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Getting a Handle on Surveys for Small Businesses


Is it really that difficult to start and implement?

Most businesses have a pretty good handle on what their customers are saying about their product. However, it’s often what customers are not saying at checkout or during the sales process that could make a huge difference.  If you don’t ask you’ll never know and if you don’t know how to ask it’s very hard to start.

If you’ve never created a survey before the project can seem daunting. You can get a running start thanks to some really AWESOME tools available. Before you rely on the tools, which I’ll share later, you need to ask yourself some pretty simple questions.

Prepare for your survey by asking yourself…

  • Am I willing to change my product or service?
  • Am I ready to hear the good, bad and the ugly?
  • Do I have a team that will be ready to take customer reactions to heart?

Prepare to design a survey by asking yourself …

  • What do I really care to know about?
    • Product quality, customer service, sales process, atmosphere etc.
  • What will I do with this information?
    • Change my product, add new features, restructure my business, earn reviews etc.

Once you answer those questions, you are now in the right mindset to make a survey. Hopefully you can see what those questions are trying to reveal. It’s no use making a survey if you don’t want to change, don’t want to hear what’s wrong and don’t know what you want.

How to word survey questions properly (THE EASY WAY!)

surveymonkey screenshotInstead of giving you the intellectual ins and outs of question creation let me give you a sweet and easy shortcut to being a survey pro. SurveyMonkey!

It’s the best little survey tool a small business can afford. When you start creating your first survey, you’ll notice on the left hand side the Question Bank. Boy-oh-boy! What a stash of amazing, polished, and survey certified questions. It even neatly organizes the questions into goal based information, like customer satisfaction. By sticking with the question bank questions you can ensure you’re asking questions in an unbiased way and that your wording is not confusing.

Here are some tips on survey structure

  • Only have one goal in mind per survey – You’re going to want to make sure your survey will yield actionable results. Jamming in questions about too many aspects of your business will see lower completion rates and give you way too much to process.
  • Keep it short – Your customers time is valuable to them. It’s important you respect this and ask only the questions you believe you’ll need to know. Take your own survey and if it takes you more than 5 minutes you might want to reconsider some questions or implement an incentive program.
  • Provide a time frame – Before they even get to the survey, let your customer know how long you expect the survey to take. As previously stated, their time is valuable so respect it.
  • Ask required personal & demographic questions first – If you need to know their household income or ethnic background etc. ask that first. Not only is this expected, it’s respectful. If your customer does not want to share that information don’t waste their time and leave a bad taste in their mouth after spending their valuable time trying to help your business.
  • Don’t ask too many open ended questions – Open ended questions that require thought and input are valuable. However, asking too many will make it hard to analyze the data when it all comes in. Also, you never know if the answers will be helpful or not. You’ll still want one or two to give the customer an opportunity to have a voice.

How to Implement

Getting the survey to the customer can be easier than you think. You just need to work the survey into your checkout process in some creative ways.

  • mailchimpSurvey cards – Use a great and easy service like Moo and whip up some fancy looking cards with their design tool. On one side make sure you have the URL of your survey. Then just have a stack of these at checkout to hand out to your customers.
  • Thank you emails – When someone checks out online set up an automated email responder asking them to take the survey. Or once a month, export your customer list from your database and use a service like MailChimp (which integrates with SurveyMonkey) and send them an email request to take your survey.
  • Display it on your website – Create a few calls to action throughout your website that link to your survey. Returning customers then have ample opportunity to find and take your survey.

Along with all of these methods you might want to implement an incentive of some sort. That could be something like, “$10 off your next purchase” or “You could win a brand new magical thingy”. Incentives can be a little tricky as you don’t want the customer to feel like the more positive they answer the more likely they are to win or earn something. You need to stress you want honest answers.

OK, ready to get started!?

Have at it and go have some survey building fun. Don’t forget you can also download our guide to Building Trust and keep on learning!

Download our ebook Building Trust