customer survey strategy


In my experience and workI’ve noticed that customer surveys are often overlooked by businesses before large projects or program investments. It’s such an easy and cheap tool, which connects you with your customers and can help your company iterate and improve both product and service. A a source to gain valuable insights from the customers where their voice and opinion can add value and a much needed outside perspective.

If you are creative, this can be used as a tool to build loyalty – and repeat orders from your customers 🙂

This article covers the overall customer survey strategy so to speak.

1/ When designing the survey – start with defining the overall purpose of the survey

What is it you want to find out?

  • Understand the customer experience? 
  • Find hurdles to sign-up for a loyalty programme? how attractive customers find it? or taking some other type of action? 
  • Find out how your customers want to receive information?
  • What technology habits they have?

Before you design the questions for your survey. Talk to your customer support department – what can you find out from them? chances are that you can get insight to questions to ask from this department to att to your survey.

Look into your Google Analytics, ask the data specific questions – then see if you need to incorporate questions in your customer survey based on findings you do. For example investigate what pages the customer exit, the internal search and so forth. Anything that relates to the purpose of your customer survey – view your website analytics for added insight into your question creation process.


2/ Designing the actual survey – four basic guidelines for best practice
  • Set the purpose – make it clear in the intro text why you are doing this, make it short and sweet and don’t forget to close this with what the benefits are for the customer in participating with their feedback.
  • Indicate the time needed to respond to the questions.
  • Progress bar – a must have to help the respondents through the survey.
  • A thoughtful thank you page (perhaps with a unique discount code?)
  • If applicable – ask for customers to volunteer for a follow-up phone call (an incentive to this could be a gift or a voucher, you really want to give something as a token of appreciation for their time)


3/ The questions

Here are a few pointers on the actual questions.

  • Ask open questions
  • Don’t add detailed examples in relation to any questions, this way you may influence answers
  • Use 1-3 when grading – because then you will really find out what the customer think, rather then adding up answers from a 1-5 scale when grading something.
  • Shorter rather then longer.


4/ The incentive for participating – find out what engages your customers

How much is the answers worth to you and how much are your company ready to invest to get people to participate?

If you are doing a larger survey, you may need to up the stakes in terms of incentives to make it worth your customers time. So for a larger survey – what can you offer that will help motivate customers to answer – however ensure that you get quality answer not quantity. What I mean is, high volumes just to get the “price” that may no be a relevant contribution in terms of quality for the overall survey.


5/ Distributing a survey – let people know you are conducting a survey

When you have your survey set-up, you want to get it out there. So create compelling imagery and copy, that you can push out in your various channels to help raise awareness. Make a plan for how often you will push the message in your channels to increase responses and remind your customers that it’s there.


6/ Time and amount of responses

Depending on the actual size and purpose, the time you allocate for your customer survey should reflect that. However if you find that you get an overwhelming amount of responses, close the survey sooner rather then later.

To calculate the number of your sample size, for your survey (if applicable) use Survey Monkeys tools for this.


7/ Analysis of the result 

The next step is to analyse the answers against your questions. For me a visual summary of the answers and a list of relating free text answers are the easiest to analyse.

Gather your findings into insights, and if you have any follow-up questions and want to dig deeper into some findings, then just ask those customers that volunteered for follow-up calls. 

If you perform smaller surveys on a regular basis, implement automatic customer surveys with a dashboard and distribute within your organisation.

8/ Action plan

There is no use to go to all the trouble of designing a survey, analysing the answers if you don’t take action upon the findings and insights. Turn the insights into actions and make a plan to get these done and implemented.

9/ Thank you

Be sure to use the same channels as you announced the survey in to openly thank everyone for their participation.

Why not make a story of the prize-winner – to add to your various channels and platforms, this is a great way to show that you appreciate your customers, get positive exposure and prove your are customer centric and may grant you an easier time to get answers to any surveys next time you decide to run one


SurveyMonkey – one free basic version and one pro paid for version

Google Forms – no cost/free


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