Customer Exit Surveys: Tips & Example Questions

In the dynamic landscape of business, understanding why customers choose to discontinue their engagement is just as crucial as attracting new ones. A great channel for collecting feedback is a customer exit survey which unveils insights into the minds of departing customers.

In this blog post, we'll explore the significance of exit surveys, offering valuable tips on how to optimize your approach. Additionally, our intercept survey company provides you with a curated list of example questions that can help extract meaningful feedback, turning exits into opportunities for growth. 

How to Define a Customer Exit Survey

A customer exit survey is a tool used by businesses to gather feedback from customers who have recently interacted with their products or services.

The purpose of the survey is to understand the customer's experience, satisfaction levels, and the reasons behind their decision to stop using a particular product or service (hence the term "exit"). These surveys are typically administered after a customer has completed a transaction, canceled a subscription, or otherwise disengaged from the business relationship.

The information collected from exit surveys can help businesses identify areas for improvement, understand customer concerns, and make strategic decisions to enhance customer satisfaction and retention. The feedback obtained from these surveys can be valuable for businesses looking to make data-driven decisions to enhance their products, services, and customer relationships.

When You Should Actually Use a Customer Exit Survey

It's all in the name. Customer exit surveys are conducted right after the customer purchases an item/s. This is to ensure the interaction is fresh in the mind of the customer, allowing them to respond accurately. 

On a broader scale, customer exit surveys should be conducted when companies are looking to improve their services, gain customers, and retain current ones. 

The timing of this will depend on the needs of the specific business. When choosing to run customer exit surveys, brands can weigh their specific needs. Most often, these needs are based on customer satisfaction and experience. 

The Main Reasons We Use Customer Exit Surveys

Customer exit surveys are used for a few key reasons. 

Primarily, these surveys are ideal for gathering sentiment quickly after a customer purchases an item. This means the interaction is still fresh in the mind of the customer, providing optimal survey responses. Because of this, businesses can feel confident they're receiving actionable responses. 

Additionally, these surveys will highlight customer pain points as they happen. Since customer trends are continuously evolving, this is an especially important reason to implement these surveys. Pain points can then be addressed by improving satisfaction measures. 

Where Can You Implement A Customer Exit Survey?

Customer exit surveys can be implemented in multiple ways, which we'll cover below. How they are implemented is dependent upon the specific needs of the company. In all cases, these surveys don't take a long time and include around 10 to 15 questions. 


This type of exit survey will arrive in the email of the customer post-transaction. Providing a link to the survey, the customer will open the email, answer the questions, and submit responses.


In this case, the survey will be provided to the customer via email or another platform. It's key this is done soon after the purchasing experience, so the customer will be able to provide reliable responses. 


This type of customer exit survey will be distributed to customers in person after they complete their purchases. These intercept surveys will include the same type of questions included in the previous two methods. This may be the method that brings in the freshest data, as the survey is delivered to the customer as they're leaving the store. 

Customer Exit Survey Best Practices

It's important to keep a few key details top of mind when executing customer exit surveys. 

First, the surveys need to remain short, ideally no more than 15 minutes. This means that respondents will be more likely to finish the entire survey and provide thoughtful responses. 

Secondly, exit surveys need to include questions specific to the experience of the shopper. Meaning, questions need to be very specific and to the point in order to gather the highest-quality responses. 

Lastly, the store running the surveys should have key goals for what they want to accomplish with the responses. We suggest having these objectives set before the survey is even conducted.

Customer Exit Survey Case Study

In this section, let's take a look at a customer exit survey project completed by our team for a fast-food restaurant chain. This details the objectives, approach, and results to give a better idea of a real-world example of customer exit surveys.


Drive Research was hired to conduct customer intercept surveys by a popular fast-food restaurant chain. The market research focused on a specific store location. 

