending the time to study what will be most effective, you are more likely to get what you are looking for. If your questions are generic and random, you won’t have much information to work with at the end of the survey. But, if your questions are well-researched and have a sense of direction, you’ll be able to apply the feedback and make improvements when the time comes.
 
Make a Mock Up
 
Yet another background step to the successful survey is coming up with a test. Distribute this to your marketing team and get as much feedback as possible. Your goal with this is to verify the questions are simple, they all are related to the information you are gathering and that no question asks for more than one piece of information. It’s always best to give a mock survey to a diverse group of people before actually releasing it to customers. Not only will you be able to clarify any confusing questions, but you’ll also be able to add new questions, fix any spelling or grammar errors, and throw out ineffective questions.
 
Incentivize It
 
To get more people to take the survey, offer some form of incentive. This could be a coupon, a chance to win a drawing, or maybe even a free sample of one of your products. Whatever it is, keep it simple. The last thing you want is to have to ship out gifts to every single person that filled out the survey. Instead, see if there isn’t a way to automate it.
 
 
Just be sure that if you offer a reward, you are clear about what it is, and how the customer gets it. All too often, companies will use a shady approach by offering a prize to those who fill out a survey, and then tell the customer that they merely qualify for a drawing, or have to sign up for something. Be clear about the terms of the reward to ensure that you incentivize customers rather than making them upset.
 
Prioritize the Questions
 
It is a well-known fact that people remember the first and last items on a list far better than they do those in the middle. It is also widely known that an engaging opening keeps people hooked. Since individuals love to talk about themselves, gear the first questions toward asking them about what they think, eventually tapering into far more generalized questions. You must be very strategic about how you place the questions in order to keep the customer interested, rather than making them feel like they are filling out a boring form.
 
Read All Comments
 
Provided there is a “comments” section at the end—read everything. Chances are the survey will have incited some ideas that had no place in the other questions. It’s in these spaces where customers become their most honest and most helpful. Do not ignore what they took the time to write. You want to make sure that you don’t skip over the positive responses, either. While complaints can give you ideas for improvements, the positive comments will also give you a good idea of what you are doing right, and should keep doing.
 
Effective surveys take time, planning and strategy to implement correctly. Know what you want and how to ask for it, and you’ll be able to fill in any informational gaps you have with little difficulty.
 
Author: This article was written by Dixie Somers, a freelance writer who loves to write for business, finance, and women’s interests. She lives in Arizona with her husband and three beautiful daughters. Dixie got advice for this article from the professionals of Solutionreach, who specialize in patient surveys for medical clinics.
Published: April 2, 2015
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