The Etiquette in Customer Surveys and Feedback Forms

CloudCherry | Featured | December 11, 2015

An ever increasing number of companies are asking their customers for feedback, which could be construed as a good thing because it means businesses are putting in the effort to get to know their customers. However, there is a downside to this “awakening ” in that customers are now being inundated with surveys and requests for feedback.

The bombardment customers are subjected to isn’t just the result of companies finally understanding the need for feedback but it’s also a case of it being easier and cheaper for small businesses to get that feedback using a customer feedback survey software. Before, most companies had to employ the services of traditional research agencies to conduct surveys, and this type of research was expensive and far out of reach for most small businesses. Feedback softwares have made this a problem of the past and now every small business under the sun is sending out surveys and requests for feedback.

The result is customers who are overwhelmed and irritated, especially because many businesses don’t stick to a few rules of etiquette, which would get them a lot more feedback than their current approach of asking, asking again and then asking some more. Before we look at these few rules of survey and feedback etiquette, let’s first discuss what’s better: surveys or feedback?

The Difference between Surveys and FeedbackCustomer Surveys or Feedback Forms-01_1

There are many opinions on the differences between surveys and feedback. Some say that a survey is more targeted, with multiple choice answer or scales, whereas feedback is more open-ended, allowing the customer to share whatever they want with you. Then again, surveys can also have open-ended questions allowing the customer to share their opinion, but they do tend to be more targeted.

For example, a feedback form might simply ask:

Please share with us anything you’d like about your experience dining with us.


Please tell us how we could improve your customer experience.

On the other hand, a survey would include multiple questions, such as:

• Please rate your staff’s politeness on a scale of 1-5.
• Please rate the cleanliness of the restaurant on a scale of 1-10.
• Please share your opinion about the quality of the food you were served.

So, what’s better? The surveys or feedback forms. The fact is that both are good in different circumstances. Asking for feedback is a great way to uncover new ideas and identify problem areas you might not have been aware of previously, whereas a survey is more guided and will allow you to determine the effectiveness of all areas of your business in terms of delivering an excellent customer experience.

Of course, the ideal is to get both types of information, but that can be difficult. If you ask for too much from your customers, they will simply burn out and avoid giving you any feedback at all. Especially if you saddle them with a survey featuring 50 questions, when you promised it would only take them a few minutes to fill it out.

So, the ideal thing would be the customer feedback survey, which combines both types of questions. How do you get that information from your customers without them feeling overwhelmed and annoyed? Well, you take a small break from designing your questionnaire in the survey software, ignore customer feedback survey templates for the moment and apply the following rules of etiquette.

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Rules of Etiquette When Asking Customers to Fill Out a Survey or Provide FeedbackCustomer Surveys or Feedback Forms-01_2
Firstly, remember that customer feedback is a gift and not a right. And you should be very appreciative of those who leave it. If you follow the rules laid out below, though, you’ll find many more customers are willing to give you feedback.

Surveys must be short. People don’t have time to waste, so don’t create surveys that take longer than 3 or 4 minutes to fill out.
Take a break. If you try to survey everyone, all the time, people will burn out. You don’t need feedback from everyone to improve. Survey a percentage of your customers and make sure that you give people who have given feedback some time off before you ask them for more.
Do not be pushy. Being too pushy will alienate people. Ask nicely. Once. That’s enough. And we also mean online. In other words, don’t pop up a survey every ten seconds when someone visits your site, and don’t send people three hundred emails to remind them to fill out a survey.
Make it effortless. A customer might not be in the mood to give feedback at that very moment. So, make it easy for them to give their feedback when they are feeling in the mood, such as by providing an easily accessible link they can click on when they are on your site, or sending them an email survey which they can fill out any time, according to their comfort.
Listen. Last but not least, listen to your customers. Don’t just survey them with closed questions. Instead, give them the opportunity to share with you what they want.

The key to getting the information you need, whether you’re conducting surveys or asking for feedback, is to treat your customers right. Respect them and they will respect you and give you the information you want.

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