I probably don’t need to tell you why a feedback form is crucial, because let’s be honest: You wouldn’t be reading this if you didn’t already know that.
A customer questionnaire is, by far, one of the greatest ways to gather useful feedback without delay. And now that so many businesses are busy building a strong digital presence for themselves, it’s easier than ever to conduct surveys online.
So, why the heck wouldn’t you want to create a flawless customer survey?
Why should a customer feedback form be optimized for success?
You want as many people to take your feedback form after you’ve created it, right?
Of course you do, because you’re sharp like that.
To gather the most useful data, you’ll want to first make sure that your forms are properly optimized for conversions. Check out this list of customer survey best practices for a list of actionable tips that you can implement as soon as today.
1. Listen to the feedback you receive with an open mind.
First, think about your intentions. Are you creating this feedback form because you want a pat on the back?
If so, ask yourself how listening to positive feedback (and ignoring negative feedback) will REALLY boost your business.
Here’s a hint: It won’t.
That’d be like taking a class and getting a “B” on every test without knowing why you’re not scoring higher. On every test, you’d get a note from your teacher that said “B — Good,” but you never bothered to ask your teacher how you could improve.
Sure, there are many strong opinions regarding whether or not the customer is always right.
But the truth is that you can’t grow a business without collecting customer feedback — and it doesn’t stop there. Once you have that information, you’ve gotta do something with it!
Why? Because the alternative would look something like this: You’d be stuck doing the same thing you’ve been doing for years, without making any meaningful improvements to your business.
Or perhaps even worse: You’ll be stuck making only improvements you deem worthy, assuming that your customers will love it, without the data to back it up. (D’oh!)
You’ll get both positive and negative feedback. Don’t take the negative feedback personally. Think about it: You may not like the negative feedback you receive, but remember that the people who provide you with this feedback are trying to genuinely help you.
In fact, they’re actually doing you a huge favor.
They’ve taken time out of their day to help YOU. And no, they’re not your best friend or your mother, so their opinion won’t be pleasantly biased. And that’s a good thing.
Your customers already trust that you’ll listen to them. If they thought their feedback would fall into a black hole never to see the light of day, they wouldn’t have dedicated their own time to share their thoughts.
That being said…
2. Make sure it’s a quick survey, and let people know that it’s quick.
I know, I know: It’s easy to think that you should get all of those questions out of your system in just one survey.
But people are more likely to take your survey if it’s short — and that doesn’t mean you have to lower the quality of the survey.
All you have to do is ask the right questions.
One well-thought-out question can potentially lead to a great, in-depth response.
Strategic questions are key.
Still, you’ve gotta keep your cool. While smart questions are the way to go, it’s important that you only ask one question at a time to avoid confusion.
As Gregory Ciotti from Help Scout kindly points out, it’s not cool to make people feel like they’re being interrogated when they’re filling out your customer satisfaction form. So, treat your questions with patience and care. 🙂
If you have many more questions to ask, save ’em for the next survey.
3. Keep your questions tidy and organized.
Some of us need structure. I’m not saying that all of us do, but c’mon… do you really want to annoy the diehard perfectionists out there?
And besides, a well-structured questionnaire sends the right message. It shows that you’re professional and know your stuff.
Imagine taking a feedback questionnaire where the first question asks how you feel about cats.
So, naturally, you respond with a poem about how much you love cats.
The next few questions are about what you do for a living, your education history, and general background. OK, pretty standard, alright… onto the next question…
Then you get to the fifth question, and it throws you for a loop. It asks you how many cats you currently own. Whoa, wait a minute. You thought the cat discussion was over — but it turns out it wasn’t at all.
Well, I’m sure you would find that super confusing. If they had just kept questions of the same topic together, it would have made 10x more sense.
So, keep related questions together for best results.
4. Be straightforward and specific. Clear wins over cryptic.
Make sure all of the questions in your survey make complete and total sense.
This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many web surveys I’ve seen with cryptic questions.
This is why it’s so important to get a second opinion. Ask someone on your team to read over the questions so they can give you a heads up when something doesn’t make sense.
Sometimes we may see a question one way, and someone else might read it and see something entirely different.
You want the questionnaire to be as easy as possible for people to fill out. You want your respondents to complete the survey without abandoning it altogether out of confusion.
5. Don’t limit your feedback form exclusively to “on a scale of 1-10” questions.
Trust me: Your respondent’s eyes will start to glaze over if they see that every question is about how they feel on a scale of 1-10 (AKA: rating questions).
It’s just plain boring, and it’ll probably make them feel a lot like a robot.
After all, your customers are human beings with real thoughts and feelings that go beyond “on a scale of 1-10” answers.
There’s a solution to this: If you choose to include questions in a variety of different formats, your respondents will be able to tell you much more than they otherwise would with a quick radio button selection — plus, they won’t fall asleep before finishing the form.
It’s probably important to note that one person’s scale might be very different from someone else’s. So, the rating scale can cause inconsistencies.
And there’s data to back that up: Brooklyn College of the City University of New York conducted a study that revealed just how biased rating scales can be.
I’ll admit it: I have a bit of a beef with these types of questions.
As a marketer, I know the importance of a feedback form and even love helping out other companies by taking their surveys — but when I take a questionnaire and every question is formatted in this way, it’s a big turn-off. It just seems so bland and impersonal.
6. Aim for exceptional design that’s both easy to use and professional.
It seems like a study comes out almost every week re-confirming the fact that design matters in business. For example, a study at Stanford showed that design plays a big role in trust and overall credibility.
Your feedback form should be professional, clean, and easy to navigate on any device.
Consider uploading your company logo and using your business colors for consistency.
Don’t worry: Great design doesn’t always need to take hours — a simple, tasteful design will always leave an awesome impression, and it isn’t time-consuming, either.
7. Leave some room at the end of the form for additional thoughts and comments.
Even if you asked some pretty great questions, there’s still a chance that a customer will have something else to add — something that wasn’t mentioned in the feedback form.
You may be surprised how helpful some of those miscellaneous comments can be, too.
An easy way to let people add their extra thoughts is by adding an “Additional comments” textarea at the end of the feedback form.
Now it’s your turn!
Do you have any feedback form tips to share with us? We’d love to hear your thoughts! Feel free to continue the discussion in the comments below, or tweet with us anytime @FormAssembly.
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