5 Biggest Customer Survey Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

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While customer surveys can be the perfect tool to get feedback on products, delivery, and customer service, a lot of businesses fall short of actually creating effective surveys. Then they wonder why those surveys did nothing to help them take steps to improve!

Yes, surveys can be highly useful, but only if you avoid making the following mistakes.

1. Your Survey is Crazy Long

There’s a lot you want feedback on, so your survey may have 30 questions or more. Then you wonder why you have such a low response rate.

Consider that you’re asking your customers for a favor in requesting them to fill out your survey. Their time is precious, and you’re lucky if they give you any of it at all. That’s why it’s absolutely imperative that you keep the survey short and sweet. We all love getting emails that say “please take this super short 2-question survey,” so why would you burden your own customers with something substantially longer?

Bonus Tip: If you have multiple areas you need feedback on, break up the surveys into separate ones and send them over a period of several weeks or months.

2. Your Survey Isn’t Targeted

Let’s say you sell men’s and women’s clothing, and you’re looking to get feedback on both. So, you send a single survey with questions about purchases of both men’s and women’s clothing. Immediately, your survey taker will scratch her head, wondering why you’re asking questions about something she’s never bought from you.

You’ll get better results if you separate the surveys and just send to the people who they’re relevant to.

Bonus Tip: In your customer relationship management platform, use tags to organize your customers. So, if they’ve purchased men’s clothing, use that as a tag. Then sort for that filter and only send the survey to that group.

3. You Only Ask Yes/No Questions

Having yes or no questions on a survey is the equivalent of asking a teenager if school was good: “Yep.”

Without additional details, a “yes” or a “no” is pretty useless in terms of feedback. Let’s say your survey question asks if a customer has ever had to contact your customer service. A “yes” doesn’t tell you what the issue was, so you can’t use that feedback to reduce the instances of customer service requests.

Bonus Tip: Use an expanding question feature for this. If someone answers “yes” to a question, provide additional questions that help you get better insight.

4. You Only Ask Multiple Choice Questions

Another mistake companies make is forcing customers to choose one of several answers. Sometimes an answer doesn’t fit in the box, but a customer can’t elaborate on their answer.

Bonus Tip: While you can use multiple choice answers, add an “Other” box where respondents can fill in their own response.

5. Your Survey Software Requires Customers to Create an Account

This one goes back to the core lesson here: make it dead simple for customers to respond to your survey. If you send it via email and customers have to click a link, then create an account just to reply to your survey, they’re not likely to actually do so.

On the other hand, if you keep it simple, minimizing the steps they need to take to complete the survey, you’ll get a higher response rate.

Bonus Tip: Use survey software that allows recipients to respond to the survey directly in an email to see a higher response rate.

Your surveys should not induce headaches for your customers. Done correctly, surveys can provide you with ample information and feedback from your customers that you can then act on to improve your company’s operations and service.


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