Designing a Survey Your Customers Will Actually Complete

  1. Use a personal connection to alert customers that a survey is on its way and is important
  2. Ask for your customers’ help in the opening communication
  3. Use a stamp for mailed surveys
  4. Keep the number of questions fewer than twelve…ten if possible!
  5. Make questions sound like a conversation
  6. Surveys need to have emotional attraction...make yours interesting and appealing
  7. Make the survey and envelope look unique and intriguing
  8. Let respondents know why the survey and what will happen with the results
  9. Make the survey matter to them
  10. Make the survey matter, period!

One more thought:  Regardless of the scientific gobbledygook that you are likely to get from the folks down in market research, asking your customers to rate their service experience from “unsatisfied” to “very satisfied” is like asking them to give you no grade higher than a C!

As we often discuss, satisfied means “met my needs,” was “adequate” or “sufficient.”  It also means “finished, done, no more for me.”  Look it up in the dictionary! If you asked a 10 year old to evaluate his or her weekend at Disneyworld, you are not likely to hear “I was very satisfied.”  Service is emotional.  Use the language that fits it!

© Chip Bell Group, 2023.  Courtesy of John R. Patterson (  Permission is given to download and distribute this article as long as it contains this copyright notice.