The objectives of the customer exit survey were to measure:

  • The reason(s) that impact usage of the location
  • Expected percent of the customer base to churn to a nearby competitive location
  • Reason(s) for the churn

In addition to the above objectives, the goal of the market research was to collect more information on customer profiles

This included demographic information such as ages, where they are coming from pre-visit, and where they are going post-visit.


To address the objectives at hand, Drive Research recommended using a customer intercept survey to collect feedback. Our market research company had permission to be on-site at the store location. 

The proposal was signed on September 22, 2020. Although a 3-week minimum is typically required to schedule staff, Drive Research was able to expedite fieldwork for the client by launching fieldwork less than two weeks after sign-off. 

Intercepts were completed via tablets using satellite 4G connections to the survey link. The survey was administered through a combination of self-administration methods

  1. The customer takes the tablet and completes the survey.
  2. A professional interviewer verbally asks the questions to the customer and recording the feedback. 

The on-site intercept interviewer defaulted to the preference of the customer and was available to clarify survey questions if needed.

Conducting the customer intercept surveys

Fieldwork for the customer intercept surveys began on Thursday, October 1, and lasted until Sunday, October 4, 2020. 

The market research study was over four consecutive days during peak hours identified by the fast food restaurant. 

The shifts were Thursday through Sunday from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. All shifts lasted 11 hours for a total of 44 hours of intercept surveying over the four days. 

Drive Research recommended intercepting customers during high-traffic times on these four days to capture the most significant percentage of a regular customer base as possible (combining both weekday and weekend days and evenings). 

Customers were provided a coupon as a thank you for participating in the short survey.

💡💡 Pro Tip: Hire a back-up interviewer.

When conducting in-person customer exit surveys, our market research company recommends recruiting a back-up interviewer.

Regardless of how reliable a person is, mishaps or emergencies happen when an interviewer has to cancel at the last minute. 

By hiring a backup interviewer, you have the peace of mind of not scrambling at the last minute to find someone to fill their spot. Or, worse having to postpone the intercept surveys to a new date when the original interview is available again.

Wondering how much intercept surveys cost? We answer this here.

Example Customer Exit Survey Questions

While up to 10 to 15 survey questions were budgeted, our intercept survey company encouraged the client to keep the survey length as short as possible.

In our experience, shorter customer exit surveys help boost the total number of responses and data reliability.

Example customer exit survey questions included:

  • What is the main reason for visiting this location of the fast food chain restaurant?
  • How many times do you visit this location per month?
  • If a new location opened in [INSERT MARKET], what location are you more likely to visit? Why?
  • How important is a drive-thru in choosing a location?
  • Do you visit other locations of the fast food restaurant?
  • Did you drive to the fast food restaurant?
  • Where did you visit prior to coming to this location?
  • Where are you going after your visit today?


Overall, the results of the customer intercept survey will fuel the next steps in operations, sales, and marketing. 

The survey took an average of 5 minutes to complete and included 17 questions. The survey received 377 responses.

Drive Research provided daily progress reports to the client after completing each shift, which highlighted the current number of completed surveys. 

The number of responses exceeded our estimated goal of 300 responses for the 4-days at the location by 25%.

With a probabilistic sample, a total of 377 responses at the 95% confidence level offers a 5% margin of error.

If the survey were conducted with another random pool of 377 customers at the store location, results would yield within +5% or -5% of the stated totals in the reports.

The margin of error can be used as a guideline to understand the high reliability of these results.

The report included a topline summary of the findings. The goal was to provide an overview of the feedback to reveal key findings derived from the separate PDF reports of question tabulations.

Contact Our Customer Exit Survey Company 

Drive Research is a national intercept survey company located in New York. Our team has the knowledge and tools to design a robust customer market research study based on your unique needs and goals.

Reach out through any of the four ways below to learn more about our services.

Contact Drive Research by filling out the form below or emailing [email protected].


emily taylor about the author

Emily Taylor

As a Project Manager, Emily is approaching a decade of experience in the market research industry and loves to challenge the status quo. She is a certified VoC professional with a passion for storytelling.

Learn more about Emily, here.

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