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5 Tips for a great customer survey program for small and mid-sized businesses

5 Tips for a great customer survey program for small and mid-sized businesses

In honor of our annual Apps We Love campaign, we’re celebrating SurveyMonkey partners and companies we admire. Whether we’ve collaborated with these companies on joint research, built an integration, or become customers ourselves, we’re big fans of each of these orgs and are excited to share with you.

Customer feedback is an essential part of growing—or even sustaining—a small business. A simple customer survey can give you critical insights about your product, allow you to benchmark success over time, collect future marketing fodder, and inform business strategy—all from a few quick questions.

Adhering to a few easy best practices can enable any business to implement a quick, effective feedback program in just a few days. SurveyMonkey’s own Vyoma Kapur recently sat down with Zendesk’s Mozhdeh Rastegar-Panah to talk through how you should think about sending customer surveys during these uncertain times, the rules for creating a good survey experience, and how to get the most out of customer feedback. 

Here are a few of the top tips from that conversation.

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5 tips for a great customer survey

Keep your surveys short and painless—meaning you do the work for your customers. When it comes to surveys, bigger is (almost) never better. Customer surveys should be 5-10 question max, and have no more than 1-2 open-ended questions (where respondents write in an answer rather than choosing from multiple choices).

SurveyMonkey has lots of free templates you can choose from, including customer check-ins. You can customize them to fit your needs, or just use them as inspiration to create your own. Either way, remember that even a few simple questions can lead to awesome insights.

If you’re sending via email, embed your first question into the email itself. A SurveyMonkey study found a 22% increase in survey opens when the survey’s first question was right in the email—AND respondents were also 20% more likely to finish the entire survey. It’s such a simple change, but the net result is that people are more drawn in from the outset, and more committed once they start.

Time your surveys right. You never want to survey the same person more than once every few months—but that doesn’t mean that you have to wait to get more insights. Dividing your customer base into smaller representative samples and cycling through them means that you can keep information coming in without risking any burnout.

Of course, this does mean that you need to have a large enough set of customers to divide up easily while keeping the results meaningful, but you can always alter your cadence to be less frequent if you’re struggling to get enough responses. 

Another, more specifically tactical tip: Always send surveys on weekdays—according to our analysis of over 200,000 surveys, most people take surveys on weekdays during the mid-morning and mid-afternoon.

Be ready to react as feedback comes in. If customers are taking the time to fill out your survey, you want to make sure that you can respond quickly and address any issues or concerns. Make sure you have the resources ready to respond within a few days before you send.

Filter your results for more specific insights. Do your customers from different locations feel differently about your product? Are there commonalities among people who love your product or people who aren’t big fans? SurveyMonkey’s filters enable you to review responses according to people’s answers to any question that you ask. (So if you asked them to rate your product, you can view responses from only people that loved it, for example.) If you want to be able to filter by a certain element (age, industry, etc.), make sure to include a question about that in your survey.

Vyoma and Mozhdeh also covered how to send customer surveys during the coronavirus, how both big companies like Greyhound and small companies like Paired Sourcing used surveys to boost their business, and more. To hear the whole conversation, check out the full webinar.

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