Posted by: Andy Porter | July 11, 2011

Creating Survey Questions

The purpose of a customer survey is to get your customers to tell YOU if there was anything they didn’t like.  And to tell what they DO like! 

As already covered, only 1 in 25 customers will tell you what they didn’t like.  This is not good!  A customer who leaves unhappy may or may not come back to see you, or they may start to look for a new service provider.  They will almost always tell other people what they didn’t like about your business.  It’s always better for them to tell you, and the sooner the better, so something can be done. 

From my view, I always want to know what went wrong:  Why did the customer leave?  Maybe you can fix things and the customer stays, maybe you can’t.  But even if the unhappy customer does leave, if you know why, you can make changes and prevent other customers from leaving as well. 

Have you ever gotten lousy service or product and yet you didn’t complain?  Why didn’t you say anything?  The most common reasons are that the customer: 

  • didn’t want a confrontation
  • was in a hurry
  • didn’t want to get someone in trouble
  • felt that it wouldn’t make a difference

Generally speaking people are much more likely to tell you what they DID like than what they DIDN’T like. 

If you are going to ask your customers’ questions about your company, you need to ask intelligent questions that will provide you with data you can use to make improvements. 

To create your survey questions, start with making a list of the things that your customers are most likely to get irate about.  Here are a few possible categories: 

  • Cost, pricing is too high
  • Value, was it worth the price?
  • Speed of service
  • Receiving the wrong item
  • Schedule
  • Selection of products
  • Friendliness
  • Cleanliness 

Next, make a similar list for YOUR business.  Then, based on these lists, create your questions.  If the questions on your customer feedback form make you nervous about asking them, then you are on the right track! 

Make the survey no more than seven to ten questions.  No multiple choice or numerical ratings.  Just ask the question (or bundle of questions) and leave a box for the customer to answer. 

I recommend that you list all your questions and have one box for the customer to answer.  Below is a sample of a customer service survey from a web site: 

How are we doing? 

Your input is valuable and helps us in our never ending quest to improve our levels of customer service.  Please take a moment and let us know how we did. 

  • When you called was the receptionist friendly and helpful?
  • How about when you arrived, did things go smoothly?
  • Was the doctor compassionate, helpful, and knowledgeable?
  • Did you receive more or less than you expected?
  • Do you have any suggestions for us on how we can get better? 










 You can leave your contact data if you like, it is not required. 

 Your Name:  ____________________________

Date of service:  ______________________

In this example you could have an answer box after each question, or just one box as above.  There could be more questions.  But don’t forget what you’re after:  Honest feedback that enables you to make things better.

Once you have your survey questions the next step is figuring out how to get them distributed. 

Now that you have your survey questions all ready, go ahead and choose three of the above methods for gathering feedback and get started


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