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Customer Reviews

Everything you need to know about customer surveys

We’re all familiar with customer surveys; from simple ‘how was your visit?’ in-store kiosks to website pop-ups asking us to share our opinion on a new site design, surveys come in many forms. They’re a great way for businesses to learn more about specific aspects of their service, quality of their customer experience or how happy their employees are.

Like reviews, customer surveys are an important form of feedback, but if you’re thinking ‘I already collect customer reviews, I don’t need surveys’, think again! Let’s take a look at what surveys are in more detail, how they’re different to (and can work alongside) customer reviews, and what your business can learn.

What are customer surveys?

Simply put, surveys are a set of targeted questions that you can send to whoever you like to collect data and opinions. There are thousands of ways to use surveys, from employee engagement to understanding customer satisfaction.

How are customer surveys different to reviews?

While there is some crossover between surveys and reviews, both types of feedback serve different purposes and are valuable for your business for different reasons.

Customer reviews

There are two main reasons to use reviews: to show consumers that your product or service is as good as you say it is (social proof) and to make meaningful improvements to your business based on the opinions of your genuine customers.

Reviews are typically short, asking customers what they think of the product and service, so that other consumers can read them and make an informed purchase decision, quickly. They can be displayed across your website to help boost conversions and allow you to become eligible for organic stars and seller ratings in search results, two more excellent forms of social proof.

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Customer surveys

Unlike reviews, surveys are anonymous, private, and can be used to understand the opinions of anyone, not just your customers. Their core purpose is to allow you to dig deeper and understand a specific part of your business, whether it’s your products, service, brand, website, customer service team, anything!

Surveys are perfect for filling any knowledge gaps that reviews may not be in-depth or targeted enough to cover. They can also be much longer than reviews, so you can ask more questions and get more detailed responses.

reviews vs surveys


What can your business learn from customer surveys?

As we’ve already mentioned, there are so many ways to use customer surveys and how you decide to use them will depend on your customer feedback strategy and what you want to learn. To provide you with some inspiration, here are some of the most useful ways you can use customer surveys to get the feedback you need.

Discover why customers have churned

Just because a customer hasn’t used your service or shopped with you in months doesn’t mean they’re no longer valuable to your business. Sending a survey out to these customers to ask what you did wrong or why they no longer use you is a great way to get constructive feedback about your service/product and improve your customer loyalty efforts. Maybe they’ve switched to a competitor or perhaps they simply have no need for your product anymore, you’ll never know (and therefore improve!) if you don’t ask.

Who knows, even simply re-engaging with those customers could win back their loyalty, as you’re showing that you care, value their feedback and want to be better at what you do.

Understand employee performance and client satisfaction

Do you know which members of your sales team are the most knowledgeable, or who’s the most helpful in your customer service team? Surveys can help you measure and understand individual employee performance, allowing you to see where more training or resource is needed, as well as who’s most deserving of that pay rise!

If your business has a high street presence or several offices, you can also track and compare performance by store or branch.

Measure and improve customer loyalty


Do you know how loyal your customers are? Surveys can help measure customer loyalty by using Net Promoter Score (NPS) and dig deeper into why they would, or wouldn’t, recommend your business to others. Using surveys to measure NPS can help you identify problems and fix issues quickly, as well as understand where you’re going right and where you need to improve.

Improve your customer experience

Surveys are a great way to stay in touch with existing customers and make sure you’re providing them with the best experience possible. You can ask them to rate their experience at any point in their journey, from when they make their first purchase with you, right through to when they contact your customer support team.

Customer experience surveys are particularly good for subscription-based services, as they allow you to keep in regular contact with customers and check they’re still happy, helping you reduce churn.

Get feedback on new features and developments

Recently changed your website or added a new product feature? Surveys are a great way to get instant feedback on any changes you make, so you know whether you’re stepping in the right direction or not. You can also ask customers or website visitors if there are any other improvements they would like to see in the future.

Conduct market research

Want to break into a new market? Surveys are great for helping you conduct market research, as you can target a specific audience and find out more about them and what makes them tick. They may have particular problems you hadn’t considered or respond to different types of marketing better than others.

