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Customer Survey: Do You Know or Suspect How Your Customers rate you?

Lars-Thorsten Sudmann
Mar 13, 2020 5:10:05 PM

Many companies or tenured sales staff claim they know their customers well. However, they are surprised when they learn about their clients’ actual needs and complaints. Front-line workers have vast knowledge and experience indeed. However, they are not immune to mistakes. 

  • Companies are wise to carry out surveys from time to time to avoid missing their customers’ needs. It is the only way to meet their true desires and address complaints.
  • Customer surveys must have a clearly defined goal, as well as clear and unambiguous questions. They should be short to avoid overburdening respondents.
  • If a survey highlights important desires and complaints of customers, the company should act accordingly. It must be explicitly justified to customers where this is not possible.


There is always the danger of getting lost in routines and missing new developments. This applies to everyone in a business. Also, today's market is determined to a much greater extent by the actions of buyers than in the past, which is solely caused by the almost limitless supply of most products on the internet. Nevertheless, customer loyalty is still possible. For this, however, companies should not be groping in the dark. Therefore, it is advisable to ask customers for feedback regularly both in person and with specially developed customer surveys.

How to Design a Good Customer Survey

Customer surveys are used to gather honest feedback on relevant topics. Therefore, the design of such a survey should be well planned, carried out consistently and reviewed professionally. The first step will always be to define the purpose of a survey. Next, the format must be determined – the survey could be carried out online, on paper or potentially face-to-face. As time is money, participants should receive an incentive such as a gesture of gratitude.

Straightforward Questions - Straightforward Answers

Clearly articulated questions result in clear answers. Questions should be unambiguous especially if a survey takes place online or in writing. If detailed answers are needed, one should not ask non-specific questions nor too many closed ones. Multiple-choice questions should offer an even number of possible answers to avoid people ticking the impartial mean. Finally, it is essential to give participants the option to voice personal comments. Often, this is where companies get their most valuable customer feedback.

Online Surveys Are the Way to Go

Online surveys are the most commonly used survey format in the digital age. This excludes hardly any potential participants, as internet penetration is approaching 100%, and is especially true if customers are contacted through newsletters or emails. However, data protection concerns weigh seriously against online surveys. This risk can be largely reduced by using professional polling software, restricting access rights to the answers and storing data on secured domestic servers. The fact that respondents do not have to face a person, but can practically submit their answers anonymously, can increase the honesty of the answers provided, which is very desirable. On the other hand, online surveys are prone not to be fully completed.

This Requires Action

Investing any customer survey is only justifiable if the responses are taken seriously and result in necessary actions. Customers deserve a well-reasoned answer if they repeatedly voice wishes or complaints yet implementing them is difficult or impossible. Simply ignoring such issues since “nothing can be done about it anyway” can cause customers to become seriously angry or even leave. That’s why it is crucial to afford customer surveys, their evaluation and the required follow-up the highest priority possible, as management can initiate any required improvement projects.


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