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What Do Your Buyers Love? Ask Them in a Customer Survey

Do you know exactly what your customers like and don’t like? If you quickly answered “Yes” then pause, and honestly ask yourself this: how do you really know?

Have you ever actually asked your customers what they think of your B2C brand?

If not, you’re missing out on key data points. While it’s vital to collect and analyze customer data across channels and devices, it isn’t enough to track email opens, social media likes, and website visits alone.

The key to understanding your buyers is to supplement overall behavioral data with more personal and in-depth information. This is exactly why you should survey your customers directly. With surveys, you can find out first-hand what buyers really and truly want from your B2C brand.

Customer surveys can help you keep up with the changing needs and wants of your buyers, and adapt your marketing strategy accordingly. Here’s how you should get customer feedback, along with examples of companies that are already successfully surveying their customers and becoming truly customer-centric brands.

Why should my business run customer surveys?

As a marketer, it’s easy to become obsessed with collecting data from social media, email campaigns, website visits, purchases, abandoned carts, and so on. Collecting this data is really important to your marketing, but there is always a level of guesswork involved. Even if you’re using sophisticated machine learning technology, you’re still making a number of assumptions about what all the different customer interactions mean.  

When you focus so much on data each day, it’s easy to forget that behind the numbers, your customers are human beings. You can talk to them and ask them questions to find out exactly what they want. When you send out a survey, you can find out precisely what your customers like, what they want more of, and what they want you to stop doing.

You can then use this information to more accurately inform your marketing campaigns and better understand your customers, both as individuals and as segments. By using this data to improve the customer experience you can drive ROI and improve loyalty.

These surveys can also help you:

  • Make sure that customer details are up-to-date
  • Understand which marketing content your buyers enjoy
  • Find out what your competitors are doing that resonates with customers
  • Learn what products your buyers like most
  • …and much more

How can I create a survey that works?

It’s true that surveys are only as useful as the questions you ask. First, you need to decide which part of your marketing process you want to improve and what your goal is for the survey. Do you want feedback on a new product line? Do you want to find out how the checkout experience went? Do you want to know why customers abandoned their cart?  Do you want to gauge interest in a new loyalty program and learn what benefits to offer your customers to keep them coming back to buy more products?

Once you’ve decided on a goal for the survey, you can start to write the questions. It’s important to not take up too much of your customers’ time by writing really long surveys, so make sure that the questions you ask will provide you with useful data with minimal questions. You also need to send out the survey to a list that is big enough to be able to identify trends and correlations within the data you get back.

But getting a large enough sample size is easier said than done. Here are a few tips on optimizing your survey questions to get the best response rates:

  • Provide multiple choice options for most questions instead of open-ended questions
  • Start with simple questions to ease customers in gently, and leave more complicated questions to the en
  • Keep the format and the questions simple and clear
  • Avoid leading questions or jargon if you want to collect accurate data

Once you have the answers from the survey, you need to be able to analyze the data. While anecdotal answers are interesting, you need to find actionable insights to improve the ROI of your campaigns and boost the lifetime value of these customers.

Customer survey best practices

Another way to increase participation in your surveys is to reward your customers for their time. This could be in the form of a discount off their next purchase, access to an exclusive sale, or a simple $20 Amazon gift card.This will also help drive loyalty if they use the discount card or shop in the sale.

You also don’t want to overwhelm your customers by sending out surveys all the time. Choose one goal at a time and focus on that, or segment your customers so you only send out the survey to certain demographics and rotate over time. You’re probably already collecting data on some of these customers, but the goal is to know as much about them as possible so you can offer them the best possible customer experience.

You can also make certain responses to questions automatically trigger follow up emails or contact from your company. For example, if a customer rates your check out process as one star, then you should follow up automatically with that customer to find out how you can improve the process in the future. This can lead to huge leaps ahead for your brand and a greatly improved customer experience.

Where can I get inspiration for my surveys?

You know your business best and you know what will work for your unique product or service. However, if you’re having trouble getting started, here’s some inspiration from brands that have created and sent out successful customer surveys.

Clothing retailer Anthropologie rewarded its customers with a 20% off coupon for their next full price purchase if they filled out a survey on whether the improvements the company has made are working. Offering a discount will certainly improve the response rate for the survey, as well as encourage their customers to shop with them again.

Product review website Wirecutter sent out the below survey to get opinions on its newsletter. The company asks for both positive and negative opinions to try to, meaning understand what to do more of and what to stop doing. Don’t be afraid of negative feedback! It can be just as important — if not more important — than positive feedback.

With that inspiration, hopefully, you’re ready to create your own survey. Remember that creating and sending the survey is just the first step. You’re really looking for aggregate responses, so you can understand larger patterns in the responses — not just anecdotal stories.

By combining this valuable survey data with your customer data, you can closely track how your buyers react to marketing campaigns, website redesigns, and much more. Surveys are an incredibly valuable tool for B2C marketers, and one you should use with care.

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