The dos and don’ts of online customer surveys

customer surveys

Customer surveys are a great way to understand your customers’ mindset, which makes it easier to tailor your products and services to your target market. When used well, surveys will give you a great deal of information about your customers and will make them feel that you are interested in their opinions. However, there are several mistakes that businesses often make when setting up their surveys.

This dos and don’ts list will help you avoid them!


…make your surveys short and concise. While customers are often willing to engage in surveys, they won’t want to spend hours doing so. The most common consumer complaint about online surveys is that they are long and boring. So stick to the key questions and word them well.

…ensure that they are user-friendly. If the process isn’t straightforward, respondents will give up before the survey is complete. Minimise the amount of scrolling they have to do to answer the questions and include a progress bar so that they can see how close they are to completion.

…make it mobile-friendly. Around 75% of surveys are likely to be completed on a mobile device rather than on a desktop computer, so it’s essential that you get the formatting right for smartphone and tablet users. If your survey isn’t mobile-friendly you will significant reduce the reach of your survey significantly.

…give feedback. Customers want to know that they are being heard, so a simple graphic or message on your website summarising what people have said will let them know that their views are valued. You may also wish to explain what you are planning to change as a result, for example lower delivery charges or a more interactive website.


…overdo it. Customers receive countless survey invitations every year and if you make them too frequent they will stop engaging and may even be put off buying from you.

…be too general. Think about what you want to achieve from each survey you produce, ensuring that the questions are targeted and that the answers will yield useful information. You don’t need to know every detail of your customers’ lives; focus on the details you need, for example which products they are most interested in or their estimated budget for your services.

…limit people’s opportunities to air their views. Tick boxes work well for surveys and will offer easy-to-analyse data. However, it may be helpful to give people space to add further comments in case the multiple choice answers don’t fit their unique perspectives. All comments are worth listening to, but if you keep getting the same feedback you can assume that your customers share a common view about a particular issue.

…ignore the results! The chances are, your customers will give feedback that you may not want to hear and you may need to change certain aspects of your business as a result. Failure to do so makes the survey process a waste of time and devalues your customers’ views.

If you are looking to set up a successful survey campaign and need some help and support, contact WSI-eMarketing today.

Image credits: Brooke Lark

This entry was posted in Customer Reviews, Digital Marketing, ORM, Reputation Management and tagged , , , by Rob Thomas. Bookmark the permalink.

About Rob Thomas

Rob lives and breathes Social Technology, Social Media & Mobile Marketing. He will show you how to use them to improve many areas of your bottom line, not just Marketing! He’ll show you how to enhance and protect your reputation, whilst generating increased sales, reduced costs and improved customer acquisition and retention. Recognised as an expert in reputation management, digital and mobile marketing, Rob is a professional speaker both in the U.S. and across Europe. In addition to consultation services, including the “12 step process to achieve Social Proficiency” programme, Rob also coaches, trains and provides implementation services to help business owners, organisational leaders and their teams. If you want/need Rob to speak at one of your events please email him You can follow me on Google+