Manage Your BusinessCustomer ExperienceHow to properly conduct customer surveys

How to properly conduct customer surveys

Customer satisfaction is essential to the success of your business. It is important to understand what your customers are thinking, and how you can better serve them. The conventional method to understanding customer perception is to just ask them. Customer surveys have been around as long as the concept of customer service has. But how do you conduct a proper survey?

Ask the Right Questions

Customer surveys are only as valuable as the questions asked. Too many times, a business will be looking for quantifiable answers from survey questions and will ask leading A/B/C, or T/F questions to get to the presumed answers. The problem with this approach is that customers are forced to answer what the administrator of the survey wants them to answer, and not how they might answer if asked candidly.

That’s not to say that leading questions should never be asked, but the most revealing types of answers come from open-ended questions.

Instead of asking…

“How satisfied were you with your last visit to ABC Business? A – Very Satisfied, B – It was okay, C – Not at all”

Try asking…

“What did you like (or not like) about your last visit to ABC Business?”

…and allow the customer to tell you in their own words, instead of picking a canned answer. While this creates a bit of a nightmare in reviewing survey results, it will be extremely eye-opening to hear exactly what customers have to say.

Evaluate Responses

If you choose to ask open-ended questions, take the time to read through the results. It is almost a guarantee that the results will reveal something you may not have thought of. You will find some responses that are unique and you will find some that seem to follow a theme or pattern.

When a trend is identified, this is where the majority of the focus should be. When multiple customers feel the same way about an issue, it is worth your attention.

Substantiate the Responses

When evaluating surveys, it is also important to note that they are only the opinions. If you want to confirm these opinions, you must look to for the trends mentioned above. You can also corroborate opinions with actual data surrounding customer behavior, and sales. It is not uncommon for a customer to complain about a problem, only for the data to reveal that it might not actually be a problem at all.

The last thing you want is to start making changes to your business based on survey results, only to find those changes have negatively impacted your business. The point here is that customer surveys are important, but you must take the time to verify the claims with hard data.


A customer survey is not worth much on unless you take action on the feedback received. At the end of the day, your customers will appreciate that you listened to them by implementing changes to address their concerns and better serve their needs.

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