Asking your customers about their experience with your organization is one of the best ways to gather important insight about your product or services. Now that most businesses have a strong digital presence, it’s easier than ever (and more crucial than ever) to gather feedback through online forms.
Feedback forms, when effective, provide key insights from your customers that your organization can use to understand user pain points, improve products or services, and enhance their overall experience. So, how do you know if your customer surveys are engaging, responsive, and asking the right questions?
In this blog post, we’re covering the seven feedback form best practices you can follow to create helpful feedback surveys and get the information your organization needs to make smart, strategic decisions.
Why optimize feedback forms?
The goal of a feedback form is to get as many of your customers to provide specific information (pain points, ideas, praises) about your product or service. Over 80% of customers provide feedback about their experiences, whether good or bad. This means that at any given time, most of your customers will gladly fill out a survey for your organization.
Feedback has huge potential to disclose exactly where your organization needs to make improvements and where your products or services already shine. To gather the most useful data, you’ll want to first make sure that your forms are properly optimized.
Now, let’s dive into the survey best practices you can start implementing today.
1. Be open-minded about feedback
Think about your intentions with a feedback form. Are you creating this survey because you want a pat on the back, or are you looking for specific ways you can improve based on customer experiences?
If you’re listening to positive feedback but ignoring the negative responses, you’re actually harming your business. By not listening to everything your customers have to say, your organization could lose these valuable buyers, fall behind the competition, miss opportunities, and gain a bad reputation in the process.
While many strong opinions exist regarding whether or not the customer is always right, the truth is that you can’t grow a business without collecting customer feedback. But simply gathering this feedback isn’t enough—you have to act on it as well.
Why? Because without making any meaningful improvements to your business, you’ll continue to make the same products and offer the same services, even if your customers’ needs have evolved. And the truth is, their needs will evolve, if they haven’t already. With this in mind, it’s important to use feedback surveys to get to know your customers, their needs, and their pain points so you can continue to be successful.
2. Keep surveys short and to the point
Survey length is often dependent on your business or industry, but the general rule of thumb is to remember that real people will be taking the time to complete your feedback form. Both survey difficulty and length factor into a customer’s survey completion or abandonment rate.
It’s a good idea to create a survey that takes about five minutes to complete and asks specific, but easily answered, unbiased questions related to their experiences with your product or service. While smart, strategic questions are the way to go, it’s also important that you only ask one question at a time to avoid confusion and never to make assumptions about your customers.
And remember, always keep your end goal in mind. Cut “couldn’t hurt to ask” questions in favor of necessary and purposeful ones.
3. Keep survey questions tidy and organized
If you get stuck with a form that’s too long, ask yourself, “What is the minimum number of strategic questions I can ask to get the specific information I need?” The shorter your feedback form, and the more specific your questions, the greater the chance your customers will answer and be specific too.
Sometimes, a feedback form ends up being more than a few questions. When this happens, be sure you group related questions so as not to confuse respondents. Grouping also means that open-ended questions and questions with scales stay together in their own sections to maintain consistency.
A well-structured questionnaire sends the right message—you’re serious about hearing what your customers have to say. Don’t make it more complex by sending a disorganized survey!
4. Be straightforward and specific
You want feedback forms to be as easy as possible for people to fill out. And you want your respondents to complete the survey without abandoning it altogether out of confusion. Make sure all of the questions in your survey are as clearly stated as possible.
This may seem obvious, but it’s easy to get lost in cryptic, long-winded questions or start writing in double negatives and jargon. A good practice is to ask someone on your team to test your feedback form. As a fresh set of eyes, they’ll be able to alert you if a question doesn’t make sense or means something different to them.
Being straightforward and specific also means avoiding loaded questions. Don’t try to lead your customers to the answers you want, and don’t let pride or bias get in the way of asking professional, smart questions. In all cases, do your best to avoid telling customers what to think and instead, let them speak for themselves.
5. Don’t limit your feedback form to rating questions
Have you ever completed a survey with what feels like hundreds of “on a scale of 1 to 10” questions? These surveys can start to feel like a college exam—and probably lose the interest of your respondents fairly quickly. After all, your customers are human beings with real thoughts and feelings that go beyond numbers.
With these types of feedback forms, you also run the risk of respondents simply clicking on answers without thinking, just to finish the survey in a reasonable time. Additionally, you risk response bias from respondents who will skew their answers to avoid confrontation. This often occurs in rating surveys when customers don’t provide their honest (usually negative) opinion about a product or service.
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 how they’d rate a product or service. They’ll be able to provide their thoughts and opinions in their own words, whether good or bad. This is invaluable information for your organization.
6. Aim for high-quality and user-friendly design
Good design plays a significant role in how customers perceive your organization’s professionalism and trustworthiness. In fact, nearly 40% of people will abandon a website with poor design and 38% of people make judgements about a company based on the way the website looks. In short, design is essential for making a good impression and keeping customers engaged!
That being said, your feedback form should be professional, clean, and easy to navigate across desktop and mobile devices. It’s also important that your form has similar branding to your organization so your respondents know they’re in the right place. Consider uploading your company logo to your form and using your business colors to ensure consistency between your website, forms, and other marketing materials.
You’ll want to choose a platform like FormAssembly that makes this process painless with a drag-and-drop web form builder that allows you to customize colors, fonts, and logos to match your organization’s branding. You can take from a list of pre-made templates or design your feedback form from scratch in the intuitive Form Builder. Whether you want text-based questions, radio buttons, or drop-down menus, the many field options make it easy to design a professional, strategic feedback form your customers will love to fill out.
7. Leave room for additional thoughts and comments
Now that your feedback form is full of helpful, unbiased questions for your customers, you may think that your survey is complete! But there’s one more step: Give your respondents a chance to provide more thoughts. An easy way to let people add their extra thoughts is by adding an “additional comments” textarea at the end of the feedback form.
Even if your survey asks great questions, there’s still a chance that a customer will have something else to add that wasn’t mentioned in the feedback form. This question can feel like a miscellaneous one, but you may be surprised by how helpful some of these thoughts and comments can be. Respondents who have the opportunity to expand on their opinion or have insights to share can be a great resource for your organization.
Start building better feedback forms
Following the seven best practices outlined above can make a big difference in the quality of your feedback forms—and in the feedback you receive from customers! Want to take your knowledge a step further? Check out our infographic of customer survey best practices for a list of actionable tips that you can implement today.