5 Ways to Get Customers to Take Surveys

A high response rate on surveys shows you how customers truly see your business.
Transparency is key; customers should be able to see the entire survey before deciding if they want to take it. (Photo: Black Salmon/Shutterstock)

Customer surveys can be a useful tool to glean insights about your business. However, filling out a survey generally isn’t at the top of your customers’ to-do list.


According to Diane Elizabeth, founder of Skin Care Ox, the easier and shorter the survey, the more likely it is that your customers will be willing to take it. (Photo: Diane Elizabeth)

And without enough responses, a survey won’t provide the high-quality feedback your business needs. Is it even worth your time to try to poll your customers?

Yes, but you’ll need to strategize your survey to make it quick and easy for people to respond, said Diane Elizabeth, a startup entrepreneur, marketing consultant and founder of Skin Care Ox. Here, Elizabeth shares five tips on how to compel your customers to take surveys and share their true feelings about your business.

Keep it short and simple

Loading your survey with dozens of questions that require long answers instantly dissuades someone from taking it. Successful surveys tend to be short and simple, said Elizabeth.

“One of the biggest factors in a customer’s willingness to take your survey or complete your review is ‘How long is this going to take?’ The easier and shorter the process of completing the survey, the higher likelihood that someone will take a few seconds out of their day to complete it,” she said.

“A customer should be able to answer your survey in less than one minute.” -Diane Elizabeth

Zero in on exactly what you’re trying to learn from the survey — perhaps it’s whether or not diners are happy with your new breakfast menu, or if your shipping speeds are up to par. Then, only ask a few questions pertaining to that topic, said Elizabeth.

“A customer should be able to answer your survey in less than one minute,” she said.

Don’t make customers sign up or register for an account in order to take your survey, she added. You should only request a minimal amount of personal information, if any. Remove as many obstacles as possible to increase your chances of getting a response.

Related: How Helping Customers Save Time Boosts Sales

Set expectations

Customers want to know what they’re getting into before committing to a survey. Make your expectations clear by putting all the instructions and questions on a single webpage, said Elizabeth.

“Customers should be able to see the entire survey before deciding to answer,” she said. “Let the customer know if the survey only contains five multiple choice questions.”

If your survey does have multiple pages, leverage a progress bar tool to show customers how much is left, she added. The feeling of making progress encourages respondents to keep going.

“The more you can convince a customer that the survey will be quick and easy, the higher likelihood they will answer,” she explained.

Related: 7 Ways to Optimize Your E-Commerce Checkout Experience

Provide an incentive


To increase your response rate, offer some sort of incentive — like a coupon code or discount — to customers that take your survey. (Photo: Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock)

You might have some luck getting customer to a respond to a survey just because you asked. But to really increase your response rate, you’ll need to offer an incentive.

“Whether you have a short survey or a long survey, be sure to offer your customer something in exchange for their time. This could be anything from a small discount on a future purchase to an entry into a giveaway,” said Elizabeth.

What’s appropriate to offer will depend on your business and clientele. At Skin Care Ox, Elizabeth gives customers who provide feedback a 5 percent discount on a future purchase. Offering a free dessert, a coupon toward a future purchase or a complimentary add-on service can all incentivize a customer to take a survey.

“Figure out what would be enticing for your customer base and make a compelling offer,” said Elizabeth.

Related: 6 Ways to Offer Discounts and Still Make a Profit

Make it visually appealing

Clicking a link to a survey and discovering a wall of text can turn off a potential respondent. Spice up the designs surrounding your questions to make it more appealing, said Elizabeth.

“I’ve found that customers love answering visual surveys more than text-based. Include photos, cool charts, nice graphics and anything else that will give the survey a fun feel,” she said.

Online survey platforms, like TypeForm and SurveyGizmo, can help you create feedback forms that look a lot more interesting than a standard survey, said Elizabeth. Even just using emojis instead of words to ask someone how they felt about a purchase can make it more fun for a customer to respond.

Related: 7 Statistics to Get You Fired Up About SMS Marketing

Explain why it’s important


Help customers understand why they should be taking your survey by explaining how it will ultimately benefit them. (Photo: Flamingo Images/Shutterstock)

No one wants to feel like their time is being wasted. Explain to customers that the few minutes spent answering questions can go on to create a better experience for them.

“What’s the purpose of this survey and how will it ultimately benefit the business and customer? Let the customer know that their answers will help the business provide better service or products in the future,” said Elizabeth.

If you’ve conducted surveys in the past, include details of how you’ve used that feedback. For example: “Based on our last survey, we learned that customers wanted more gluten-free options, so we’ve added a gluten-free section to the menu.” Showing customers that you implement their feedback motivates them to continue responding to your surveys.

“Whatever it is, be transparent with your customers and they will return the favor,” said Elizabeth.

Related: The Friend Zone: Boosting Sales by Focusing on Relationships

Feedback can be a gift for your business. By making it easy for clients to fill out surveys, you’ll learn what they love, what needs improvement and potential areas you can expand — hopefully leading to even higher marks next time you ask how your business is doing.

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