How To Write Customer Experience Surveys

May 14, 2018 Reuben Yonatan

Understanding your customers is an essential part of enhancing the way of measuring customer success. Although other methods of interaction get more attention, the tried and true customer experience survey can get you the information you need most.

What should be included in a customer experience survey? Answers may differ slightly, but experts agree on most of the basics.

Open-Ended Questions

If you can ask a question in a way that demands more than a 'yes' or 'no' answer, you will get better answers. Customers are looking for a way to express themselves, and open-ended questions provide this opportunity. What's more, closed-ended questions almost always prompt a negative response from a customer.

Simple Questions

You and your colleagues are masters of your industry, and you have a very specific language that you use to communicate this mastery to each other. Your discipline is very precise, and it demands that you use this language in order to properly talk about concepts. Your customers, however, are not necessarily domain experts like you. They do not speak about the industry in the same way that you do. If you try to use too technical or too specialized a language with them, you will deter them from providing you the feedback you need. Keep your questions simple in order to get the best answers possible.

No Leading Questions

You can word your questions in a way that implies a certain answer, but isn’t the whole point of this survey to get honest feedback? Leading questions might inflate short-term vanity metrics, but you are not improving any of your processes as a result, which will hurt the bottom line in the long term. Make sure that all of the questions that you ask are as neutral as possible. If you are requiring your subjects to answer on a sliding scale, make sure that the scale is balanced on both sides with positive and negative responses that are approximately equal in connotation.

Customer Stories

If you really want to find out what problems and bottlenecks your company has, ask for customer stories. Be warned - these stories will likely be overwhelmingly negative. Why? People will always remember negative experiences more than they will remember positive ones. However, aggregating these customer stories, pulling out the trends, and determining actionable solutions around fixing problems will help your company in the long run.

Gather Tangible Data

Every customer experience survey should give you more data to quantify. The point of a survey is to put a number beside an idea or a feeling that can be measured. Look to form every question as an information grab which you can quantify. Create tangible data from intangible assertions and feelings.

Actionable Solutions

You want to ask questions that you can actually act on. Why ask questions in a customer experience survey about things that you cannot control? It is essential for every company to take the "Serenity Prayer" to heart - give your company the strength to change what it can, let go what it can't, and have the wisdom to tell the difference. Create your questions about actionable solutions that you will take depending on the feedback that you get from the survey.

Customer Success KPIs to Consider

The questions you wish to ask your customers should always be backed by metrics you’re already following closely in order not to complicate the customer experience.  Your key KPIs should inform Success teams to craft relevant customer experience surveys that will help improve the journey. Identify KPIs that indicate whether customer outcomes are meeting expectations or not, and ask for feedback on those specific metrics.

There are many different ways to go about creating a customer experience survey. Regardless of which metrics your business chooses to focus on, no matter what actionable solutions are the best fit for your goals, customer success always has to remain the priority.

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About the Author

Reuben Yonatan

Reuben Yonatan is the founder and CEO of GetVoIP -- trusted VoIP comparison resource that helps companies understand and choose a business communication solution for their specific needs. Reuben assists SMBs align business strategy with culture and improve overall corporate infrastructure. Follow him on Twitter @ReubenYonatan.

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