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What Is a Customer Survey?

Customer surveys can provide vital information about your target audience. Learn more about customer satisfaction surveys here.

A great way to get an idea of how your customers view your brand is by sending out customer surveys. A business makes products or delivers services specifically for its customers, so you need a way to gain insight into their thoughts and feelings. It’s imperative to know how your customers feel about your brand so you can determine what you’re doing right and what needs to be changed, which can be accomplished with customer surveys.

To optimize your customer satisfaction and improve sales for your business, it’s imperative to send out customer surveys. A customer survey is important so that you can assess customer satisfaction, perform market research, and measure customer engagement. Every business needs some way to gauge how their customers feel about them, and sending out a customer satisfaction survey is an easy yet effective way to do so.

Continue reading this article to learn more about why customer surveys are important, the elements that make up an effective customer survey, the different types of customer survey questions, and more.

What are customer surveys?

A customer survey is a method that a business can use to collect consumer feedback. The ultimate goal of a customer service survey is to assess how satisfied your customers are with your business. Rather than talking to your customers one-on-one, which can be time-consuming and overwhelming for both parties, sending out customer surveys is a more effective way of gauging your customer’s feelings.

There are many reasons why companies use surveys for customer satisfaction. It’s a way for them to get honest feedback about both the good and bad aspects of your brand. Identifying what your customers don’t like about your brand is just as important, if not more important, than identifying what your customers do like about your brand. And sending customer surveys is a great way to hear your customers’ unbiased reviews.

Surveys are also less invasive and overwhelming than one-on-one interactions. Customers can answer anonymously and from the comfort of their own homes, so they’ll likely feel more comfortable sharing their honest feelings. Companies will also send out customer surveys as a way to engage with their customers so that they can feel valued and cared for.

As a business owner, it’s important to know how to get customer reviews so you can get the necessary feedback you need for your business, and a customer satisfaction survey is a great way to get just that.

Why are customer surveys important?

A business operates solely for its clients, so understanding their feelings about your business is crucial. There are several reasons why customer surveys are important for businesses, such as:

  • Improve products or services: A customer survey is a great way to gain insight into how your customers feel about your products or services so that you can make any necessary improvements. When you can pinpoint exactly what your customers are dissatisfied with, you can actively make the moves to fix them. That way, you can tailor your products or services to your customers’ needs, which can increase the likelihood of them purchasing from you again. When designing a customer survey, make sure to include product-specific questions to gather the feedback you need.
  • Engage with customers: A successful business is one that puts in the effort to connect with its customers, which you can do with customer surveys. Connecting with customers is imperative for all businesses because connected customers are more likely to become repeat customers. Sending out customer surveys lets your customers know that you care about them and want to hear what they have to say, which will help them feel more emotionally connected to your brand. This also makes them more likely to recommend your brand to their peers and colleagues.
  • Make informed decisions: Another benefit of customer surveys is that they can help you make more informed decisions based on data, which are imperative for the success of your business. Customer surveys tell you what changes need to be made and what should be kept the same about your products or services so that you can make better choices moving forward and allow your business to reach its fullest potential.
  • Boost customer loyalty: Loyal customers lead to growth, and one way to boost your customer loyalty is with customer surveys. When a business has a high customer retention rate, that means they’re doing something right. Sending out customer service surveys can help boost customer loyalty because it indicates that you’re focused on creating the best possible products or services for your customers. In addition to customer surveys, there are various other customer retention strategies that you can use to increase customer loyalty, such as keeping in touch with your customers, resolving issues quickly, and delivering great service.
  • Collect customer data: Customer surveys are also just a good way to collect customer data and gather demographic information about your target audience. Make sure to include a few demographic questions in your survey, like age, gender, education, and employment status. Knowing this information can also help you make better marketing decisions because you’ll have a better understanding of your target audience.
  • Track progress: You should always be tracking your business’s progress, which is why you should continuously send out customer surveys so you can gauge how your business is performing over time. Tracking your progress makes it easier to identify obstacles and ways to overcome them, as well as your goals and what you need to do to achieve them.

Elements of an effective customer survey

There are a few key elements that make up an effective customer survey, such as:

  • Use consistent rating scales: With every customer survey that you send out, make sure you use the same rating scales. Using consistent rating scales will make analyzing the results of your surveys much easier and less confusing.
  • Ask meaningful questions: A customer satisfaction survey is only as good as the questions you ask. In order to get effective results from your customer surveys that you can use to improve your business, you need to ask meaningful questions that will prompt thoughtful answers.
  • Use a variety of question types: In addition to asking the right questions, you also need to use a variety of question types, such as open-ended questions, multiple-choice questions, and demographic questions. The more questions you ask, the more insight you can get about your customers.
  • Avoid assumptions: Don’t assume your customers will answer in a certain way or will explain why. If you want your customers to explain their reasoning, you need to specifically ask them to do so in the question.
  • Remain brief: You should aim to keep your customer survey as brief and straightforward as possible. Not many customers will be willing to take an in-depth survey that’s going to take an hour to complete. Keep your questions brief so your customers can get through them quickly.
  • Incentivize respondents: A good way to get your customers to take your survey is by offering incentives, such as a 20% discount on their next purchase or a free product. However, keep your incentives small to avoid causing bias.
  • Pick the right time: It’s important to send out your surveys at the right time so you can get as many accurate responses as possible. You want to give your respondents at least one week to fill out the survey from when you send it out to when it’s due. Also, keep time zones in mind so that you don’t send out your surveys in the middle of the night.
  • Test your survey: Before you click send on that email to send out your survey to all of your customers, make sure to test it first. You want to test your survey to ensure the wording is correct and all of the questions are properly formatted.
  • Thank respondents: Once you’ve received responses from all your customers, make sure you thank them. Thanking your respondents is a common courtesy to let them know you appreciate their time and effort. You can do this with a simple thank you email, or you can send a gift card or discount.

