Using Customer Surveys to Gather Website Feedback

« Go Back | Posted in: Business Strategy - on June 18, 2013


Having a website is a great way to establish yourself online. But once you’re up and running, you’ll likely find a number of situations where you want to learn more about your customers. Whether you’re looking to do some market research or planning to ask customers to help grow your product line, surveys can be a great way to get feedback directly from your audience.

What Types of Information Can Online Surveys Generate?

Although customer surveys can be a powerful sales and marketing resource, many businesses balk at the idea of creating these valuable tools. Unfortunately, this limiting mindset means that they’re missing out on gathering all of the following types of information:

  • Ideas for future product line additions or extensions
  • Data on which potential promotions will perform best with existing audience members
  • Demographic data that can be used to shape advertising budgets
  • Mindset insight that gives businesses a better understanding of its customers

Best of all, capturing all of this data and more can be done quickly and easily using online survey programs…

Why You Should Use Online Survey Programs

If you’re ready to start using online surveys on your website, don’t start from scratch! Online survey programs offer all of the following advantages when it comes to customer data generation:

  1. Ease of Use – Pre-built survey programs offer an easy-to-use way to generate customer feedback. Without having to build the technology from scratch, you can easily put together a number of surveys using free programs like SurveyMonkey. These surveys can include several different question types, from multiple choice, to true or false, to stack ranking.
  2. Built-In Analytics – Online survey tools often offer analytics as well. This means that you don’t need to create a method for tracking responses on your own. Instead, online survey tools automatically track responses and allow you to quickly put together reports. This way, you can analyze your data and create professional-looking reports to distribute to your team.
  3. Email Invitations and Reminders – When crafting a survey, it’s important to remember that most online survey programs include email tools. This allows you to send an invitation to complete the survey directly to your customers, increasing the likelihood that you’ll get responses. You can also schedule reminders to prompt people to complete the survey or pre-load thank you notes to be sent to all those who participated when the survey is over. This is a much better alternative than the old days of cold calling people to complete a survey!
  4. Ability to Target or Do A/B Testing – In some cases, you may want to get the opinion of several different groups when crafting a single survey. Online survey programs allow you to easily create multiple versions of your survey. This way, you can target the right groups with every survey you release. You can also use this feature to do the A/B testing that will allow you to better understand your results.

How You Can Run Online Surveys

If you’ve decided to gather customer feedback, but aren’t sure how to manage a survey on your own, you’ll likely want to look into some existing tools to help you do so. The following two web survey tools lay the foundation of great survey generation for you:

SurveyMonkey offers both a free and paid version of its survey tool. The free version is great for small, informal surveys – allowing you to gather responses from up to 100 people. This is often used by students, for internal surveys or for small businesses first venturing into surveys. The paid version offers much more functionality, including the ability to customize surveys, skip questions and download survey reports. However, the look and feel of SurveyMonkey surveys may not be as polished as some businesses desire.

SurveyGizmo falls in the mid-range, as far as prices for survey tools go. This program allows you to customize the look and feel of your survey, and you can also embed videos and images hosted on your own website through this tool. Perhaps most importantly, SurveyGizmo offers easy integration with the MailChimp newsletter tool. This drastically increases its ease of use if you’re already a MailChimp customer.

Tips for Running Online Surveys

Before you even think about sending your surveys out to your customers, design your surveys keeping the following principles in mind to increase your likelihood of receiving responses:

  1. Keep Surveys Short – As you may have experienced yourself when people call to ask you to complete a survey, it can be frustrating to sit and answer questions for any length of time. Make sure your surveys reflect only the most important questions you currently have. Surveys should take the customer roughly five minutes to complete. Any more than that and you run the risk of the quality of the answers declining over time. You also run the risk that you customers won’t answer your survey at all – letting all of your hard work go to waste.
  2. Offer Incentives – Often, customers don’t want to take the time to complete your survey. Not only is this a good reason to keep your surveys short – it’s also why you may want to consider offering an incentive for those customers who do complete your questionnaire. Depending on how badly you want the customer’s feedback, this can range from a discount on future goods and services to raffling off an iPad to one lucky winner. Incentives do not sway customers’ opinions, but they do prompt them to offer them to you in the first place.
  3. Do Not Use Leading Questions – It’s fairly easy to find yourself writing survey questions that show your own bias. For instance, if you hate chocolate ice cream you may find yourself writing questions like “Does anyone even like chocolate ice cream?” By showing your own bias, you’re giving the customers subliminal cues as to what you think they should answer. Instead, try to keep questions as neutral as possible so that you can get your customers’ opinions – rather than your own reflected back to you.
  4. Have a Clear Call to Action – When you’d like customers to respond to your survey, it’s important that you make your calls to action very clear. Since surveys typically only last for a few days or weeks, you want customers to take action as soon as they see the survey. Your copy should be concise and explain exactly what you want the customer to do, as well as how they’ll qualify for the incentive you’re offering.

Surveys can be a great way to garner feedback from customers about your website, products and services, helping you to better understand what your customers are thinking. With a few easy steps, online surveys provide great data with little risk – so get started with your first questionnaire today!

Do you use customer surveys? What are some tips and tricks you use when crafting a survey?

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