Customers are the lifeblood of your business. When they are happy, your business thrives. When customers have a terrible experience, they often do what you fear most and stop using your services in favor of one of your competitors. In fact, 89% of consumers have switched to doing business with a competitor following a poor customer experience.
One surefire way to ensure customer loyalty, repeat business, and overall satisfaction is to go to the source for advice. In other words, it’s critical to stay in touch with your target audience by asking them for feedback.
This guide will offer everything you need to know to create stellar questions, elicit honest customer feedback, and transform your research insights into actionable takeaways.
What are the different types of customer surveys?
When it comes to capturing insights from your customers, there are three standard types of customer feedback surveys. Let’s review each of them.
1. Net promoter score (NPS)
A net promoter score (NPS) survey is one of the most common types of customer feedback tools, as it is a short, sweet, and telling metric.
In an NPS survey, brands will ask customers to rate how likely (on a scale of 0-10) they are to recommend your product or services to friends or family based on their experiences.
Customers that give you a 9 or a 10 are considered promoters, and it may be wise to reach out to them to ask for a review. Customers that rate you a 7 or an 8 are considered neutral. And, customers that rate you 0-6 are considered detractors. These detractor scores indicate you may want to reach out to these customers immediately to try and resolve concerns.
2. Customer effort score (CES)
A customer effort score (CES) is a metric that measures how difficult it was for a customer to complete a task. For example, it could ask how easy it was to use a website, how easy it was to deal with your company, or how a particular interaction went.
It is ideal to send this type of survey immediately after a customer has had a significant interaction with your company.
3. Customer satisfaction (CSAT)
A customer satisfaction survey (CSAT) is a tool used to measure how happy customers are with a product or service from your company.
This is another common and effective way to elicit feedback from customers. Most questions will ask, “How would you rate your overall satisfaction with (product/service)?” Then, the results would be in the form of a Likert scale with a scale of 1-5, with 5 being “highly satisfied” and 1 being “highly unsatisfied.”
Since these results are quick to capture, customer service teams can reach out to unsatisfied customers in real-time.
When and where you should send customer surveys
You may be wondering when is the best time to send a customer feedback survey.
The answer is: it depends. It depends on what you want to measure and what type of feedback you want from your customers. Here are a few possible scenarios.
1. Send a survey right after customer purchase, use, or interaction
A good time to send a customer feedback survey is often right after a customer purchase or interaction.
Sending a customer feedback survey right after a customer interaction provides you an opportunity to capture feedback when the interaction is fresh in the customer’s mind. This means the input will be more accurate and correct to their memory.
It also provides an opportunity for your customer service team to resolve any potential problems in real-time. This could mean the difference between a lost customer and a lifetime customer.
2. Send a follow-up survey six months after use
While the ideal time to send a customer feedback survey is when your customer is thinking about your brand, that doesn’t mean it’s not wise to follow-up with your customers later.
If you are interested in learning more about who your brand advocates are, and how loyal customers are to your brand after a purchase/use of a product or service, consider sending a follow-up customer satisfaction survey within six months.
This allows enough time for your customers to use your product or services, make a decision, and provide valuable feedback.
Types of customer feedback survey questions
What types of questions should you ask in a customer feedback survey? Again, it depends on what you want to learn from your customers. Here are some of the main types of questions market researchers use in a customer feedback survey.
Product usage questions provide valuable insight into how well your customers like your products, and how often they use your products. Some common product usage questions include:
- How often do you use the product?
- What would you improve?
- What do you like most about the product or service?
Any question that helps you better understand your customers’ current or ideal experience of your product is a question worth asking.
Demographic questions are critical to ask if you’re looking to create more accurate customer profiles or segments. Demographic questions include:
- What is your age?
- What is your gender?
- Are you married?
- Are you employed?
- Where are you located?
- What is your educational background?
Any other question that tells you about who your customers are is most likely considered a demographic question.
A satisfaction scale question asks how happy a customer is with a product or service, and to rank their satisfaction levels on a scale.
These questions are simple for customers to answer and easy to quantify. Most customer feedback survey software programs will crunch the numbers for you. All you have to do is review the results.
Open-text questions are useful when you want a detailed description from your customers about something. For example, you could ask your customers to describe how they feel about your company. You could ask what could have been better about a specific interaction. You can also ask follow-up questions when customers give you low CSAT or NPS scores.
Open-text questions allow for longer, open-ended responses that provide valuable insight into how your customer feels about something related to your brand.
Longevity questions should go at the end of your survey and are a great way to gauge how willing a customer is to engage with another study in the future.
You can simply ask something like, “May we send you a follow-up survey 6 months from now?” You could also ask if they would be willing to retake the survey in the future.
If the customer says “yes,” then it can act as a trigger to send an automated follow-up in a specific amount of time.
Customer survey feedback best practices
When it comes to creating a customer feedback survey, there is a right way and a wrong way to do things. Customer feedback research is an art and a science.
Thankfully, many market researchers have already done the hard work and established some best practices. When creating a customer feedback survey, here are some essential tips to follow.
1. Make sure you choose the right customer feedback survey tool
Not every customer feedback survey tool is created equal. When selecting a feedback tool, consider something that automates processes, crunches numbers for you, integrates with email and top market research tools, and has robust reporting capabilities.
2. Make sure your branding is prominent
If a customer receives a survey and doesn’t know who it’s from, it’ll go straight to the trash. Take the time to white-label your survey with your branding, and to make it stand out.
3. Make objective explicit
Another way to lose the interest of your customers is to send a confusing survey. Let your customers know what the purpose of the survey is upfront, and be clear about it.
4. Optimize for mobile
Chances are, most of your customers use mobile devices to check their email. If you want them to answer your survey, make sure they can do it via their mobile device.
5. Personalize surveys
Personalization is everything when it comes to sending surveys. Not only does this include using your customers’ names in the survey, but it also includes matching the right service with the right experience.
6. Always ask short and relevant survey questions
It’s been said that the average person has an 8-second attention span. Keep your surveys short, sweet, and to the point.
7. Always A/B test your surveys
Take the time to A/B test your surveys. This will help you design elements, questions, and images that resonate best with your customers.
Wrap Up: Turning feedback into company improvement
Customer feedback is invaluable because it provides a way for you to align your goals with customer expectations, make things right if you have upset a customer, and gather actionable insights into how you can improve your business.
When you implement sound research practices into your business, you’ll better understand your customers, create positive customer experiences, and reach your company goals more effectively.
For more information about how to conduct customer feedback research or for a look into a tool that automates the process, visit Fuel Cycle today.