• Kat

Customer Satisfaction Surveys

We've all gotten a survey after a purchase or in our email after buying a service. And sometimes we ignore it, but sometimes we fill it out and offer that brand some insight into our experience. Is this something your business needs? If so, what should you include? How do you send it out?

This wasn't something I had set up early on, and it may not be something you've even thought about. I thought I knew how my clients were feeling about my business and had all the answers. After doing surveys, I've realized that many of them do affirm what I already know, but they also offer great insights that can help grow my business, offer better customer services and make sure clients that have something to say have a chance to be heard!

Who needs customer satisfaction surveys?


Absolutely every business can benefit from asking their clients about their experience and insights.

I genuinely don't believe that there is any business that can't learn something from their customers. And a survey allows for a much lower pressure way of asking. Sure you can ask every client in person for their thoughts, but they might feel caught off guard or pressured to answer a certain way. In a survey, anonymous or not, it takes some of the pressure off and give them time to think.

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What should I include?

There are lots of questions you can include, but my favorite are the following:

  1. What made you decide to choose my business? If you want to know how to attract new clients it's helpful to know what drew your existing ones to your business in the first place.

  2. If you were trying to find a business such as mine when searching online, what would you search for? Do you know how clients search for you? Keywords and search patterns online are constantly changing. Stay on top of what your clients are searching for by asking this. This will put you ahead of the competition, by allowing you to focus on what your clients are searching for, rather than what businesses think clients are searching for.

  3. Can you describe one way I'm better than other ______________ (photographers in my case)? If you want to find your differentiators and strengths the best source are the clients that like your services. It also tells you what your clients value. If your differentiator that you're using to sell yourself is something your clients don't care about, it won't help you much. But if they tell you it's something you do better, you know it's a characteristic that is important to them and took enough note to tell you about it.

  4. What is one thing that I could do to make sure you have an even better customer experience? Not only does this help you uncover things you may have done that need improvement, but also gaps in your business model. A service or product that you may be missing or some small add-on clients have grown to expect. It also might lead you to a brand new business expansion idea that you may never have thought of. Many times what happy customers will share as room for improvement is actually an opportunity for growth!

  5. Would you/do you refer me to others? This fairly generic question allows customers to answer with a simple yes or no. You can gauge the general feeling toward your business.

  6. How likely are you to recommend me to others? (On a scale of 1-10) Use this question to calculate an NPS score. It offers a bit more detail and helps you get numeric handle on how your clients feel about you.

  7. And would you tell me why? Rather than just tell you if they'd recommend you, offer the option to explain their feelings on why they would or wouldn't tell their friends about you. This answer tells you several things. If they said no, this answer let's you know where you can improve and what it would take to have customers recommend you. If they said yes, you can learn both what they value and think is worthy of mentioning and recommending and also what you do best that makes you worth recommending. I believe in focusing on your strengths and always working to keep them top notch, to do that, you have to know what your strengths are.

  8. What are some of your favorite local businesses? Look at your clients' tastes and see if there are any patterns. Maybe some of their responses will offer opportunities for partnership. At the very least you can get a better handle on your target market and know their preferences.

  9. Did I miss anything? You're not psychic. There might be something they're just waiting to tell you. Offer your customers the opportunity with this open ended question.

How do I make one?

There are tons of survey services out there for building out your customer satisfaction survey.

And by tons, I mean TONS. One of the best known is surveymonkey, my personal favorite is jotform. Do some research and make a list of possible contenders and compare their services. Most offer a free and a paid option and have strengths and weaknesses. Different ways of collecting the information, analytics tools, personalization options, etc. Research the one that fits your needs the best.

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Can't find one? That can be ok. It might be a great inspiration to build your own solution. A survey is really a contact form with the appropriate questions, settings, and delivery options. If you don't have the time or energy to build one out, there might be a professional you can hire that will do it for you.

How should I send it out?

You have some options with this one and it depends on your business model and your customer relationships.

  • Social Media - Do you spend most of your time communicating with your clients on social media? This might be your best way to send out a questionnaire every few weeks or months to get the pulse of your audience.

  • Website - If your website is your hub and everyone has to come there to purchase or receive your product consider making a special page for your clients to go to fill out a survey. If you have a purchase flow a review/survey page would work nicely shortly after purchase.

  • Email - An email is a personal touch that is harder to ignore. If you communicate with your clients via email you can place a survey in an email after your delivery or service or send out a newsletter every so often to new clients.

  • Client Gallery - Do you deliver products via an online gallery? Maybe a survey placed right with the product you've delivered would keep it fresh in your client's mind and make this a great place to put the survey.

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What do I do with all the information?

First off, store it securely. All information your client's provide should be secured somewhere private and according to the laws and regulations of your and your customers' regions.

Second, read through it carefully. Read over what they write and absorb it on an individual level. Every client took the time to write their thoughts so give them each personal attention. Consider going back and reading through older surveys once a year and comparing them to current ones to see how sentiment may be changing over time.

Third, aggregate it. Combine the responses into aggregate data that you can analyze in groups to look for patterns. Make lists of search terms to optimize for that appear most often. Look at your NPS score and watch it over time. Take ideas for improving your business. Accept your strengths and use them to grow your business or improve your sales strategy. Personally I aggregate the data and create data visualizations to help me interpret it all. Find your strategy to try and get the most out of your data.

Last Step

Send a thank you to every client that helps you!

Since they took the time to respond to your questions and be helpful, offer them a sincere thank you!
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How do you learn about your clients' thoughts on your business? What questions do you ask that I might have missed?

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