Conduct A Customer Survey to Improve Your Business

Red question with dotHave you considered undertaking a Customer Survey to obtain information from your customers?

Do you really know what your customer really thinks of your business?

Do they purchase because they love your offer and your service or just through habit?

One of the simplest techniques of understanding customers’ needs and wants is to ask them!

Are you too fearful of what your customer might say about your business?

Why is it that businesses don’t ask more frequently what their customer thinks about their business? Is it because we are fearful of what they might say? Have a niggling concern at the back of our head, that maybe we fall down in aspects of of service offering either pre or after sales?

To obtain a true picture of how consumers feel and perceive your business then consider these tips.

Know why you are conducting a Customer Survey

You are asking people to commit their time to the task. For this reason, the process must be systematic, targeted, efficient and likely to lead to actionable outcomes. So before planning your survey, reflect on these questions:

  • Why do you need this information?
  • How will you collect the information?
  • What time-frame is required to collect the information (data))
  • What is the best survey tool to use (eg Survey Monkey etc..)
  • How will the data be collated and analysed?
  • Do I have the skills to analyse the data?
  • What will you do with the data?

Keep the Customer Survey form simple

The key to a successful response rate is to keep the customer survey forms simple, friendly and easy to use.

Limit the information you require to avoid taking up too much of your customer’s time. It is better to conduct a series of short surveys than one over-lengthy questionnaire.

Limit the questions to one A4 page if possible.

Apart from the customers name, address and phone number, basic information (If you actually need this? – you might code the survey with a number so that the customer doesn’t need to enter their personal information), you might focus upon such issues as:

  • What they love about your business
  • What they would like to see improved
  • What products/services they want that you do not offer
  • Would they(do they?) recommend your business?

Structure style of Customer Survey

Two basic approaches may be adopted in structuring your customer survey form. The easiest and quickest method for customers is the tick a box technique.

For example:

Please indicate your satisfaction with our service to you

Very Satisfied    Satisfied               Dissatisfied         Very Dissatisfied

  1. Staff attitude                               o                             o                                 o                                    o
  2. Staff knowledge                         o                             o                                 o                                    o
  3. Staff appearance                       o                             o                                 o                                    o
  4. Value for money                       o                             o                                 o                                    o


Think carefully about your questions and how they the above type of rating might be relevant /useful.

Another approach is the open-ended question format or you can have a mix of both.

For Example

  • Why do you do business with  us?
  • What would you like to see improved?
  • What products would you like to see added to our range?
  • What do you like about our packaging?
  • How do you think we could improve our packaging?
  • What do you think we do least well?
  • What specific feature did you most like about our product/service?
  • What are 3  benefits that you experience from using our  product/service?
  • Would you recommend our product/service to someone else? If so, why?

Consider how your customer survey might stand out?  And of course state why the survey is being conducted!

You value your customers business and therefore their opinions – and you are seeking to know what works well and what doesn’t –  so that you can continually look at ways to improve your service.

smileThank them for their time, and maybe consider a ‘reward’!

A % discount, or you might provide a Voucher for another service – where you share the same target market!     Therefore you strategically provide another business the opportunity to provide a voucher eg for a % discount or free….. or buy one, get one free…offer.

Provide an Incentive

Some people will love to fill in surveys others can’t be bothered.  Make sure that you put up front approx. how much time it will take to complete the survey! Others might need an incentive.  So consider offering as a token of your appreciation of their time, a prize to those who complete the questionnaire (note they are more likely to provide all of their full  contact and other details on your target market eg. Age range, salary range…..for this – which may help if your need more info in your customer database).

Or consider a % discount, or you might provide a Voucher for another service – where you share the same target market!     Therefore you strategically provide another business the opportunity to provide a voucher eg for a % discount or free….. or buy one, get one free…offer.

 Place Customer Survey boxes near business counter

If your business has a counter, or a bench area where the customer will feel comfortable to complete the survey without feeling you are looking at them, or will be able to clearly identify them as completing the survey ie they are less likely to be honest or willing to complete)….have customer survey, and pens/pencils or even a laptop available. Have a display that promotes the reward ie Incentive….for completing the survey. If you have a shop for instance, you might have some small item you can actually give to them direct, when they have completed and posted the survey into your box.

Ie a hairdresser might have a small sample of hair shampoo/conditioner, a massage business – small sample of massage lotion or oil, a café..a lovely sachet of tea, a spice shop – a small sachet of a blended spice, a clothing boutique – a small sample of static spray…..

Show and Promote Your Appreciation

Look at all suggestions and how you might be able to use social media to promote suggestions and acknowledge customers who made these – tag them in social media – which in turn raises awareness of their business!

Reply to customers and thank them for taking the time to complete the survey, and  make a response to their positive and negative comments.  Do this within a week or two of the customer completing the survey.  Prepare some standard templates, that you can modify to adapt to make it a personalized response.

The Customer Survey becomes a Marketing Strategy

The survey and then your response to your customer actually is a great opportunity to further build your relationship and therefore loyalty.  It provides opportunity for you to highlight what people have said they love about your service –which can have the effect that they are pleased that they also use your services – and how you received some great ideas on how you will be improving your service and the benefit to them!    Your correspondence/contact with them can actually generate a spike in your sales!

Don’t forget to reward them in some way….it might be an immediate reward, or an ongoing reward over a period of months.  Let them know how they are a VIP customer!

You can also use the survey response, in your blog posts, in your social media…. Xzy % of customers love your services because……

Act on the Results

You and your customer have taken time out with this customer survey  – so act –and be seen to be acting on the results of the survey.  Report on the findings – talk up the positives and address some of the negatives – yes out there in social media – and thank those for taking the time to help you to improve your business.

Feel overwhelmed and need assistance?

If you really would like to conduct a customer survey but don’t know where to start, make a time to meet with me for assistance.

Or consider engaging Uni or TAFE students


Use a professional survey company ie Noosa Boardroom or other specialist survey business.

Contact me if you are feeling isolated and struggling with growing your business, if you are needing mentoring /coaching – book me now for an initial one on meeting or via Skype!

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