Customer satisfaction surveys are a great way to gain valuable insight about what your customers think about you. This list of ten dos and don'ts for customer satisfaction surveys will help you make sure you're getting the most out of your surveys.

Don't ask leading questions

Asking questions which direct your customers towards a certain response is one of the easiest ways to make your data completely meaningless. While you might be able to get a high score, you'll end up with data which won't help you improve your business. To avoid influencing your data with your questions, think very carefully about how your questions are worded and ensure they're proofread by someone else before you send them out.

Don't understate how long it will take

Ever taken a "2 minute" customer feedback survey that ended up being 10 minutes? It's not a fun experience. People will realize very quickly when you've lied to them about the time and effort involved in a survey, and most will either give up halfway through, or stop caring about their responses. Neither situation is desirable, so make sure you set reasonable expectations.

Don't hassle your customers

If a customer hasn't taken your survey after one or two emails, they're probably not interested. Low response rates are frustrating, so the impulse to send just one more reminder about your survey is understandable. However, spamming your customer's inboxes with requests for survey responses is just going to annoy them, and is unlikely to convince them to do the survey.

Don't make big changes if you want to compare between surveys

Researchers often want to compare the results of surveys over time, in order to track changes in customer satisfaction. However, if you're going to do this, it's crucial to keep the survey the same every time. Otherwise, you'll be comparing apples to oranges, and any meaningful changes will be obscured.

Don't survey too often

It's tempting to survey all your customers about every single interaction they have with you, or to send all your customers a survey every month. However, receiving too many surveys will burn out even your most reliable respondents. Survey fatigue is real! If you really need to send a lot of surveys, consider segmenting your database and not sending every survey to every person. This will help you avoid overwhelming your customers while still collecting the data you need.

Do keep it short and focused

Do you really need your customers to answer a 40 question survey? In almost all situations, it's better to ask as few questions as possible. After all, it's usually better to gather a smaller amount of useful data than a large amount of useless data. Keeping your surveys short and sweet will also encourage more people to complete them, since they don't need to schedule half an hour for your customer satisfaction survey.

In order to keep the length down, really hone in on the core of what you want to know. Focus your questions on the specifics, and avoid asking questions just because you can.

Do speak your customer's language

Unless you're a market researcher selling to other market researchers, you'll need to adapt your language so that your customers can easily understand what you're asking. This means no fancy jargon! Know your customers, and speak to them in their own terms. This will make you much more approachable, and lead to better quality responses.

Do treat your survey as a brand interaction

It's important to remember that customer satisfaction surveys are a brand interaction, and that the way you handle them will influence your customer's opinion of you. Simple touches, like sending a follow-up email thanking them for their time, can really change the way people perceive you.

Do ask open-ended questions

While open-ended questions can be time-consuming to analyze, the effort is worth it. These questions give your customers the space to express how they feel, and can be a source of valuable feedback. They might even reveal something you've never considered!

Do utilize the results

There's no point doing surveys if you don't use the results to take action. Once you've done the analysis and you know what your customers want, use that insight to improve!

Learn how to Measure Customer Satisfaction in Displayr

Check out our interactive tutorial