10 Commandments of a Good Customer Experience Survey

10 Commandments of a Good Customer Experience Survey

Moses was given an epic tablet containing the 10 Commandments - but where was God’s help when Moses needed to create a customer experience survey?

Here’s the deal:

Customers don’t like to be interrogated in their inbox.

Customers don’t like to be asked a million questions, either.

At the same time, you don’t want to end up with lots of useless data because your CX survey is rubbish.

Key to a good customer experience survey, then, is knowing why people will fill them in, why they’ll run a mile, and why they provide answers that help you improve your business.

And this is really important because customer experience surveys give you major insights into what people like about your business and what they dislike. Armed with this data, you can then make the right adjustments.

The problem is that creating a bad one can actually cause more harm than good - and it’s also really easy to do. For this reason, there is a CX survey do’s and don’ts. In other words, 10 commandments!

Let’s take a look at what you need to do.

You Shall Choose The Right Delivery Medium

The best delivery medium for a customer experience survey is always email. We’ll get into exactly when to send your surveys via email, but for now, all you need to know is that you’ve got a list of subscribers and they’re the ones you should be targeting.

The best tool to use, meanwhile, is Survey Monkey, and here’s a really helpful article all about sending your survey via email with the tool.

KISS (Keep It Short, Silly)

Brevity is key when it comes to CX surveys because your customers probably don’t have a lot of time on their hands. The last thing a customer wants to see in their inbox is 101 questions.

Take a look at your survey once it’s complete and see which questions can be eliminated. Which serve very little purpose and will only irritate the customer?

Also, take a look a the length of your questions. Could you shorten them, or rephrase them? Are there any words that are unnecessary? Make sure to cut out any ‘big’ words that not everyone understands, too.

You Shall Only Ask Relevant Questions

Do you really need to ask for a customer’s name? Or do you already have it?

Make sure that any question you ask serves an actual purpose. If a question won’t provide you with any useful insights, ditch it. Don’t waste the customer’s time or do anything that could increase survey abandonment rates.

You Shall Be ‘Smart’ To Gather More Insight

One of the best ways to gather more insight is to ask open-ended questions. These are questions that require more than a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. Instead, they actually ask the end user to stop and think about what they’re saying.

That said, it’s not always a good idea to hit your customers with open-ended questions straight away. It might be too daunting for them. Instead, consider warming them up with multiple choice questions first before asking them to expand on their thoughts.

Another good tactic is to ask a simple question before following it up with “and why?”

You Shall Pace The Questions Adequately

As mentioned earlier, no one likes to be interrogated. They don’t want to be bombarded with lots of questions all at the same time, either.

As such, your questions need to be simple and based around one point only. Don’t make your customers consider various points just to answer one question. Don’t turn this into an endurance test. Ask only the questions that are necessary, keep them simple and ask everything one by one.

You Shall Avoid Loaded and Leading Questions

Want to know the easiest way to unfairly skew answers one way or another? Ask loaded and leading questions.

A loaded or leading question is one that is directly trying to get a certain answer out of someone. For example, a business might ask a question with the sole intention of confirming something they already suspected. But this line of questioning is unhelpful confirmation bias and will not serve your business well.

Instead, free your questions from bias.

You Shall Decide The Timing Carefully

As well as the types of questions you’ll be asking, you also need to consider when to send your survey out. Any online marketer knows that timing is key, and this is just as true of surveys as it is your Facebook ads.

The start of a new week is always a good time for general interest emails where the customer doesn’t have to do much. MailChimp ran the numbers on this and found that open rates are often at their highest on Monday. This is probably because nobody wants to work on Monday’s!

On the other hand, customer.io found that actionable emails perform better later in the week. Indeed, CTR is often at its highest over the weekend.

In terms of the actual time of the day, meanwhile, 10 am was found to be optimal from both sets of research.

You Shall Make Rating Scales Consistent

Imagine if you ask your customers whether they strongly disagree or strongly agree with something. In survey form, strongly disagree is marked with a ‘1’, while strongly agree is marked with a ‘5.’ This is a rating scale and it’s pretty cool.

But then you ask your customers how important something is to them. ‘1’ is the most important, while ‘5’ is very unimportant.

See how confusing that is?

It’s super important that you keep your rating scales consistent - for your sake and your customers’ sake.

You Shall Word The Questions Wisely

If you want to end up with useless data, use jargon and industry references that your customers don’t understand.

On the other hand, if you want to collect useful, actionable data, keep your language simple. Put yourself in the position of your customer - pretend they’re sitting right in front of you. Ask specific questions that inspire specific answers. It’s only by being specific with your language can you extract that data you need.

You Shall Avoid Grids and Matrices

Grid questions rely on matrices to display your questions and answer options. The problem is that they can get out of hand, with the survey creator creating tables that are too large. Then there’s the problem of there being too many selection lists, which can make the participant feel exhausted.

Not just this, but when you start creating multiple grids, the survey is going to take longer for you to create - and it can get really confusing.

It’s a much better idea to keep things simple with either multiple choice questions, or open-ended questions.


These are the 10 commandments of a good customer experience survey. Provided you pay attention to each commandment and obey them, you should get the answers you want. Then, it’s up to you to use the data to uncover valuable insights that you then take action on.


About the Author

Zaac WoodheadZaac Woodhead is 24 Digital’s Managing Director who focuses on helping companies invent their future. His purpose is to drive impactful experiences for people and business growth for organizations. A highlight for Zaac was working with Google to develop and introduce Google Maps into the Australian marketplace.

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