Customer surveys have always been a popular way of getting feedback from customers. The company Survey Monkey, which serves 99% of the Fortune 500, say that they collect 2 million responses daily. Yet not all these responses will be worthwhile.

That's the problem with surveys. So many companies fail to get the feedback they want. And in many cases, they simply end up annoying customers with constant requests.

This guide is going to teach you how to create customer surveys that really work.

Why Offering Prizes Doesn't Work

You may think that the way to get more responses to your surveys is to simply offer a discount coupon or a prize draw. This is actually one of the worst things you can do because customers will get frustrated at the length of the survey. Furthermore, they are not being genuine. All they want is the prize.

There's also no connection that shows you are really changing your business as a result of the feedback you are receiving. That's why people don't respond to surveys.

Do Surveys Still Have a Place?

With all the concerns relating to the privacy of information, many customers don't like to fill in surveys at all. These are valid fears and no amount of handwringing on your part will change this. Social media has taken the place of surveys for many companies, but this isn't necessarily the best course of action to take.

Social media is in the heat of the moment. The responses aren't necessarily given a great degree of thought, and it's rarely specific enough for you to use. Surveys are designed to help you speak to customers in detail, so you can then act for the good of your business.

Surveys should prove a vital part of your customer feedback processes.

So How Do You Produce Surveys that Work?

Look at the direction content marketing has taken. Look at how people are accessing the Internet. Think about how society as a whole is changing. People want instant gratification and they don't want to spend too much time on a single issue.

That's why video content has managed to emerge as the dominant type of content. And surveys have to follow suit.

In general, the shorter the better. Stop with the redundant questions and avoid asking for anything that involves personal information. Surveys should be as anonymous as possible while requiring as little effort from the customer as possible.

Surveys that work tend to involve only multiple choice answers, with an optional section for more detailed comments. It may mean compromising how specific the information is, but you can do more with it because more people are going to answer your surveys.

Pushing to Existing Customers

A tried-and-tested method of encouraging feedback from customers is to send them a follow-up email when they have bought something. All the big retailers do this, including Amazon. You have to straddle the line between annoying and interactive, though. First of all, only send one request for feedback. Never send more than one request because this is the fastest way to find yourself in the spam box.

Again, keep your responses short and sweet. Explain to the recipients how it benefits your business to receive feedback. Show them what it has led to in the past. There's nothing worse than a company that asks for feedback and then never acts on it.

Don't offer any form of incentive, for the reasons mentioned above. Follow this advice and you are far more likely to receive positive feedback.

Who Should You Send Surveys To?

The standard push email to anyone who purchases from you is always a great tactic, but the strike rate for actually getting someone to fill out a survey is low. Instead, you need to rely on your email list. These are the people who drive your business forward and keep it afloat.

You can ask for more detailed feedback from them because they have already fallen in love with your brand. One example of making this work is with authors. An author allows loyal fans to get an advanced copy in exchange for a review. Naturally, the readers work closely with the author, and that's what they love.

Conclusion

As you can see, you need to approach getting feedback in the right way. The biggest takeaway from this article is to keep things short and refrain from pestering people. Over an extended period of time, you will get the feedback you seek.

How will you go about getting real feedback from customers?

Published on: Feb 27, 2016