It is often helpful to conduct a customer survey in an effort to get a better idea of what customers like, want, and expect. For example, many MicroISVs conduct “uninstall” surveys to gain information about why customers choose to uninstall their software. Follow these steps to increase the value of your surveys and the number of respondents…
If you are providing survey participants with a gift in exchange for completing the survey, be sure to let them know about that upfront, as that may help increase survey participation.
2. Limit The Questions
Time is precious. Give potential survey participants an estimate, in advance, of how long you expect the survey will take to complete. Let participants know how many questions are contained in the survey, and you should indicate how close they are to completion on each page of the survey. For example: “Question 1 of 5”.
3. Make Questions Valuable
Do not waste a customer’s goodwill on questions that are not really important or necessary. Ask questions that really matter, and ones that can provide insight into your product or service.
Questions should be placed in a logical order. If possible, include easily-answered questions at the beginning of the survey.
5. Frame The Questions
The way you ask a question can often influence the response. Keep questions framed in a way that does not predispose the respondent to answer a specific way. For example, avoid asking things like “What did you hate about the support you received?”, as that predisposes a negative support experience.
6. Do Not Require Answers
Forcing people to answer questions they do not want to answer will often cause them to abandon the survey before it’s completion. Give respondents a way out, so that they can skip questions that they are uncomfortable answering, or that simply don’t apply to them.
Some survey participants may be answering in a language that is not their native tongue. Keep survey questions basics, using simple and easy to understand terms, so that respondents with even rudimentary knowledge of a language can still participate and respond.
8. Other Comments
Provide survey participants an opportunity to respond to an open-ended question or to comment on any aspect of your business or services. It can be frustrating to respondents if they want to elaborate on a given topic or issue, but are only provided multiple-choice options. The final question should welcome them to comment on anything they choose regarding your products or services. This type of open-ended feedback can often be invaluable.
9. Respect Confidences
If a respondent identifies a deficiency in your operations, respect their privacy when the issue is dealt with. In many cases, survey respondents will be far more candid if they believe their identity is protected.
10. Thank Participants
Always thank participants for taking the time to participate in the survey. Let them know that you appreciate their efforts, and will use the information they provided to improve your software and services.