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Don't Be the Last to Know: The Case for Customer Surveys

surveyDo you truly know how well you’re doing with your clients and customers? Are there trouble spots or gaps in your customer support you’re not aware of? Would you like to find out what they really think? There’s only one way to get this information—ask them! A well-crafted customer survey can be a useful tool to help you discover the answers to these and many other items you may not even have known were issues for your clients.

So why ask at all?

The primary reason to ask is to head off potential problems and discover which of our ways are working and which are not. Much of the time, we never get negative feedback unless there’s an egregious error. A lot of people won’t bother; they’ll simply look elsewhere. Not only that, they’ll probably tell their friends and family about their experience with your business. They might even write an unfavorable review on Yelp or Google Local. And their report will have a lot of weight—even among folks who aren’t in their social circles. As outlined by a study by Erik Qualman of Socialnomics, nearly three-quarters of U.S. consumers say they trust the feedback provided by total strangers online! According to over 50 percent of the buying public have issues or complaints with the products and services they purchase. Doing a survey that helps you identify and correct mistakes can be the difference between keeping a client or not—and getting a good review or a bad one.

What type of survey questions work best?

Make sure you have a clear goal to your surveys, and that you present questions that require  more than ticking a box, or assigning a numerical value to your query. Avoid “Yes” or “No” questions. Let them expand on their experience and feelings. (This can end up being a great way to collect testimonials!)

How should you conduct the survey?

There are a lot of ways to perform a survey. If possible, however, choose an an online survey, which gives the person answering it a decent chance to think about and form good responses, something that likely wouldn’t happen by using a phone call or face to face encounter. When possible, include an incentive for filling out your survey. If you need help with this, consider a survey company that does the majority of the heavy lifting for you, such as SurveyMonkey.