What are Customer Surveys and How to Write them? (+ Examples & Best Practices)

Most businesses are willing to go above and beyond to improve customer experience. This usually causes them to fill their customers’ inboxes with satisfaction surveys and post those surveys on their website, social media profiles, and other places. 

Unfortunately, in most cases, this annoys customers.

But surveys are only annoying if the company that sends them out doesn’t know how to write them properly. Effective customer surveys never cause boredom or resentment, and people are usually happy to provide their feedback when presented with good customer survey questions.

So what are customer surveys exactly and how can you write the perfect one? Keep reading to find out.

What Are Customer Surveys?

A good customer survey definition would be a source of information that companies use to gauge their customers’ satisfaction levels, or to hear their opinions and expectations. Customer surveys have been the key source of vital business information for years.

By asking the right questions, marketers can gather real-time insights and measure satisfaction levels, which helps them create strategies for improvement.

Back in the day, surveys were conducted by using paper questionnaires and customer interviews, but nowadays there are better and more efficient methods – such as online surveys.

Do Customer Surveys Actually Work? Why Is It Important to Have Them?

Validating important business decisions can only be done by backing them up with honest opinions and feedback given by customers. The opinions your customers share also impact their lifecycle, increasing the probability of customer retention and high levels of customer satisfaction.

The main reason why a customer survey is important is that it helps you see if your customers are satisfied or not, as well as what you need to do to ensure they are. When you take all customer survey benefits into consideration, you see that the biggest one is learning about your customers’ wants and needs.

The simple answer to the question if customer surveys are important is an absolute yes, but do they actually work? Only if you know what to ask and find the right balance.

Nobody wants a feedback survey to frustrate their customers. But the only way to avoid this is to find the balance between asking the right questions and sending out the right number of surveys. If you don’t, you’ll only overwhelm your customers and frustrate them. And this definitely won’t get you anywhere.

How to Write Customer Surveys

Now that we know what customer surveys are and why they’re so important, let’s discuss how to write a customer survey. 

What are good customer survey questions?

So what are the customer feedback questions you should ask

Here are some examples:

  • Product Usage How long have you been using our product?; What features do you consider most valuable?; How often do you use our product?
  • DemographicsHow old are you?; Where are you located?; What is your employment status?
  • Psychographics – What device do you use when shopping?; How many hours per day do you spend on X social platform?; Is sustainability an important factor when you’re buying a product?
  • Satisfaction Scale – How satisfied are you with your experience?; How likely are you to recommend us to others?; How likely are you to purchase from us again?
  • Open-Text – In your own words, describe how you feel about our product/company; What can we do to improve your experience?; Do you have any additional comments?
  • Longevity Can we contact you to follow up on your feedback?; Can we send you additional resources?

Best Practices for Creating Effective Customer Surveys

If you want to make sure you’re collecting feedback the right way you need to follow customer surveys best practices such as:

  • Using the right survey feedback tool that will allow you to ask multiple different types of questions
  • Asking short questions that won’t take too much time to answer
  • Sending your surveys at the right time for each stage of the customer journey
  • A/B testing each of your surveys to make sure you have the perfect number of questions, that they’re in the right order, and that you’re using the perfect wording
  • Only asking questions that are relevant to the survey and the demographic taking it
  • Personalizing your surveys based on the customer information you have
  • Picking the right channels to distribute your surveys

Aside from the best practices, you also need to be aware of some of the customer satisfaction survey mistakes you should avoid at all costs:

  • Not knowing what kind of research you want to do
  • Not marking personal questions as optional
  • Not offering an incentive or reward to those who fill out the survey

Types of Customer Surveys + Examples

When answering the question What are customer surveys? it’s also important to talk about the different types of surveys:

  • Net Promoter Score (NPS) Survey – Measures customer loyalty by asking how likely a customer is to recommend your product/business to someone, usually on a scale from one to ten.
  • Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) Survey – Measures customer satisfaction with the product/service you’re offering.
  • Post-purchase Survey – Offers feedback on the specific experience a customer has after purchasing your product/service and measures how satisfied the customer is with their transaction.
  • Product or Service Development Survey – Sent before launching a new product and measures how likely customers are to buy that new product or use the new service.
  • Usability Survey – Also known as the user experience survey, it measures how easy it is for your customers to use your website and measures the website’s UX.

All of these surveys are very important for each stage of the customer journey and crucial to your decision-making process. If you want to learn how to create them, take a look at these customer survey examples for a start.

Summary

When making important business decisions, you need to focus on what your customers want and need, not what you think they want. By using customer surveys, you’re ensuring your customers have a voice and by asking the right questions in the right way, you’re ensuring they actually respond.