6 tips to make customer surveys insightful

by Twine

3rd May 2017

In a world where you need to fill in a form for practically everything (it’s a skill according to the BBC), asking customers to fill in surveys can seem like a battle already lost. However, getting feedback from customers is a tried and tested way of finding out what’s going well and what isn’t so you can do something about it. And surveys don’t have to be forms. Indeed, people actually prefer text surveys as they are short and quick. You can send text message surveys easily through Twine, the smart online platform that helps community businesses understand their neighbourhood.

Survey responses could influence the direction of your business, help you measure how connected you are to your neighbourhood, and ensure decision making is representative of what local people think and need. Developed by academics, these surveys can track things like health, well being and community cohesion. Other surveys will ask questions, that if consistently asked, will tell you how happy your local community are with your business. All this data is then accessible in one place: your Twine work space. You can see your survey data grow in real time, and you’ll be able to assess yourself against benchmarks, making measuring your community businesses impact possible in one platform.

But in order to get data from Twine that is useful for your business, it’s important to frame your customer survey in a way that reaches everyone, and limits inaccurate answers. Below are seven tips for creating a customer survey that will bring insightful customer information.

1.  Keep it snappy

No one has the commitment to spend half an hour answering your survey, always make sure you limit the number of questions asked in each survey. We recommend short surveys regularly. For questions, you should always find the shortest way to ask a question.

2. Open-ended questions are insightful, but Yes/No questions also have a place.

A mix of question formats not only keeps your survey entertaining, but serves different purposes. Open-ended questions, such as ‘do you have any suggestions about how we can improve our business?’ often provide more insight into the thoughts of your customers, but make sure to not intimidate them with massive text boxes. Closed questions such as ‘would you recommend this business to a friend?’ are easier to analyse and report on.

3. Question each question

Think to yourself, what insight am I hoping to get from this question? If it is unlikely to provide you with useful answers, why ask it? Does it matter for instance what their name is? Only collect data that is useful.

4. Consistency is key

You risk confusing your customers and getting inaccurate data if you use different rating scales throughout your survey. So if you’re scoring out of 5, score out of 5 the whole time (and explain if 5 is good or bad!).

5. Avoid loaded questions and assumptions

If you’re a community business, you might be tempted to ask what someone thinks of ‘your newly upgraded building’, but if you lead with loaded questions, you won’t receive honest feedback. Try to avoid bias.

Make sure to also avoid assumptions, unless you are surveying a very targeted group. Think about the language you are using, is it accessible? Don’t assume knowledge.

6. Incentives work a treat!

As much as we would love to think people do surveys out of the kindness of their heart, (some people do), many need a little enticing. It’s been proven that incentives drive a 5-20% increase in responses. If you offer workshops or classes, offer a free taster. This will not only incentivise people to answer your survey, but also get new customers through your door!