Sending a customer survey to your clients can provide lots of information that will benefit your business. Getting genuine feedback from your clients helps you establish what you are doing right, what you are doing wrong and how loyal your customers are to you.

When sending out a survey, you need to establish exactly what it is you want to learn from the answers.

Do you want to know: 

  • If there are any problems with your product or service?
  • If you inspire loyalty from your customers?
  • If you can identify new revenue opportunities?
  • Why former clients no longer buy from you?
  • If you can obtain referrals from your customers?

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Once you have identified what you want to achieve from your customers, you need to decide which customers you will choose. Asking for a referral from a customer you’ve had a disagreement with might just result in the kind of word of mouth that you don’t want.

A customer survey can provide you with all sorts of useful information, even from those who no longer buy from you. Call and ask them politely if they can spare five minutes to answer an email survey. Don’t ask them the questions on the phone – they are less likely to be truthful if they think it might cause offence. A friendly request always yields more response than sending out a cold email.

People are pleasant but tend to be busy if faced with a task that doesn’t benefit them. Let your customer know that you really value their responses and will look at changing your methods if you discover there is a problem.

Make it clear that any negative information will not have any bearing on your dealings with them and that no one will be in personal trouble as a result. You could even entice them with entry into a prize draw, or offer a gift to those who respond.

Make it easy and make it personal. When you send an email, make sure your contact’s name, company and other details are included. If they can see you are making an effort, they are more likely to reciprocate.

Make sure you know what information you want to receive then determine what questions you will ask. Ideally, make the survey as short as possible. Ask questions with multiple choice answers and ask if they can explain why they gave that answer. Make sure you don’t repeat yourself unwittingly.

When you have finished designing the customer survey, pretend it’s one you’ve received from a supplier and complete it yourself, or ask a colleague. If you find it a bore to fill in, your customers probably will, too.

Once you have the survey ready, write a pleasant cover note. You will have already spoken to the customer and received their permission to send the survey. Don’t send it if they say no. Refer to your conversation, tell them that their answers will be treated in confidence and will be used to improve the service you offer them.

When you have received the survey, don’t forget to ring and thank the client, even those who have barely made an effort. Your friendliness will be remembered long after the customer survey has been completed.

I’m more than happy to help you design your survey. Please just give me a shout.

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