7 Customer Feedback Survey mistakes to avoid

Kate Zabriskie once wrote, ‘the customer’s perception is your reality.’

How clients perceive your customer feedback survey is everything. It doesn’t matter if the survey is a masterpiece of customer feedback engineering, unless customers perceive it as worth filling out, you won’t get the response rate and response quality you are wanting.

Here are seven mistakes you should avoid when creating your customer feedback survey:


1. Don’t send surveys that are unbranded

You already have a relationship with your customers. Why not use that emotional connection to coax them into completing your customer feedback survey? Brand your survey with your logo and colors so people recognise you, and want to help you.

Here are some examples of non-branded and branded customer feedback surveys (see the difference good branding makes):





2. Don’t forget the user experience

When you’re not face-to-face, the user experience is even more significant. A common mistake businesses make is they drown their survey page with images and messy scrawl. Avoid a poor user experience by steering clear of elaborate fonts and maintaining enough white space to make your survey easy to read. Stick to relevant images and a neat sans-serif font and you’ll prevent wary customers from exiting your survey before they’ve even begun.


3. Don’t make spelling and grammatical errors

You don’t want the customer thinking you can’t spell. Keeping your text error-free adds credibility to your customer feedback survey. A study by Nielsen revealed a website’s credibility is pivotal to whether the user will interact with it, especially because there are so many web pages whose origins can’t be trusted. Once you’ve written your survey, check, re-check and check again for infinitesimal errors you might have missed.


4. Don’t use too many text fields

While open-ended questions are great for unearthing the answer to a specific issue, customers may perceive them as being too time-consuming and exit before the survey’s finished. A study by Falthzik and Carroll found surveys using only closed questions had a 78% response rate, while open-ended questions had a measly 27%. Limit the number of text-areas your customer has to complete and you’ll get a better survey response rate.


5. Don’t forget a title for your survey

Your survey title should be clear, concise and meaningful. The word, ‘Questionnaire’ is not enough. A good title summarises what the survey is about and why the customer should complete the survey. For example, McDonald’s customer feedback survey is titled, ‘Let us Know What You Think’. It leads into a survey objective as well, which expands upon the reasons why the customer should complete your survey.


6. Don’t forget to thank the customer

By filling out your customer feedback survey, the client has done you a service. Just as Barlow wrote, ‘a complaint is a gift,’ and so is any other form of feedback. Always display a thank you message before or after the customer has completed the survey. Not only does this make them feel valuable, it supplements your customer service and ensures a willing participant for next time.


7. Don’t forget to follow-up with specific customers

Negative customer feedback, when fair and reasonable, should never be wasted. As soon as you receive a negative response, follow it up with damage control. Without taking it personally, your first course of action should be to understand what made the customer upset. Afterwards, it’s a simple matter of contacting the customer to discuss what went wrong and how you’re going to fix it, and then resolving the issue on your own. Customers will always give you a second chance, but if you stuff that up, you’ll lose them forever. Ross talks more about how to follow up on customer feedback surveys in this article.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to writing a Customer Feedback Survey

Gordon Tan

Gordon Tan is an entrepreneur based in Australia who has started and sold multiple technology companies with a combined value of $150m. This included a client satisfaction benchmarking platform which gave him first hand insight into the best practices of over 6,000 businesses. After retiring at 35 he is now a recognised thought leader on winning and retaining clients - His two passions: making clients the heartbeat of a business no matter what the product or service and this blog.

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