How Businesses Can Leverage Customer Surveys to Their Advantage

Let’s consider for a moment how much it can cost a business to acquire a new customer. Typically, that figure would be 10 times greater than retaining an existing customer. When you focus the lens with that statistic in mind, it makes lots of sense to stay close to your current customers and make sure they’re happy with your company. Aside from satisfaction level data, your customer base can serve as an excellent partner to provide your team with feedback, suggestions, and ideas to make the company bigger and better. Sort of an extended family, if you will; you know, like Aunt Martha who always tells you when she’s not happy and is sure to tell you how to fix it. Surveys are the perfect tool to keep an ongoing dialogue with your clients and serve up a continuous flow of feedback and insight for your business.


You can literally survey people about any topic, but most businesses focus on feedback after purchase or collect data related to a specific product or behavior. For example, I happened to be on the Ulta web site (for holiday gifts) and was prompted to take a survey focused on my behavior and rationale for shopping on Black Friday. The best surveys are short, simple, and focused on very specific goals. Surveys provide valuable intelligence for your business including a gauge of customer satisfaction, ideas for new products or expansion opportunities, marketing campaign feedback, and, most importantly, a connection to better understand and learn about your clients.


Surveys can be delivered by many avenues, what’s best really depends on your audience. Options available are email, website, social media, mail, phone, in-store, and inserted with package. Obviously cost is a large factor to consider with email and web as the most cost-effective portals. As a general rule you can expect feedback after purchase surveys to generate anywhere from a 2-15% response. How easy it is to access and complete the survey is key to a good response rate. Industry experts recommend no more than 10 questions per survey and it should take less than five minutes to complete; anything greater will erode results. Be sure to include space for free-form comments throughout the survey so customers can tell you the story behind their ratings. Effective surveys regularly open the lines of communication with your customers leading to a loyal following and greater satisfaction levels.


Don’t forget the incentive.  Send the survey in advance with a gift or offer a thank you gift after their submission.  Partner with a fulfillment provider to make this seamless to your process.


Survey DOs and DON’Ts

  • Don’t ask overly general questions with no purpose. It’s a waste of time on both sides.
  • Don’t force survey takers to give their information. Anonymous surveys make people more comfortable and deliver more truthful answers.
  • Don’t forget to thank responders and if negative input is sent respond quickly and try to make it right.
  • Do make the survey easy to get to, less than 10 questions, and a simple return (for mail)
  • Do add an incentive for responding. Monetary or free gift incentives can boost response by an astounding 19.1%!
  • Do add a progress bar for web surveys such as % complete or 2/7 questions done. The greatest web survey erosion occurs when responders quit midway because they don’t know how much more time they have to spend.
  • Do send the survey out as close to the interaction as possible. Waiting even a few days reduces response and makes it hard for the customer to remember relevant details.
  • Do consider a “Take our Quiz” vs. “Take our Survey” approach, people love quizzes and response rates are typically double.


The survey space is huge, there are many simple and cost-effective tools available to help get you started. Here are just a few popular survey tools to consider:

SurveyMonkey, QuestionPro, Survey Anyplace, Snap Surveys, Survey Gizmo, Customer Thermometer. So, what are you waiting for? Resolve to partner with your customers and work together to make 2017 the best year ever!


Call Three Dog Logistics to help develop your plan for sending the thank you premium.  Remember, we take the bite out of postage and freight. Visit or call 410-284-5494 extension 220 to schedule a complimentary consultation today.