It seems that almost every company now collects data from its customers using customer satisfaction surveys. These can be an important source of information about your customer demographics and help you to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to changing trends and tastes. However, it’s a bad idea to bombard your customers just for the sake of following the crowd. If you’re thinking of carrying out a survey, here are five tips to help you make it an effective survey:

1. Have a specific aim

If you’re planning to send out an survey, it’s imperative that you have a goal behind it. Lengthy surveys that ask lots of non-connected questions will annoy customers and give you more data than you can efficiently process. Make sure that each question on your survey is focused on helping you to improve one single aspect of your business.

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2. Make it short and sweet

This relates to both the number of questions and the length of the questions themselves. Only ask questions that you absolutely need to know the answer to and always relate them to your plan (see point 1). A survey of 5 short questions will surely receive more responses than one that is 25 questions long.

3. Simple is beautiful

Keep questions easy to understand, which means limiting your use of jargon or technical language. Also, try not to assume that your respondents know anything about the topic. Give information if needed, but only the most basic and keep it short. Respondents faced with a long text to read will be tempted to abandon the survey.

4. Fit the type of question to the type of answer you need

You can use yes/no questions for simple topics, but don’t be afraid to employ open-ended questions when you want an opinion, or when possible answers are not easy to predict or categorise. The information you gain from these types of questions may be most helpful to you in improving your business.

5. Offer prizes for taking the survey

You can encourage customers to take the survey by offering them something in return. However, the prize doesn’t have to be monetary. Many people will be motivated by the chance to win something in a prize draw. Loyalty points or coupons are also a strong incentive and also benefit your business by encouraging people to shop with you in the future.

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