5 Survey Tips for Getting Better Customer Data

The best customer experience starts with great customer data. Collect actionable customer data with these 5 online survey tips.


Sara Staffaroni

January 16, 2019

Back to Resources

Some people might say that the secret to a successful customer feedback survey campaign is quantity. If you send out enough surveys, you’re bound to get some responses eventually, right? Wrong.

While this approach might have worked in the past, the modern customer isn’t eager to take time out of their busy day to take any survey. Today, to collect the best customer data you must ask the right questions while also providing the ideal customer experience

The importance of collecting great customer data

Customer data can have an enormous impact on the success of a business. In fact, organizations with a strategic approach to data outperform their peers by 85% in sales growth and by more than 25% in gross margins.

A thoughtful customer feedback survey program will:

  • Fill in the gaps of your customer profiles.

  • Inform you of personal customer preferences that can help shape your products, solutions, and buying experience.

In a nutshell, businesses with great data are more likely to deliver great customer experience.  

A smart customer data collection strategy starts with goal-oriented surveys. Here are five tips for collecting customer data that’ll help you optimize customer experience.

1. Consider the entire customer experience

If you look at surveys simply as an opportunity to flood your customers with a series of questions, two things are probably going to happen:

  1. You’re going to have a low response rate.

  2. Customers who do respond aren’t giving you high-quality feedback.

On the other hand, when you look at surveys as an opportunity to build relationships and better understand your customers’ needs, you’re more likely to get genuine responses you can use to improve your products, services, and brand image.

This means that you must look beyond the questions and consider the whole experience, from the first touch to last.

There are two ways you can take to enhance your surveys for optimal end-to-end customer experience: 1. Ask for feedback on the same channel and 2. Keep it short and short. 

Ask for feedback on the same channel

Seamlessly weaving surveys into your existing conversations isn’t only more convenient, it’s also more natural. The first touch should also be simple, elegant, and engaging.

Keep it short and simple

Don’t overwhelm your audience with too many questions in your first touchpoint. Make it brief and engaging by displaying the most important survey question before inviting your customers to take the full survey.

Below is an example of a survey created by one of our customers, Sun Basket, that depicts this concise style. 

collect customer data with online surveys by GetFeedback

2. Choose the metric that matters most

Many companies make the mistake of going overboard with metrics. Just because something can be measured doesn’t mean it should be. In order to get high-quality customer data, you first need to look at your goals and decide what key metric matters the most.

Here’s how you can select this key metric:  

  • Determine your objective(s) before you build your survey. Ask what yourself: what are trying to measure, solve, and improve?

  • Select the KPI that matters most (ex: CSAT, CES, NPS) and align your business departments around the most important metric.

  • Identify what you want to get from your reporting dashboard and reverse engineer to identify your key metric. 

The most important thing to keep in mind is that you want to choose a metric that represents success for your team and your company.  

Below is an example of how Sun Basket surveys customers to measure their overall customer satisfaction and experience.

customer data online survey key metric

3. Introduce an actionable follow-up question

Choosing a key metric allows you to measure performance, but it doesn’t tell you what’s driving your results. That’s where a multiple-choice follow-up question comes in.

Once customers answer your initial question, present them with a multiple-choice follow-up question that looks at their reasoning behind the answer. This way, you can come up with actionable solutions that are directly informed by the feedback of your customers.

Your follow-up question can be as simple as “Why did you give us this rating?” and can include basic answers such as:

  • Response time

  • Quality of service

  • Staff friendliness

  • Staff knowledge

The idea is that you add a small set of answers (approximately four or five) that are important to the business. That way, you’re able to come up with an actionable solution based on your customers’ feedback.

For example: If enough customers list “Staff knowledge” as a reason they gave your company a poor rating, you’ve effectively identified a problem and can resolve it by re-evaluating your training program.

See below how Sun Basket applied this tactic to their online survey.  

customer data online survey collection best practices

4. Learn more about your customers

As mentioned in the first tip, surveys aren’t just data gathering—they’re an engagement opportunity. And there’s no better time than during a survey to strengthen relationships and build customer profiles. After all, your customers are already engaged, so you may as well use this opportunity to dig a little deeper.

One way you can do this is by presenting the customer with images of various products, then asking them which product they prefer.  When you give a quick question like this at the end of every touchpoint, you’re able to build up your customer’s profile over time without hassling them with lengthy, excessive questions.

The customer data you receive can then be integrated into your CRM in real time, allowing you to see detailed breakdowns of customer responses. You can then use this information to inform your marketing campaigns, branding, product selection, newsletter recommendations, and more.  

Best of all: You’ll find that most customers will appreciate that you’re making the effort to get to know their preferences, and it’ll help you get a better idea what to suggest to them in the future.

Below is how Sun Basket derives more customer data to beef up customer profiles.

Customer DATA survey Sun Basket

5. Give Your Customers a Voice

Give customers the opportunity to use their own voices at the end of a survey. This will enable you to collect more specific data that wasn’t covered in previous questions. Plus, it’s an excellent way to learn more about your supporters.

Letting your customers speak their minds is a simple as adding an open-ended question at the end of your survey. A general question like “Do you have anything else you’d like to share?” is a good option, as it invites the customer to share any relevant (even loosely-related) information.

It’s best to include only one open text question at the end of the survey. The idea is to make surveys as quick and convenient as possible, and flooding the customer with too many questions that require them to type is anything but convenient—especially if they’re using a mobile device.

See below for how Sun Basket presents this type of survey question.

customer data open feedback survey

Better customer data with the right survey questions

So, what’s the secret to creating an optimized customer feedback program? Consideration.

When you’re considerate of your customers’ time and design a survey that’s quick, easy, and focuses on the right metrics, you increase the likelihood of getting the information you need. And you can then use this data to strengthen your customer profiles, making it easier to understand their preferences and expectations.  

Learn how GetFeedback can help you create the best customer surveys—start your free trial today.

Subscribe for the latest CX content

Privacy notice|California privacy notice
Terms of use
|Cookie policy

*Net Promoter, Net Promoter System, Net Promoter Score, NPS and the NPS-related emoticons are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Fred Reichheld and Satmetrix Systems, Inc.