Time to re-evaluate your customer feedback collection strategies.

Customer surveys can be an incredibly helpful tool, but just sending them out of habit without a carefully crafted, strategic and actionable collection of questions can be a waste of your time as well as your customers’.

Let’s put that customer survey on the table and do some triage by looking at the most important things to consider before you send out your next survey.

Ask the right questions

Questions like “How did you hear about us?” are great for allocating marketing budgets but do little to really tell you about your customer’s experience. Questions like “Would you recommend us to a friend?” give far more insight into how you’re doing in the eyes of your customers.

Get specific

Know why you’re collecting feedback. What information or data do you need to solve a specific problem you’re facing or grow as a business? Only ask questions that are going to further your mission, and ones that you’ll be able to act on. Filler questions or those you feel “should” be on your survey because they’re on everybody else’s are just time wasters for your customers. If you don’t need them, cut them.

Ask open ended questions

Keep questions open ended whenever possible and don’t make it easy for participants to give one word answers unless that’s truly all you really need.

A great example comes from an article published on Inc. which discusses “good questions” vs. “great questions.” As outlined in the article., a good question might sound something like “How is our team doing on your project?,” but a great question would be “What is the most recent example of how we have exceeded your expectations on this project?” or “Is there a recent example where we have not met your expectations?”

The phrasing in these questions encourages your customers to tell a story and give you real, tangible examples of how your actions are being perceived.

Consider the features that affect sentiment the most

A ConsumerAffairs study on the science of reviews analyzed the core qualities of the buying cycle including delivery, appearance, function/performance, customer service and durability/reliability and then weighed the features against whether the situation was good or bad. We found the qualities that drove ratings the most in both positive and negative directions (as in: do good, it gets higher; do bad, it gets lower) were the product’s function/performance and customer service.

Centering some questions around these topics to get greater insight on how you’re doing in those areas will likely pack a lot of punch for your bottom line.