Customer Experience News & Trends

4 mistakes that make customer surveys suck

Nearly every organization wants customer feedback. Yet many fail to get good feedback — the kind of stuff they can use to improve the customer experience. Why is that?

They set themselves up for failure with poorly written surveys that ultimately skew results.

Here are the four most common pitfalls — and how to do better:

Mistake No. 1: Leading customers

Some questions lead customers to the answers we want to hear — whether it’s intentional or not. Wording questions with certain bits of information that’s not relevant can lead customers to giving responses that don’t fully represent their opinion. For instance, this question is leading: “How did our award-winning service meet your expectations?”

Instead, surveys should have vanilla language. Try this: “Did our service meet your expectations?”

Mistake No. 2: Presuming anything

Even your most loyal customers don’t know the ins and outs of your company, products and services as well as you do. Yet, many survey makers use language and refer to situations that customers don’t fully grasp when they ask for feedback. For instance, “How well does the GenXM feature fit your current Q7 interface?”

When customers see overly technical questions, they tend to respond neutrally, which skews results.

Better bet: Stick with straight-forward language. For instance, “Does this product perform up to your expectations?”

Mistake No. 3: Being indirect

Questions that are vague will limit the usefulness of survey results. Your vagueness leads to vague responses. For instance, this sounds like a good question: “What suggestions do you have for improving our payroll service?”

But while you might be seeking ideas on how to improve turnaround speed, you’ll likely also get suggestions on everything from the spreadsheets, invoices and the day of week you deliver the service.

Ask direct questions when you know the information you want to uncover. For instance, “What is the best speed of turnaround on the payroll service for you?”

Mistake No. 4: Asking too much

Surveys that are too long, and adding questions that seek too much information, will result in fewer and incomplete responses.

A good rule: Ask five or fewer rating questions on a survey and no more than two open-ended questions.

And avoid questions that ask for two answers. Example: “What is the fastest and most economical solution you’ve found?” It may be that the “fastest” and “most economical” aren’t the same. Instead, ask separate questions.

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