Best Ways to Survey Customers

What are your customers thinking?

One way to find out is to actually ask your customers. By surveying consumers, your team can learn how to improve the shopping experience.

From customer service to product inventory, discover what makes your target audience excited. Their opinions do matter. And by soliciting feedback, you can transform your small business.

“A great product and excellent customer service begin with getting to know who your customers are and what they need. To get that done, you have to gather customer information, and surveys are just what the doctor ordered for that,” writes Zoe Uwem, a content marketing strategist.

Let’s explore how to survey your customers.


Role of Customer Research

Customer research equips your team with the knowledge to serve your consumers better. It’s an essential part in helping your small business grow.

When collecting information, decide what you want to learn and the best route to gather the feedback.

You want the process to be simple for the customer, but reliable enough so that your team can make business improvements.

Ross Beard, former marketing manager at Client Heartbeat, offers meaningful advice:

“It’s important to remember that a successful customer survey has high survey response rates, and accurate, actionable customer feedback. Only then will you be able to use customer surveys to make better business decisions to help increase customer satisfaction and reduce customer churn”

Consider how the research will impact the customer. Then, develop a plan to meet those goals.


How to Collect Customer Feedback

Simplicity is key when asking for customer feedback. Your buyers are busy; they don’t want to waste time with tedious surveys.

So, stick to formats more familiar to your customers. Here are four methods to get your team started:


1. Product Reviews

Most companies see product reviews as a marketing tool to lure in more customers. But they are also effective for improving your inventory.

“Reviews can also support your competitive benchmarking efforts by helping you determine what customers like or dislike about your product, service, or brand, compared to what they like or don’t like about your competitors,” writes Chris Campbell, CEO of ReviewTrackers.

Request reviews from your buyers post-purchase. Ask for their opinions on what made the product better than others on the market.

Here are a few recommended questions:

  • What did you like about this product?
  • How can we improve this product?
  • Would you recommend this product to a friend?

Amazon gives customers the chance to leave detailed messages. The ecommerce giant also has a star rating system.


Amazon Fire Tablet Review

Take advantage of product reviews. They provide a gateway to customer research.


2. Twitter Polls

Social media is the online hangout for most people. Right now, there are 2.3 billion active social media users.

If you’re seeking feedback from consumers, go where they live: Facebook, Twitter, or even Snapchat.

What makes Twitter so awesome is that people and brands can create their own polls. You can ask unique questions, and your customers can respond in less than a minute.

“Polls could be a great way to get bite-sized pieces of product feedback in a more fun, snackable way,” says Ash Read, content crafter at Buffer.

“Try to think about scenarios within your product, learnings you’re after or hypotheses you’re looking to validate that can be broken down into simple four-answer questions and put them out there as polls.”

The Oakland Raiders used polls to learn their audience’s future content preferences. The football team asked fans to select which player they wanted in their next behind-the-scenes training video. Once the votes were tallied, the franchise delivered on their promise.


Twitter Polls

Experiment with Twitter polls for your small business. It’s quick, easy, and requires no expertise to begin.


3. Email Surveys

Email is a popular channel for distributing surveys. But most of the time, they are convoluted messages that consumers just see as spam.

Businesses attempt to ask too many questions. They stuff 20 questions in one email. Then, teams seem puzzled by the lack of high response rates.

“You need to be ruthless when it comes to cutting unnecessary questions from your surveys. Every question you include should have a well-defined purpose and a strong reason for being there. Otherwise, it should be put on the chopping block,” states Gregory Ciotti, marketing at Help Scout.

To escape your email surveys woes, create a painless survey. Embed one question directly within the email.

That’s how Lyft does it. The ridesharing company asks one question that requires the customer to rate their experience on a scale from 0-10.


Email Survey

Email is a practical tool for collecting feedback. Keep your consumers engaged and stay away from frivolous questions.


4. Phone Calls

A study found “that customers who took part in a customer satisfaction survey by telephone were more loyal than those who did not take the survey.” This is an opportunity for your small business.

Despite living in a fast-paced society, people still like talking on the phone. And some of the best customer feedback comes from just picking up the phone and communicating directly with customers.

Why? Because we’re so accustomed to automated messages and hearing robots giving us information.

Select a few customers to contact today. The telephone engagement should be short, no more than three minutes. State your purpose for calling and have a conversation.

And just a reminder: specific federal, state, and local laws exist to protect consumers from receiving calls from businesses.

Some consumers are on do-not-call lists. So, reach out to your legal team before initiating a mass customer contact program.

Give your consumers some real human contact to gain their feedback.


Take Action on Your Feedback

Avoid gathering all your feedback and leaving it unused in a unnamed folder on your computer. Take action with the information you’ve received.

“Don’t stick survey results in a binder and forget about them without analysis. Share the results — including verbatim customer comments — and what these results have taught you with your entire staff,” writes Julia L. Rogers, Huffington Post contributor.

Think of customer feedback as a loop. Your team should be constantly listening and prioritizing issues based on what you’ve learned. Then, resolve the issues and adjust your product or service.

Customer Feedback Loop

If possible, follow up with dissatisfied customers. Reconnect with them to show how their suggestions contributed to new improvements. It shows consumers you take their feedback seriously.

Feedback is a valuable resource. Take action.


Ask Your Customers

To serve your target audience, you need to conduct research. And sometimes the best way is to simply ask your customers questions.

Understand the role of customer research for your business. Collect feedback by asking specific questions on product reviews.

Use Twitter polls to quickly gather information. And don’t be shy; pick up the phone and call buyers.

Learn how to serve your customers better. Survey them.

Shayla Price creates and promotes content. She lives at the intersection of digital marketing, technology, and social responsibility. Originally from Louisiana, Shayla champions access to remote work opportunities. Connect with her on Twitter at @shaylaprice.

One thought on “The Best Ways to Survey Your Small Business Customers

  1. I agree with your point “Simplicity is key when asking for customer feedback” and customers dont like to waste their time with tedious surveys. I recently participated in an online survey instantly from my mobile device which was quite simple and less time consuming . I guess it was powered by sogosurvey. Other online survey tools like survey monkey, survey gizmo also provides such features.

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