6 Easy Steps on How to Create Customer Surveys

Many people ask the question How do I create a customer survey? The basic steps are the same no matter what type of client survey you're writing: customer satisfaction, global market research, product development surveys, etc.

Step 1: Sit down and figure out what the goal of the survey is. Are you trying to identify upsell opportunities? Want to discover features missing from your current product? Figuring out if it's a good idea to take your marketing overseas and attack a global market? In the very beginning of the survey planning process, you should know what it is you want to get out of the consumer survey. If you don't have a firm customer satisfaction survey objectives in the beginning, while you go through the other steps such as writing survey questions or selecting the best survey software, you're going to stray from the path. If you stray from the path, you may find the final survey results are not as helpful as you had hoped.

Step 2: Decide on a research methodology. Your goals should help you on this step as well. You need to first decide if you're planning to do qualitative or quantitative research. From there narrow the scope further, if you want to do qualitative research are you interested in focus groups, advisory boards, one-on-one interviews? With quantitative research you may decide on comment cards, feedback forms and surveys. Is your survey method going to be online, telephone-based or paper questionnaires?

Step 3: Survey Design. I'm making the assumption since you're reading a survey blog about how to create customer surveys, you're not interested in the other market research methods right now so I'm going to focus on the process of building customer surveys. Once you've gotten through the first two steps, you're ready to start writing survey questions (Finally! I bet you thought this would be the first step!). Customer satisfaction survey design can be the biggest challenge. Luckily, there is survey designing software to help you step through this. Survey software tools often have templates and question libraries to help you write good survey questions.

Step 4: Data collection. Okay, you've picked your customer survey methodology, created a client survey and you're ready to field your survey (or use the data collection tool in your survey application to collect responses). Exactly what you do in this step will depend on what type of survey you decided to collected: telephone, paper, online. One way to get survey responses is to use email marketing tools to send personalized email surveys. You can also share the link on your website, social media sites, invoices, etc.

Step 5: Analyze customer feedback. Analyzing survey data is one of people's least favorite parts of the surveying process. We have some tips for how to analyze survey data here. Don't be afraid of this step. You need to conduct the survey customer analysis to achieve your goal. It's what you set out to do, so keep your chin up. You're only a step away from the final product (and once you choose survey analysis methods you should be almost finished).

Step 6: Share the survey findings. This is what you set out to do. Get answers to your customer questions. Take the customer feedback analysis you completed in the last step and format it. You're creating a survey report you can share within your organization (and maybe with others outside of your organization). If you need tips for creating survey reports or an example survey report, you can read more about them here.

Step 6.1: Take action. This is still part of step 6, but it's important enough it should be broken out. In your customer analysis survey report, you should have shared your recommendations for moving forward. Make sure you make recommendations and there is an agreement about moving forward based on the customer survey findings. If you don't plan to take action in Step 1, then you should save yourself the time of conducting the customer research in the first place.

Any other survey research design tips? How have you used these steps to create a customer survey that improved processes in your organization?
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