6 Online Customer Satisfaction Survey Tips For Beginners

Companies are drowning in an ocean of lousily designed online customer satisfaction surveys. If you want actionable insight into your customer satisfaction levels, it’s very simple… you need to create a customer survey that asks the right questions and is optimized enough to get high survey response rates.

Many companies make the mistake of solely aiming for a high survey response rate. While this is definitely a priority, you also need meaningful, high-quality responses in order to wholly comprehend your customer’s sentiments towards you, and how you can shift their attitudes.

There are six factors you need to think about when designing a ‘better’ online customer satisfaction survey. You need to brand your survey, make it accessible, limit the length, write an objective, keep it personal and track your feedback.

Join me for a glimpse of each factor.


1. Brand your customer satisfaction survey

Consumers are naturally suspicious of non-branded goods. Likewise, they’ll be suspicious of your survey if there is no recognizable branding on it. For example, if you had a migraine and found a box with the word ‘Panadol’ scrawled across it in blue ballpoint, would you use the pills inside? Unless you’re two-years-old, it’s a safe bet you wouldn’t dare.  If you don’t trust the packaging, you won’t use the product. In like manner, customers won’t engage with your survey unless it’s endorsed by you.

People respond to a non-branded customer satisfaction survey the way you respond when a complete stranger asks you a question. You don’t care, because you won’t see them again. You should exploit your pre-existing relationship, display business logos, colors, high quality graphics and well written text. Remember if your clients know who you are, they’ll try harder to answer honestly and constructively. You’ll get meaningful, accurate data you can use to improve your business’s customer satisfaction levels.

See also: 7 Customer Feedback Survey Mistakes to avoid


2. Make your online survey accessible

When a client fills out a online customer satisfaction survey, they are doing you a favor. In order to get an edge over competing surveys, you need to streamline the process as much as humanly possible. This means designing your survey around your customer’s needs so you get responses from a representative sample – link to the main page?.

Make it accessible by posting it directly to their Inbox, or even better, so your survey ‘responds’ to the device it is being accessed from. These days, nearly everyone on a lunch break is on their phone, perusing the World Wide Web out of sheer boredom. Give your customers access by creating a feedback survey, which can be submitted via mobile as well as email. Just as how you’re more likely to reach for that second doughnut if you can see it, your customers will be more likely to complete your survey if you put it at arm’s length at all times.


3. Keep your customer survey short

Short means not exceeding ten questions and sticking to one page on a 1024 x 768 screen resolution. I know this design sounds scarily minimalistic, but here are the reasons why it’s a good idea:

  1. Eighty four per cent of people don’t read information on the web, they scan it. Customers don’t read the questions properly when the survey drags on.
  2. If there are too many questions, your clients won’t attend to each question thoughtfully. Instead, they’ll rush through looking for the finish line.
  3. Tonnes of questions complicate your analysis. Asking the same question in four different ways creates an unnecessary amount of work for your business.


Another recommendation is keeping answering options simple. A rating scale is best because it’s quick and easy. Not only do text boxes make your survey look time-consuming, they’re also difficult to analyse because they’re often typo-ridden and un-quantifiable.

No one likes completing surveys. Make it as painless as possible for your clientele, and they’ll pay you back with a high volume of quality responses you can use to enhance your business’s customer satisfaction.


4. Make your objective explicit

When you ask clients to complete an online customer satisfaction survey, you’re giving them the power to enact change within your company. People enjoy empowerment, so let them know.

It’s enough to display one or two sentences explaining what you would like the customer to do and why. ‘We want you to fill out our customer survey, so we can give you better customer service.’ The peculiar reality is most customers don’t realize a customer feedback survey gives them a voice to express their deepest disappointments and desires.

Explicitly remind your customers you want to give better customer service based on their feedback, and your customers will respond with enthusiasm. In addition, knowing your own objective helps you organise your questions toward a specific outcome. If customers see and sense your purpose, they’ll see the survey as a worthwhile exercise, and not only will they respond, they’ll respond well.

See also: How to Create a Kickass Customer Feedback Survey


5. Personalize your customer feedback survey

The argument for anonymous customer satisfaction surveys is this: When dealing with a sensitive or intimate issue, anonymous surveys are more likely to produce a higher response rate, and more honest, frank responses. I’d argue given the amount of public flaming and shaming of businesses that goes on in social media, I don’t think honesty is going to be a problem. Let me debunk these myths surrounding anonymous surveys with a few statistics and some good old-fashioned common sense.

My trawl of online literature revealed a whopping one per cent difference between the response rate for anonymous and personalized surveys. Think about whether you’re more likely to respond when someone calls you by name, or by a generic title. In terms of honesty, how much more truthful do you have to be, when you’re accountable to your response? Other studies have found participants slack off when they know they can’t be identified. Not only is your response rate largely unaffected by personalization, you avoid fake responses, and only hear from your clientele.

Personalizing your survey is like personalizing a huge, glass paperweight for someone’s birthday. No matter how much they want to give it back, they’ll still take it because you took the time and effort to personalize it especially for them.


6. Measure and track your feedback over time/design your survey so it can be released every given period

Design your online customer satisfaction survey so it can be released every given period. A given period can mean monthly, yearly or anything you wish. After a few releases, the survey will be integrated into your customers’ routine, giving you omnipresence over your business’s customer satisfaction levels over time. 

You’ll be witness to shifts in your customer sentiments and be able to make informed decisions about renewing, replacing or maintaining certain services. You’ll also be able to identify the exact point in time when the change occurred, and rectify mistakes or build upon what you’re doing well. Best of all, you’ll be able to recognize trends and take proactive action if a customer is dissatisfied with your service.

The effort required to release a customer satisfaction survey regularly pales in comparison to the potential gains of doing so. Not only will your current feedback be analysed against a historical backdrop, your investment in the past won’t be wasted because none of the old information becomes obsolete.


Well designed Online Customer Satisfaction Surveys yield greater actionable insight

Writing any old-school questionnaire is easy. Designing an effective online customer satisfaction survey, which gives you actionable insight into your customer satisfaction levels, requires careful consideration of the six factors we briefly delved into.

You now understand how branding, accessibility, limiting the length, having a solid objective, personalization and tracking your data impact upon the quality and quantity of responses you receive from your customer satisfaction survey.

Implement these ideas now to make your online customer satisfaction survey the best tool you’ve ever had for increasing customer satisfaction and retention.

See also: How to Improve Customer Satisfaction

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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