You need to capture customer feedback and input. So, one of the most logical steps is to create a customer survey. But, as you start, it’s hard to know where to focus. Should you ask about experience, engagement, or retention? What questions will give you the answers and data you need?

While your goal should be to create a survey experience that matches your brand voice, sharp focus on four core steps can help you better understand, react to, and improve customer satisfaction. The end result will be positive change for your business.

Ask the right questions

To understand your customers’ experiences, you must ask about or observe them. This breaks down into two parts: deciding what to ask and when to ask it. Depending on the nature of your business, survey customers about their experience immediately after a transaction, or at regular intervals, (e.g., quarterly). Generally speaking, you want your customer to provide feedback as soon as possible after your interaction with them.

Your survey should include several core elements: 

  • Overall satisfaction ratings: This single score measures each customer’s overall experience. This could include questions related to overall satisfaction, likelihood to return or repurchase, and/or likelihood to recommend your company to a friend, which is also called the Net Promoter Score (NPS). For example: 

How satisfied are you with your FocusVision experience?

  • Performance ratings in specific areas:Use the survey to investigate key areas of the product or service experience, and find out what’s really important to customers, as well as areas for improvement. For example:

How would you rate your FocusVision experience in the following areas? (1: Not at all satisfied, through 5: Completely satisfied)           

1)    Courtesy

2)    Knowledge/Expertise

3)    Quality

4)    Timeliness 

  • Usage/demographics:Key behavioral and demographic data can be used for profiling purposes. This allows you to build more tactical customer segments. To gather this information, include questions that help to differentiate feedback from:

1)    Customers in different regions, or different types of businesses (business size, industry, etc.)

2)    New vs. existing customers.


For example: How long have you been using Decipher from FocusVision? 

1)    Less than 6 months

2)    6 months to a year

3)    1-3 years

4)    More than 3 years

  • Open-ended questions: These questions let customers express themselves and provide a deeper level of feedback. Use them sparingly, however, so as not to wear down your respondents. Two to four well-thought-out questions are enough to keep people engaged.

In general, keep your surveys as short as possible, and give your customers an idea of how long the survey should take to complete when inviting them to join in. Also, be sure to give them an opportunity to opt-in or opt-out of follow-up feedback from you.

KPI tracking

The customer satisfaction rating data you will gather from your survey will serve as key performance indicators (KPIs), which should be monitored on an ongoing basis. KPIs should be shared with members of your team and other key stakeholders.

When selecting a survey technology solution, look for one with strong, built-in reporting capabilities that let you build dashboards and scorecards. These will ensure consistent reporting, as well as help you share results easily and spot trends. Once your KPI dataset is robust enough, you can use it to understand the strongest drivers of satisfaction in your business. This information can then help you prioritize changes needed to improve the customer experience. 

Closing the loop

Once customers give feedback, how do you act on it? Sometimes, businesses need to close the feedback loop. This is especially significant when a customer complaint needs to be resolved. 

A common method is to send an email response when a dissatisfied customer comes through the survey (assuming the customer has consented to email contact--something you can build into your survey language). This allows you to contact the customer directly to learn more about and address their complaint. You can create general templates for such responses, but be sure to allow for personalization. Your customer has taken the time to share their thoughts with you, and an implied “form letter” rarely makes someone feel as if they’ve been heard

Polishing the process

With every customer complete or support team follow-up, you will be building a database of issues. While some patterns may be obvious or require follow-up, your customers will always manage to surprise you in the ways they use your product or service. As patterns begin to emerge, you’ll learn which product or service changes may be necessary to best serve your customers.

A successful customer satisfaction program involves more than just running a survey. It’s also a way to connect with the people you do business with. Customers always appreciate knowing there’s someone available to listen when they have something to say. Every personal interaction with a customer informs their experience, as well as yours, and serves as a chance to build stronger rapport and loyalty. In the end, you aren’t just collecting information; you are gathering insights through conversations with the people you value most.

If you’re looking for an easy, yet innovative survey and reporting solution to handle everything from customer satisfaction programs to more complex studies, check out Decipher. Insights teams from around the world have used Decipher to get to the heart of customer experiences and drive their brands forward.




Published on: Oct 15, 2018