Additionally, surveys can help you segment your existing audience, by collecting demographic data such as age, gender, household income, hobbies, etc. You may even discover a whole new customer base that’s been hiding in plain sight. For example, a toy shop may think their main target audience is parents, but actually, it’s the grandparents that are making the most purchases.

Run employee engagement surveys

As surveys are private and anonymous, they’re a great tool for measuring employee engagement and getting feedback from your staff. Are they being supported? Are they happy with their current benefits? Is there anything the company could do better?

By gauging how happy your employees are, you can estimate and reduce staff turnover, saving your business money and helping you to hold onto valuable members of the team.

Understand how your customers feel with customer satisfaction surveys 


How satisfied are customers with your products? Your website? Your entire customer experience? Customer satisfaction surveys allow you measure, on a simple ‘very satisfied’ to ‘very unsatisfied’ scale (often depicted by happy/sad/neutral emojis), how happy people are with any aspect of your service.

For example, if you have a high street store, you may wish to measure how satisfied people are after their visit by including a link to a survey on their receipt or collecting their email address so you can send them a survey later.

Customer satisfaction surveys are perfect for capturing how your customers feel at an exact moment, so are best used at individual touchpoints in your customer journey.

Measure your customers’ user experience

How easy is it for customers to use your website or get in touch with your customer service team? With surveys, you can measure your customer effort score – a simple scale showing how hard or easy a task is for your customers to complete.

Customer effort score can be tracked over time and measured at every touchpoint to ensure you’re delivering a consistent user experience. It can also help you understand how your customers use your products and services, allowing you to identify and fix issues quickly and efficiently.

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Tips for creating effective customer surveys

Now you know how valuable customer surveys are, how do you go about creating ones that work? It’s important to know how to strike a balance between good response rates and getting the data you need to make vital changes to your business.

Here are some top survey tips.

1. Consider your feedback strategy

What do you want to learn from your surveys? What changes are you hoping to make to your business? Answering these questions will help you understand what data you need to collect. You’ll probably want to run several survey ‘campaigns’, as you’ll want to create surveys about different subjects, for various audiences.

2. Be specific

To get the best results, avoid vague questions, such as ‘Do you regularly read reviews?’ and be specific instead: ‘Do you read Feefo reviews at least once a month?’. The more specific you are, the more detailed and relevant the answers will be.

3. Keep it short, if possible

Shorter surveys tend to have higher response rates and lower abandonment rates, so don’t make your surveys so long that people lose interest. Your audience may be pressed for time, or they may simply not want to spend ages filling in a survey, which is why it’s so important to keep your questions focussed around one subject.

4. Decide where you need qualitative data and quantitative data

Closed-end questions, those which are answered using a yes/no, multiple choice or ratings scale system, are quantitative. That means they’ll give you quantifiable data which is easy to collect and analyse. You can see what percentage of people want a specific feature or how many think your customer service is ‘excellent’ compared to how many think it’s ‘poor’.

Qualitative questions, on the other hand, are open-ended. The user is free to give whatever answer they like, so while the results are harder to measure, you can get more information and insight as to why someone answered ‘yes’ instead of ‘no’, or why they rated your service as ‘poor’ instead of ‘excellent’.

Collecting a combination of quantitative and qualitative data is vital but think back to what you want your survey to achieve. That will help you strike the balance between the two when building your surveys.

5. Leave ‘personal’ questions to the end and make them optional

If you need to collect demographic data, such as age, gender, household income, etc., leave these questions until the end of your survey. People may not want to give that information out early on, especially if they’re not sure what your survey is about or what the data may be used for.

If they get to the end of your survey and still don’t want to give you that information, make sure those questions are optional, so people aren’t forced to give out any data they don’t want to – it also means you can still collect partial feedback if they decide to leave the survey at that point.

6. Test your customer surveys

Once you’ve created your survey, don’t just send it out blind! Ask your co-workers to test it for you so you can check for any wording issues where people may mis-interpret the question, check the question flow makes sense and see if the data you collect is what you’re looking for.