Types of customer satisfaction survey questions

Now that you’re more familiar with why customer surveys are important and the elements that make up an effective customer survey, let’s discuss the different types of customer satisfaction survey questions. It’s important to include a variety of questions in your survey so that you can easily assess how your customers feel about your business.

These are some of the different types of customer survey questions that you can include in a customer survey:

1. Open-ended survey questions

Open-ended survey questions are questions that allow the respondent to write out their answer. Including open-ended survey questions is important because it gives your respondents free rein to express their feelings and concerns. These types of questions encourage honesty, which is ultimately what you want from your surveys.

To craft effective open-ended questions, you want to keep the question brief at first and then potentially follow up with some more in-depth questions. For example, your first question can be “How do you feel about (product name)?” and your second question can be “If necessary, how do you think we can improve that product?”.

Asking these questions in two parts is less intimidating for the respondent and encourages them to write more, so you can better assess their thoughts and feelings.

Some other examples of open-ended questions include:

  • How can we improve your experience with the company?
  • What's working for you and why?
  • What can our employees do better?
  • Why did you choose our product over a competitor’s?
  • What would be one word you’d use to describe us and why?

2. Binary survey questions

Binary survey questions are the opposite of open-ended questions and offer only two options for answers, which are typically “yes” and “no.” By asking yes/no questions, you can quickly gather feedback without having to take the time to read through long responses. Binary questions will give you a general sense of how your customers feel based on a simple yes or no.

Because binary survey questions don’t provide as much insight into your respondent’s feelings as open-ended questions, you want to limit the number of these you include in your surveys. Only having two options for answers can make your respondents feel boxed in and like they don’t have another choice. With that said, binary questions can provide useful information that can be applied to your business.

Some examples of binary survey questions include:

  • Were you satisfied with your experience with us? Yes/No
  • Did you find what you were looking for today? Yes/No
  • Is there anything else you need from us? Yes/No

3. Demographic survey questions

It’s crucial to include demographic survey questions in a customer survey so that you can better understand your audience. Asking demographic questions is essential so that businesses can create buyer personas that represent their target audience. When you have an idea of your buyer persona, you can create more effective marketing efforts that are targeted specifically to your target audience.

Asking these questions can help give you an idea of what audiences you’re performing well with, and what audiences you’re lacking. However, your respondents shouldn’t be required to answer demographic questions, so make sure to include that they’re optional.

Some examples of demographic survey questions include:

  • What is your name?
  • What is your phone number?
  • Where do you live?
  • What gender do you identify as?
  • What is your email?
  • What is your employment status?
  • What is your marital status and do you have children?
  • What is your education level?

4. Likert scale survey questions

Likert scale survey questions provide respondents with a variety of answers that range from one extreme to another, such as extremely unsatisfied to extremely satisfied. Likert scale questions will typically also include a neutral option for the answer.

Likert scale survey questions are good to incorporate in a customer survey because they’re easy to understand and give the respondent an option to be neutral. With this type of question, businesses can easily collect important, quantifiable data, like consumer beliefs and attitudes, without having to observe the consumer in action.

Some examples of Likert scale survey questions include:

  • How satisfied are you with our service?
  • Very satisfied
  • Moderately satisfied
  • Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
  • Moderately dissatisfied
  • Very dissatisfied

If you choose to include Likert scale survey questions in your customer survey, make sure you remain consistent with your rating scales. The more options you have for answers, the more confusing it can be to analyze your data. Aim to keep your rating scales as consistent as possible to make things easier for both you and your respondent.

5. Multiple-choice questions

Multiple-choice questions are a very straightforward way to assess your customer’s opinions. Multiple-choice questions are easy for the customer to understand and answer, and the answers are easy for the business to analyze. With multiple-choice questions, you can provide more answer options than with a binary question or Likert scale, but your respondents can’t go as in-depth as they can with an open-ended question.

Some examples of multiple-choice questions include:

  • Which one of our products do you use the most?

    • Product A
    • Product B
    • Product C
    • Product D
  • How often do you visit our website?

    • Every day
    • A couple of times a week
    • A few times a month
    • Once every few months
    • I never go on your website

Wrapping up: Using customer surveys

Using customer surveys is a great way to gain insight into your customers’ opinions so you can assess their satisfaction and make necessary changes to your business. Customer surveys are important for a myriad of reasons. Conducting customer surveys can help you engage more with your customers, boost your customer loyalty, improve your products and services, and more.

Creating and sending out customer surveys doesn’t have to be complicated, especially when you use Mailchimp. Mailchimp is an all-in-one marketing platform that brands can use to develop, launch, and grow their businesses. Mailchimp even offers free online survey tools that you can use to create your own effective surveys so you can learn more about your customers and grow your business.

In addition to survey tools, you’ll also get access to an expansive collection of helpful marketing resources when you sign up on Mailchimp. Mailchimp is here to help with everything from content creation to customer retention, so you can expand your business to new heights and accomplish all your goals.

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