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5 Steps to Building an Effective Customer Survey in 2022

Written by Alida

Published March 24, 2022

Only one in 26 customers are  likely to complain about the product or service issues they are facing on their own. The rest will gradually become unhappy and leave your company without you ever getting a chance to learn what went wrong or how you could address the issue.

In a world where customer retention is more important than ever, knowledge about what your customers actually want can be priceless, so organizations that leverage the customer survey tools available today gain an instant advantage over their competitors.

But how can you develop an effective customer survey in 2022? What software should you use? And what makes a good survey, anyway?

These are the questions we'll explore in more depth below.



Should You Be Using Customer Surveys?

Before we dig into the details on how to put together useful surveys, it's a good idea to look at some of the main reasons you should be using customer satisfaction surveys. That is if you should be using online surveys in the first place.

After all, customer surveys can be time-consuming, difficult to put together, and the insights you gain might not always be helpful. But despite that, thousands of forward-thinking companies use customer satisfaction surveys as a central part of their decision-making process.

Let's look at a few reasons why that's the case.


Learn Your Customers' Perspective

Even though you may believe you understand your customers, being on the business side of the interactions means you will likely have a skewed view of how your buyers feel, what they want, and how you could improve what you are doing.

Because of that, customer satisfaction surveys can be incredibly powerful if you want to better understand the perspective that the majority of your customers share. By using both open-ended and closed-ended questions, you can get insights into how your customers interact with your brand, products, and marketing campaigns.

You can also see how they view your company against others in the market, what they would like to see improved, what drew them to your company in the first place, and countless other valuable aspects that can help you become better at catering to their needs.


Gather VOC Data

Voice-of-customer data is becoming one of the biggest difference-makers in the world of marketing and sales. Basically, it's the feedback that customers provide about your business, but VOC data goes beyond that and includes the specific thoughts, phrases, and words that your customers use to express their feelings.

VOC data, therefore, can be used not just to understand what you are doing well or what you need to improve but also as a central part of your marketing messages, sales materials, and content. 

If you can help prospects understand your product's main advantages in their own words and by emphasizing what matters most to them, you can cut through the clutter, avoid empty marketing jargon, and get to the very heart of the issues they want to solve.

Being able to speak to the customers on their terms and in their language is a huge advantage to have when forming stronger bonds with your audience. And customer surveys play a vital role in acquiring voice-of-customer data that you can use to make that happen.


Identify Areas for Improvement

The success of any business depends on its ability to improve. But these improvements can't really happen in a vacuum. You need customers who can point you in the right direction regarding what you need to focus on.

Your customers use your products every day, so they are likely to have unique insights about what isn't convenient, doesn't generate the desired results, or is failing to accomplish its intended purpose.

At the same time, you may learn things that are working surprisingly well, even if not as intended. Users can be incredibly resourceful when using your product, which means you might discover new applications for your solutions, find easy feature additions that could significantly boost your product's appeal, and gain an advantage over the competition in the process.



How to Leverage Software

While it's clear that conducting customer satisfaction surveys with your customers offers many advantages, you may not be entirely sure how to approach it. But the good news is that today, you can leverage a variety of powerful software solutions that simplify the process and make it accessible to companies of all sizes.

But how can you leverage software for conducting surveys? Here are a few ways it can make the process much simpler.


Utilize Survey Question Types

One of the biggest advantages of using survey software is the ability to leverage the provider's expertise in organizing effective surveys. These solution providers have vast amounts of experience putting together surveys and have applied the industry-leading best practices in developing closed-ended and open-ended question types that are the most likely to provide valuable insights.

At the same time, these different customer satisfaction survey questions are designed to create maximum engagement from the respondents, helping you get more informative answers and generate insights you can actually use.

When you need to continually generate insights through customer satisfaction survey questions, having a software solution with customer satisfaction survey templates can greatly speed up the process, allowing you to go from having questions to getting answers much faster.




Reporting is probably the most impactful part of comprehensive customer survey software. Using advanced reporting and analysis capabilities, you can uncover valuable insights about your customers and their responses.

Once you generate insights using tools and segmentation options, you can then generate engaging and visually-appealing reports that you can share with your team, making it easier to understand the key points of customer feedback surveys and ensuring that everyone understands what information the customer survey provided.


AI-Based Text Analysis

Finally, you can use survey management solutions to generate advanced insights using machine learning and AI. For example, you can tag and categorize responses based on various criteria, utilizing machine learning to go through many responses at once to get at the very core of the common themes that your customer base has in their responses.

Using AI technology, you can quickly gain a better understanding of whether the surveys were positive, negative, neutral, or mixed in terms of the sentiment of the people that were surveyed.



What Makes a Great Customer Survey in 2022

With any project in business, there are best practices you can follow to increase the likelihood of achieving good results. And when it comes to surveys, the difference between a good and bad survey can be astronomical. 

To help you ensure that the time and resources you invest in creating and running surveys pays off and you get a good response rate, here are a few of the best practices you should consider.


Figure Out the "Why"

The best surveys must have a clear purpose. That purpose will dictate every decision you make, so you need to carefully think about why you're putting it together, what you want to learn, and who are the people that should provide you with responses. 

Look at the end goal of the survey and identify the key insights you would like to generate. It can be both a specific answer or a more general insight about the direction you should be taking. However, the answer should still be identifiable and something you can measure the success of the survey campaign against.


Identify the "Who" 

Once you know what you want to find out, it's a good idea to flesh out the person you want to reach. After all, the answers will only be valuable if you are getting them from the people you want to cater to.

Think about the customers, who they are, and the best way to reach them. Also, consider what questions you should ask to segment the loyal customers further and identify patterns in the sub-groups of your audience.


Keep the Survey Concise

When you're putting together a survey, you will be tempted to use as many questions as possible. But while getting more information can seem appealing, it won't matter if you can't get the questions answered and your customers leave the survey without finishing it.

You need to clearly define what you want to learn from the survey responses and who you're surveying, and then design the survey accordingly. Trim anything that's not essential, as it's better to know less overall information but find the most important answers you were looking for.


Get Enough Responses

The sample size of your customer survey plays a vital role in the reliability of the results. You need good survey response rates if you want to be able to make decisions based on the results of your business.

Think about how many people you need to get answers from for them to account for a significant enough percentage of your overall audience. Then, plan different methods for reaching out to customers and getting them to take the survey. 


Incentivize the Survey


Taking the time to fill out a survey can be a big ask from your customers. They are busy, distracted, and not very motivated to fill out a form just because you ask them. In fact, poorly-designed surveys can even hurt the overall customer experience. Therefore, you might need to incentivize it if you want more people to respond and be motivated to fill in the answers.

Some of the best ways to get people more excited to take your survey include offering a small discount or gift cards for everyone who takes the time to participate. If you want to add a bigger prize, you could organize a drawing for a winner from a pool of respondents, making the potential of winning more appealing.


Bottom Line

Building an effective customer survey can be a great way to learn more about your customers' needs, the typical customer journey, and make better-informed decisions about where your business should be headed.

And the good news is that the survey software available today makes organizing effective surveys very simple, even for small companies. The key is to know what you want to learn, who to ask, what simple question types to use, and how to get people to respond.


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