The prevalence of Survey Monkey and other DIY survey platforms has made it cheap and easy to implement customer satisfaction surveys. And while these platforms might be right for you, before you jump in, hit pause and think your DIY strategy through.

With a DIY Customer Survey, some of the areas you’ll need to address are data accuracy, objectivity, customer engagement, and overall ease of use.

The purpose of this post is to walk you through the details you need to consider so that your DIY customer survey is a success!

Tactical Versus Strategic

First, what do you want your DIY customer survey to answer?

Are your questions tactical?

  • Did you get an answer to your question?
  • Was your product delivered on time?

Or strategic?

  • How can we beat the competition?
  • How can we reposition customer service to increase sales?

For tactical questions, short surveys managed daily are best. But if your interests are strategic, you’ll need more in-depth surveys that incorporate other methods such as customer interviews and employee surveys.

With ‘tactical’ you know what to ask. With ‘strategic’ it’s more complex because the whole point is that there are unknowns that need to be explored.

Think through tactical versus strategic upfront, because with a strategic survey you’ll need to ensure your platform accommodates rich dynamic logic. If it doesn’t, your survey will get cumbersome and long. In addition, you’ll need to think through the methods you’ll use alongside your survey for teasing out your unknowns.

DIY Customer Surveys: 9 Areas to Discuss

Whether you are running DIY customer surveys for tactical or strategic purposes, ponder these 9 areas and discuss them with your team.

  1. Anonymity

    How will you give your customers the option of anonymity? Especially in B2B (although we see this in consumer as well) about 40% of your customers will only share their honest opinions when a third party separates their answers from you. Don’t do what Microsoft does: At the end of every tech support call, the associate takes me to a site where I am supposed to rate my experience. No matter how I felt about the service, when the associate is sharing my screen I always award 5 stars. I’ve fulfilled my end of the social contract, but is that serving Microsoft? Is that really the kind of data they want?

  2. Operations Data

    How will you embed operations data such as incident numbers and product information into your DIY customer surveys? For customer interfacing teams such as tech support, help desk, and consumer affairs, to be able to analyze the results in a meaningful way, you need operations data alongside your customer satisfaction scores. This way, you’ll know where to make changes and for whom.

  3. Response and Completion Rates

    How will you optimize your response rate? When everyone is sending surveys, achieving a good response rate is a crucial concern. Embedding priority codes or gift codes into your survey so that customers are rewarded for their effort is a great way to lift your response rate, and it increases your completion rate too.
    Find out whether your DIY customer survey platform supports code integration. And find out whether it can trigger actions that combine priority codes into your survey and auto email them to your customers as well.

  4. Relevance

    How will you ensure your surveys are relevant to each customer? This means that customers only see questions pertinent to them. How will you make your question flow feel customized and enjoyable? For this, you need dynamic logic so that different experiences result in different questions.
    Dynamic logic doesn’t just make your survey relevant and easy to use, logic helps with the data accuracy because customers only answer questions about areas where they’ve had experience. Most DIY customer survey platforms allow for some logic; what you need to find out is how rich the logic options are.

  5. Day-to-Day Management

    Who will stay on top of your day-to-day DIY survey management? To ensure customers who’ve had multiple interactions with you aren’t bombarded by surveys, and to implement your reminder email campaign correctly, you need to run suppression files. You’ll also want to test different approaches to your email invites and website popups to ensure an optimal response. Exporting data, cleaning data…it all takes time.

  6. Direct, Non-Survey Feedback

    How will you capture direct feedback outside your survey? Sometimes customers are willing to give feedback but don’t want to take your survey, they’d prefer to simply respond to an email. Whether they don’t have the time or the inclination for the structure of a survey, you’re losing out on valuable data if you don’t give them the ability to respond directly.

  7. Analysis

    Who will do the analysis and how? Will you run correlation analysis to weight your scores by the elements that matter most? What kind of analyses will you run to determine the causes driving your outcomes? Often, the keys to causality are in the text responses to your open-ended questions. Here, even if you have text analytics, you’ll want to code the data.
    Reading comments or making a word cloud out of them is not enough. You need to code and quantify your verbatims in order to identify themes and what they mean. As a rule of thumb, you want 2-3 analysts cross-coding approximately 25% of your comments.

  8. Dashboards

    Do you have teams who would be well-served by a dashboard? What software do you have in place to make this happen? Who will develop and maintain your dashboard? Interactive dashboards that display customer feedback are the most immediate way to share findings and see specific areas to improve. Visualization works! Don’t do your DIY customer survey without it!

  9. Science

    Lastly, how will you ensure good science? For accurate, objective data, you need to vet your questions for neutrality. In addition, to ensure your respondents represent your customer base, you’ll need to address your sampling protocols. There is so much to be said about ensuring the data you collect is ‘real’ by upholding the values of science that I’ll simply invite you to download the 5 Standards of Excellent Customer Listening. It shows some examples that will further your thinking in this area.

Your DIY Customer Surveys, The Bottom Line

Customer surveys are a research discipline. When done correctly, they uncover customer experience successes, gaps, and missed opportunities. In addition, they will help you keep tabs on customers’ issues and enable you to address those issues as they occur.

But running surveys takes resources and expertise. That’s why, at least for portions of your DIY survey program, you may want to work with experts who can add value in specific areas.

Or, you may decide that given the real costs of DIY, that DIY is not the best way to go. Either way, what’s important is that you undertake your customer satisfaction surveys as a serious enterprise.

Gaining insights that can help you grow matters! Toward the most productive, profitable customer surveys!