Design user surveys

1. Define what you want to learn from your customers and the goal of your survey, such as collecting feedback to improve hiring practices.

2. Identify who you’ll survey based on the outcome you’re looking for and the customer segments you’ve set up.

For example, if you want to improve your buying process, survey new buyers and the people who didn’t buy. If you want to start a loyalty program to improve customer retention, survey frequent buyers. If you want to start a VIP program for top spenders, survey customers who spend a lot of money with you. Here are some ideas for customer segments: Big Spenders, Frequent Buyers, In-frequent Buyers, Longtime Customers, Registered Non-Buyers, Demographics, Interests, and On-Site Browsing History. Don’t disregard people who don’t buy right away; survey people who opened, clicked, but did not buy – known as low hanging fruit.

3. Aim for a total between 100–200 responses for your customer survey.

If you get more than 200 responders, randomly choose 200 to analyze. If you only have 100 people who have recently bought from you, you have to make do with what you have. 20 is still better than nothing; you just have to be more careful with your analysis.

4. Offer a reward like a gift card, coupon code, or free shipping, to get your users to respond to your survey.

The more data-driven approach is to offer a prize that somehow reflects the lifetime value of the customer segment you’re trying to acquire or retain. For example, ThinkGeek offered Tommy, one of their customers, a chance at a $500 gift certificate in exchange for feedback. Out of context, that’s a lot of money, but according to Tommy, he’s spent at least 4-5 times that in the last year. If ThinkGeek were to use that qualitative data to acquire or develop just 4 customers like Tommy, they’d make an extra $10k/year.

5. Keep the email as short and as simple as possible when sending the invitations for the survey.

Mention how long approximately the survey will take. Alternatively use number of questions, such as “It’s only 5 short questions”. Use fairly short deadlines, up to a week, and send reminder emails before the deadline. Here’s an example template: