3 min read |  Posted Sep 1, 2015

How to Create a Useful Customer Survey


Though it may sound simple, the easiest way to gather customer feedback is to just ask.

If you are thinking about surveying your customers after a transaction or other action, here are some tips to make sure you are gathering useful and actionable data.

1. Focus the survey

Before you begin writing questions for the survey, get clear on what the problem is that needs to be solved.

If, for example, you are planning an event and attendance had been down in the prior year, you may want to survey guests to find out why the event didn’t perform well.

Questions about what topics might be better attended, venue selection or time of year would all be relevant questions to help get the answers you need.

Because attention spans are short, try not to include questions that don’t directly lead you to the answer you are seeking.

Sure, it might be nice to know if the attendee liked the invitation or if they would prefer Pepsi over Coke, but neither of those details are likely to lead you to the larger answer of why attendance was down and what you can do to bring it back up.

2. Craft your questions

Using simple, straight forward language on your questions will ensure that users will understand the question the first time they read it.

Try to avoid questions with too many variables.

Asking about the “food and atmosphere at the venue” will leave you wondering which feature (food or atmosphere) respondents had in mind when they responded.

Redundant questions can frustrate a user, as can answers that seem too similar.

3. Determine the target for your survey

Sending a post-transaction survey to someone who has never done business with you will confuse them, skew results if they take it and decrease the overall value of the survey.

Writing questions tailored to your target audience will increase the response rate of your survey and result in more valuable data.

4. Test before you send

Before you send your survey off to the recipients, comb through it for spelling and grammatical errors, potential offensive language or statements, logic errors, or anything that may confuse a user.

Have multiple people take a look at it to make sure the test is crystal clear and free of errors.

5. Increase open rates

Email remains the primary channel for distributing surveys which means that increasing the open rate is paramount for the sender.

Optimizing your subject line is one way to help increase your open rate.

The subject line should let people know that feedback is requested and why it might behoove them to take the survey.

For someone who feels strongly one way or another, the subject line “Your feedback can make a difference” might be just what it takes to get them to open the survey and click through to take it.

6. Share the results

Many times respondents will take a survey and never hear another word about it.

In order to let the users know that their voice has been heard, share the survey results with them.

Many people will be interested to hear what feedback you received that lead you to make changes to your company, products or process.



Following these 6 tips for a better survey will help you collect actionable data that can help you gain insight in to how your customers perceive you and your company.

Getting customer feedback is an underutilized marketing tool that could help you unearth:

  • product or customer service flaws,
  • areas of excellence and,
  • fantastic verbiage for marketing materials.

It can be scary to open yourself and your business up to unfiltered reviews; however, the learning that comes from this feedback can be invaluable.


Randy Monroe