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Use Online Surveys to Increase Customer Loyalty

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on September 27, 2010

Surveys are a great way to show your customers that you value them. Surveys not only enable you to stay connected with your customers, but they also can provide valuable insight into how to run your business better. Here are some suggestions for creating great online surveys:

1. Be clear about the purpose of your survey. Fuzzy goals lead to fuzzy results. Start by asking yourself: What do I hope to accomplish with this survey? What decisions or actions will I take as a result of this survey? You’ll have a more successful survey if you spend some time up front identifying your goals.

2. Keep the survey short and focused. Make sure to keep your survey focused on a single objective and limit the number of questions to those who will help accomplish your goal. If it’s just a "nice to have" question, toss it. Also, tell respondents up front how much time they’ll need to complete the survey—and try to keep it under 5 minutes.

3. Keep the questions unbiased. It’s easy to influence a question’s outcome, so take particular care to stay neutral when wording a question. Many online survey tools have sample questions to help you avoid this common mistake.

4. Use open-ended questions sparingly. Open-ended questions are often difficult to collate, analyze, and react to. Closed-ended questions take the form of yes/no, are multiple choice, or use a rating scale and can help draw clear conclusions. Use open-ended questions as a supplement to provide additional color to your conclusions.

5. Share the results with your customers. After analyzing your survey, share the results with your customers by sending them a summary e-mail or by posting the results on your website. This helps close the loop and shows your customers that you truly value their feedback. Make sure to let your customers know what changes or actions you’ll be making as a result of their feedback.

Alex Terry
Executive vice-president and general manager
San Francisco

Reader Comments

Lisa Fernow

September 29, 2010 10:19 AM

While I agree with Alex that you want to use open ended questions sparingly, depending on your research objective, open ended questions can be MORE helpful than closed end ones. Often people have something to say that companies neglect to ask! If you are just beginning to explore an issue, it's best to assume you don't know what you don't know, and ask that open ended question. It's enlightening what you get back. Thanks.

Mel DePaoli

October 7, 2010 2:49 AM

Great tips, #1 is a bit vague in itself. Many times a company 'thinks' they have a goal in mind and they are right. But its not necessarily a goal that can be acchieved by a simple survey. Surveys work best when they are specifically angled at something.
General surveys tell you nothing more than whether your customer filled them out or not.
Also, it is ok to have multiple surveys and to change them up. Often times that will get you better results that you will be able to do more with.

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