Customer Survey Questions: Here Are 14 Essential Questions You Should Ask Your Customers

Customer Survey Questions: Here Are 14 Essential Questions You Should Ask Your Customers

Thinking of sending out a customer survey? Then you’re in the right place. Today we’re going to be looking at how to craft your customer survey, the questions you should ask, and the questions you should avoid. Let’s get started.

Types of Customer Surveys

There are different types of customer surveys that each have their own purpose. You can design a survey that falls into one of these categories or design a more general survey. These of the types of customer surveys:

In our questions below, we will highlight if a question falls into one of these categories.

14 Essential Questions You Should Ask

  1. How Often Do You Use Our Product?

The purpose of this question is to find out how useful your product is to the customer and whether your expectations match reality. If your product is something that is intended to be used every day, like a fitness tracker, then you want to see this reflected in the responses. If customers are using your product less frequently, then it might mean it’s failing to meet their expectations.

However, it could just mean that something is missing in your marketing. For products that should be used regularly, you want the customer to form a habit loop. This is when the customer is prompted to use your product and it becomes a habit for them to repeat this action. An interesting example of successful habit marketing is Febreze air freshener. When the product first launched, the marketers tried to demonstrate triggers and rewards in their advertising. The ad showed a woman negatively reacting to cigarette smoke in a restaurant. Her coat would smell of smoke when she left…But not if she used Febreze to eliminate the odors. The marketers were happy with the ad and started patiently awaiting their bonus cheques. After all, they’d demonstrated a clear use case for Fabreze. People dislike bad smells and now they could be free of them with a few simple sprays. Well, those bonuses never came. People weren’t buying Febreze.

The marketers missed something crucial, they just didn’t know what. They canvassed consumers of the product and did their own research. They visited one woman who described herself as a neat freak. However, this was only half true. Her house was neat and tidy, but she had 9 cats and the odor of these furballs was overpowering. It even made one researcher gag! He asked her how she coped with the smell, did Fabreze help eliminate it? She said the cats didn’t smell so she didn’t need to use the product much at all!

People get so used to the smells around them that they no longer smell them at all. This is what they missed. It’s not smelly people who use the product. Instead, it was people who formed a habit. These people would clean a room and then spray Fabreze when they were finished. Spraying Fabreze meant they were finished cleaning; it was their reward for completing the action. Febreze changed its marketing and it became a huge success.

Demographic questions

Demographic questions

The purpose of demographic questions is to find out who is using your product. Is it mostly people in a certain age bracket? Mostly men? Mostly single people? Once you know who uses your product the most, you can design marketing to target other people in this bracket.

  1. What is your age?
  1. Where do you live?
  1. Are you employed?
  1. What is your marital status?
  1. Do you have children?
  1. How satisfied are you with our product? (milestone)

For this, you should provide a 1-5 or 1-10 scale. It’s also a good idea to provide a free-text box so customers can explain what they think of your product if they want to. This question will help you gauge how effective (on average) your product is at meeting your customer’s goals and whether it’s working as you intended. It’s a good idea to set a baseline for what you expect the answer to be before you send the survey out.

This way you can compare the actual results to your expectations. Be realistic here. Not everyone will give your product a 10, even if you think it deserves it. People are also less likely to give extreme answers (1 or 10) for simple products that have a basic utility. This is because people often answer this question as though they are answering the question “Do you love our product?”. No one really loves a garlic crusher, no matter how great it is at crushing garlic.

  1. How can we improve your customer experience?

Here you can provide multiple answers for the customer to choose from, or provide a text box, or both.

  1. Does our product meet your goals/solve your needs? (CSAT)
  1. How can we improve your customer experience?

Here you can provide multiple answers for the customer to choose from, or provide a text box, or both.

  1. How likely are you to recommend our product to your friends and family? (NPS)
  1. Were you able to contact customer service promptly when you needed to? (CES)
  1. What, if anything, almost stopped you from buying from us?
  1. Do you have anything to add?

Questions to Avoid

If you have your own ideas for questions you want to ask your customers, then great! The more specific and personal to your business the question is, the better. However, before you jump in, here are the things you should avoid.

Leading Questions

A leading question is when you craft a question in a way that tries to manipulate the customer into answering the way you want. You can either do this by directly suggesting the answer you want them to give, for example:

Our product meets all of your expectations, doesn’t it?

Or by using biased language, for example:

Do you like our amazing new product?

In both examples, you are trying to sway the customer into thinking or feeling a certain way. Leading questions are never useful. Their only purpose is to try and sway the results to get the answers you want. Sure, you might get some pretty looking data, but what did you learn? You don’t know if your customers actually like your product. A lot of people also spot leading questions and will become angry towards your brand for trying to manipulate them. It’s best to avoid leading questions altogether.

Dishonest or Misleading Answers

When using multiple-choice questions, they must be balanced. An example of a question and answers in this section is:

Our product meets your goals:

This is an extreme example, but you’d be surprised how many companies use this tactic. You’ll notice that there’s no option for the customer to disagree. This means when the company publishes the survey results, they can say “100% of our customers agree that our product meets their goals”. It might make for good marketing material but it’s dishonest and not useful to your company.

Assumptive Questions

Assumptive Questions

These are questions where you assume something about your customer in the question. Since the goal of your survey is to get honest and unbiased responses, it’s best to avoid these questions because they lead to false answers. Here are some examples of assumptive questions:

These questions can be asked, as long as you ask a qualifying question first or you allow for an “N/A” answer. The issue with these questions is that you are assuming things about your customers. You assume that they exercise, you assume that they eat pizza, and you assume that they dine in restaurants.

Double Barreled Questions

This is when you ask two questions in one but only allow for one answer. This forces the customer to answer in a way that doesn’t reflect their whole experience or their true feelings about the separate events. Here are some examples of double-barreled questions:

Questions That Use Jargon

For your survey to be effective, it must be widely understood. This means you shouldn’t include language that isn’t understood by the majority of the population. The only exception to this is when you sell a product that fits into a specific niche, where the people buying the product would have to understand the terminology to buy the product.

For example, instead of saying:

Did you find our IVR system useful?

You could ask:

When you contact customer service, did you get put through to the right department?

Confusing Questions

These are questions where the meaning of the question isn’t clear or might confuse readers. This could be because you used a double-negative like “The customer service rep was not unhelpful” rather than “The customer service rep was helpful Agree/disagree”

Or it could be because you are using wordy sentences that don’t get to the point. If the customer has to read your question several times to understand it, then it’s not a good question.

Final Tips for Creating Great Surveys

You’re not ready to write your customer survey! Remember that you want your survey to tell you important information about your customers and your product. You can then use this information to improve your customer experience or create better products. Craft your survey with this in mind. Decide what you want to get out of your survey before you begin and you’ll get more meaningful results. 

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