Customer Satisfaction Surveys: 10 Common Mistakes

Measuring customer satisfaction is crucial to improving a company’s bottom line. Ironically, a poorly executed customer satisfaction survey can actually create dissatisfaction among consumers. Avoid these 10 common online survey pitfalls when soliciting feedback from your customers.

1. Not using the most cost-effective, timely method. The days of sending out all company surveys via mail are over. While that may still be effective with certain age groups and demographics, online surveys are generally more efficient. Customers typically don’t receive a survey in the mail for three to five days – not to mention the time and effort it takes for them to send it back.

2. Not stating a clear objective. If you don’t have a clear focus – and you don’t state it up front in your survey – you’re missing the opportunity to encourage responses. Tell customers why it’s important for them to take the survey and provide incentives when necessary.

3. Asking leading questions. If you attempt to sway a customer’s responses, they will catch on. Avoid leading questions that suggest or assume that a customer is happy with your product or service.

4. Not allowing for additional comments. If you don’t provide room for customers to elaborate, you don’t give them the chance to express their frustrations – or gush about their positive experiences with your company.

5. Asking for comments, then ignoring them. This is a simple one: why conduct a customer satisfaction survey if you don’t intend to do anything about the issues your customers raise? Follow up via email or phone.

6. Including too many open-ended questions. You want to leave room for respondents to elaborate, but you don’t want to force them to. Open-ended questions that require a lot of writing will cause time-pressed people to move on.

7. Including too many questions, period. In the interest of receiving better customer service, many people are happy to provide feedback – but don’t push it. Their time is valuable, and a survey with 50 long questions about your company is not likely to help your cause.

8. Including too few questions. On the other hand, you want to include enough questions to ensure you get some solid feedback from your survey. Most suvey design experts believe the sweet spot is 10 to 15 questions.

9. Only surveying consistent, happy customers. Again, what’s the point? Reach out to those customers who have left to find out why. Sure, the truth hurts. It will also help you improve your business.

10. Poor timing. Know your audience. If most of your customers are in a particular industry, don’t send out a survey during that industry’s biggest trade show of the year. And don’t send emails out on Mondays, Fridays, or weekends, when they are likely to be ignored or overlooked.
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