What makes a question good bad

Customer surveys and customer satisfaction analyzes are important elements in quality management. A good survey, however, requires some strategic planning: because in addition to the right medium, you also need to pick the right questions.

In the following, we will show you the questions you should ask your customers.

Tips for the perfect customer survey

Regardless of whether your survey comes in digital form as an app, e-mail or online survey or stationary as a classic paper questionnaire: it should always meet certain criteria.

introduction

Your survey should give the participants a friendly welcome and indicate the time frame. You should also refer to your goal: For example, to learn more about what your customers want.

Middle part

Make sure no leading questions, because otherwise you will influence your participants and accordingly will not receive any usable result. Instead, choose closed questions with no room for interpretation. This is particularly important for an online survey, as there is a chance that the participants will end the survey prematurely, otherwise confused.

In addition, it is advisable to keep a similar selection format or at least to change little between the display of the selection. For example, you can repeatedly present the participants with a scale from 1 to 10 or the traditional grading scale from 1 to 6 as a range of choices.

Final part

At the end of the survey, you should definitely thank the participants for participating. See the participants as potential customers or customers with the potential to become regular customers. A good survey should also end with the question of further suggestions or comments. This gives customers the opportunity to freely formulate their thoughts and provide new food for thought that goes beyond the survey.

Create a survey: these tools will help you

Before you start with the content, you should choose a medium for your survey and think about the extent to which you want to spread your survey.

Of course, there are plenty of tools for creating surveys: Google Forms, for example, are suitable for e-mail surveys. If you want to make your survey accessible to a wide range of people and expect a correspondingly large amount of feedback, it is worth using Microsoft Forms. Because there you can put your results in tables to keep track of things.

Customer survey: 11 sample questions

1. How satisfied are you with us as a company?

Before you move on to product evaluation, you can find out the general level of customer satisfaction with your company. This gives you an overview of how customers generally feel about you.

Enter a scale for the evaluation, for example from 1 (very satisfied) to 5 (very unsatisfied).

2. How satisfied are you with the quality of our product?

You can ask this question if the purchase of a product was some time ago and customers have had time to deal with a new purchase.

You can use a rating scale from 1 (very satisfied) to 5 (very unsatisfied).

3. Which points do you particularly value?

With this question you will determine what the customer's priorities are exactly. It prepares the ground for the question that follows.

For example, you can offer:

  • price
  • quality
  • installation
  • service
  • handling

The customers can again use the scale from 1 (very satisfied) to 5 (very dissatisfied).

4. How satisfied were you with these points for our product?

This follow-up question on point three determines to what extent your product met the respective priorities of the customers.

The selection options should therefore be identical to point three:

  • price
  • quality
  • installation
  • service
  • handling

The customers can again use the scale from 1 (very satisfied) to 5 (very dissatisfied), but a further sixth option (not to be assessed) should be added, since probably not every customer is already detailed with all aspects of your product has dealt.

5. To what extent did our product meet your needs?

With this question you will find out whether the expectations of the customers have been met by your product. In terms of content, this question serves as a supplement to points three and four.

Possible options to choose from can range from “The product completely met my needs” to “The product would not meet my needs at all” on a five-point scale.

6. Compared with other products, our product is ...

To find out how your product compares, you can ask the question about the competition's products.

The best way to do this is to make a selection in the form of graded adjectives (good to bad). Again, you use the scale from 1 to 5 as a basis, where 1 stands for “much better” and 5 for “much worse”. As an additional option you can insert “not to be judged” again.

7. In which area do you use our product?

If you would like to get a more precise picture of how your product is used, this question can provide you with information. The answers enable you to optimize your advertising initiatives and pitches for your customers in the future.

You can specify various potential areas of application for your product as options. The participants should be allowed to select several areas.

For example, if you sell tablets, it could look like this:

  • Leisure activities (films, games, apps)
  • Smart home control
  • job
  • Travel companion
  • Children's leisure activities (films, games, apps)
  • Other (please fill in)

8. How do you rate the performance of our service staff?

With this question you identify how well your service works from the customer's point of view. Since not every customer is automatically in contact with your service, you should definitely include the option “not to be judged” here so as not to lose customers who are overwhelmed. It is also a good idea to provide a comment field for customers who give a bad rating so that they can get to the bottom of their service problem.

You can again use a scale from 1 (excellent) to 5 (very bad) for evaluation.

9. How likely is it that you will recommend us to others?

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) measures the question of the willingness of customers to recommend them. Traditionally, the scale here ranges from 0 to 10, starting at 0 (extremely unlikely) and ending at 10 (extremely likely).

10. How long have you been a customer of our company?

This question allows you to contextualize the responses received so far from the participants. You will also receive valuable information on how new and regular customers may differ in their assessment of your product and your company. This offers a starting point for further research.

The options could look something like this:

  • Initial purchase
  • Less than 6 months
  • 6-12 months
  • 12-24 months
  • Over two years

11. How likely is it that you will buy from us again?

If you want to have a forecast of customer loyalty, you can include this question. It tries to determine what proportion of customers are considering buying from you again and who are more likely to churn. In terms of customer loyalty, this is important information because it shows you whether there is a need for action.

The participants can again be presented with a scale from 1 (“extremely likely”) to 5 (“extremely unlikely”). Customers who tick 4 or 5 should then offer a comment field for their criticism so that they can give you impetus.

Customer surveys have a lot of potential to give you valuable insights into the needs, assessments and also problems of your customers with regard to your product or service. In addition, surveys give customers a place to give their opinion. This gives them the impression that they have the right to participate, which is an advantage in terms of customer loyalty.

Net Promoter, Net Promoter System, Net Promoter Score, NPS and the NPS-related emoticons are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Fred Reichheld and Satmetrix Systems, Inc.

Header image: karandaev / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Originally published August 16, 2019, updated 08 January 2021

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