How To Create Customer Surveys: Best Tips & Questions From Experts

Customer survey tips

Customer surveys are a tool businesses use to understand what people think about their services or products.

They are essentially the core of market research. Using customer surveys, we find out how happy customers are and in turn it helps businesses get better at what they do. 

The surveys are simple, critical, and a great return on investment. When companies learn what their customers like or don't like, they can make smart changes. This might lead to more customers who love what the company does.

What Are Customer Surveys?

Customer surveys are tools for measuring client satisfaction with a product or service.

In our work across various markets, they are one of the most common ways to establish a successful customer relationship with a brand. 

Whether it’s by paper, mail, or online - they generally involve asking questions about customer experiences, expectations, and perceptions. The results then drive insights and analytics used for business decision making.

Example Structure of Customer Surveys:

  • Introductory section
  • Questions relevant to the experience
  • Rating scales (e.g., 1-5, 1-10)
  • Open-ended responses for detailed feedback
  • Completion section

Additionally, surveys highlight customer loyalty and help predict business growth. That's because businesses can tap into customer behaviors and preferences, enabling them to adapt services to meet expectations.

Using customer surveys, we've seen companies boost their customer retention scores, often translating to increased revenue.

In fact, companies often see an uptick because customers are more likely to make a purchase after having a positive experience with a brand.

customer satisfaction stat

Our Best Tips For Creating Customer Surveys (From Experience)

As a customer satisfaction survey company, Drive Research executes full-service surveys for various organizations, businesses, and brands. From this experience, we can share the best tips and tricks for surveying customers.

Define Your Goals & Objectives

In our work, clear goals guide every successful survey.

In fact, it’s always tempting to start by just writing questions and asking customers immediately but it’s not the best way. Customers don’t want to fill out irrelevant or poorly designed surveys. 

We always start by pinpointing what information is most essential.

We ask, "What do we want to learn?"

This shapes the whole survey design and encourages you to think about your survey the same way.

It’s also helpful to only focus on one main topic at a time. Having too many goals will make a survey feel cluttered and distracting.

Figure Out Your Audience

Knowing your audience is key. Surveys are not one-size-fits-all; they must cater to the specific group you're targeting.

We always write customer satisfaction questions that resonate with the target audience, that’s how we ensure we get such high response rates.

Your audience should usually be customers, ideal customers, a target market, or a similar audience.

You’ll also want to choose an appropriate audience size, which can be a sample of your target market/audience or larger.

Write Clear Questions Specific to Your Audience

You’ll also need your questions to be concise, clear, and focused on the objective. There’s no point in having well-thought out questions if they don’t get you closer to your original goal for the survey.

When building out questions, you might need to ask if your questions are any of the following:

  • Make any assumptions
  • Asking too much
  • Leading questions in nature
  • Inappropriate/Uncomfortable questions
  • Confusing/Misunderstanding

If you said yes to any of the above, you’ll want to avoid doing them.

Any sort of questions that confuse, assume, or make the respondent feel uncomfortable are going to affect your data quality.

Send Out Your Survey Using The Right Channels

After writing your questions, you’ll need to choose the right way to send out your survey.

We use the platforms customers frequent, whether it’s email, social media, or SMS, or a combination to reach them effectively.

You’ll also need to make sure that your survey looks great on all the channels you plan on using. Even with well-written questions, surveys can do poorly if the design does not work for respondents.

Keep It As Short As Possible

Quick surveys are key.

In our experience, customer engagement and reply rates start to drop when surveys are longer than they should be.

Surveys should be concise to maintain the respondent's attention and improve completion rates. 

We understand that no one likes to answer long lists of questions.

You want to avoid doing that in your own survey in order to keep your data as high quality as possible. It can also be useful to tell customers how long a survey should take.

Use Great Survey Design

A survey that is poorly designed will cause a lot of friction and typically cause reply rates to drop. In our experience, surveys that have a clean layout and intuitive navigation, lead to better response rates.

Using survey logic where appropriate will help with respondent engagement. Additionally, if you do design your survey in-house, make sure to test it before launching.

Find Insights From Your Data

After analyzing survey responses, we look for patterns and actionable insights. This step turns raw data into real knowledge we use to improve our products and services.

Without this step, you’ll be left with data but no action plan.

It’s always ideal to have a market research expert give insights on data points unless you know how to decipher the data from your project.

Follow Up & Make A Plan

Acting on the survey results shows customers you value their feedback. Especially if changes help or solve an issue that customers have, even better.

Changes based on customer responses and feedback is crucial for building customer loyalty.

Remember that the goal of the data is to be used for the goal/purpose and ideally that goal will align or be similar to what customers want from your brand.

Bonus Tip: We Offer Incentives For Our Respondents

Incentives encourage participation. We’ve seen how a small reward can greatly increase the number of respondents who take the time to complete our surveys.

It might be the thing you need to do in order to get respondents to participate.

There’s nothing wrong with spending some money in order to get better results and data from a survey. If anything, it can help speed up the process of running a survey since a lot of respondents respond positively to incentives.

Recommended Reading: You Should Offer a Reward for Your Market Research - Here's Why

The Most Common Types of Customer Surveys

Customer Satisfaction Surveys

Customer satisfaction surveys, or CSAT, measure how a company's products or services meet or surpass the customer's expectations.

Typically using a rating scale, they ask customers to rate their satisfaction with various aspects of the experience, such as quality, speed, and service.

In our work, we find that these surveys often act as a direct line to customer perceptions, enabling businesses to adjust features or services in response to specific feedback.

Net Promoter Score Survey

Net Promoter Score (NPS) differs from CSAT by measuring customer loyalty rather than just satisfaction.

It asks participants to rate the likelihood of recommending the company to friends or colleagues.

NPS is a powerful indicator of growth potential since a high score suggests strong customer loyalty.

In our experience, a regular analysis of NPS results can predict long-term business performance and customer retention rates.

Learn more in our video below!

Customer Effort Score Survey

Customer Effort Score Survey (CES) asks customers to evaluate the ease of using a product or service or resolving a problem. It's a critical measure for companies that aim to simplify their processes and services.

The theory here, which our work supports, is that the less effort required to interact with a company, the greater the customer’s satisfaction and loyalty will be.

This survey often uses a numerical scale to represent how much effort was needed from the customer's point of view.

Contact Our Customer Satisfaction Survey Company

Drive Research is a customer survey company located in New York. We work with a variety of organizations and industries across the country to assist with customer surveys.

Plus, as a full-service market research company, we can manage your entire project from start to finish. This includes survey design, programming, fieldwork, analysis, and actionable recommendations. 

  1. Message us on our website
  2. Email us at [email protected]
  3. Call us at 888-725-DATA
  4. Text us at 315-303-2040

austin author bio

Austin Parker

Austin has an extensive background in SEO as he's been blogging since 16 years old back when the internet was in its infancy. As fitting, he holds a Bachelor's degree in English with a concentration in creative writing.

Learn more about Austin, here.

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