business survey questions

4 Customer Research Survey Questions Your Business Can Actually Act On

The right questions make all the difference. Here are four you can start with.

The right questions make all the difference. Here are four you can start with.

While the most successful businesses have always known how important understanding their customers is, it feels like it’s only now that customer research is truly catching on as a trend.

But if you’re like so many small businesses out there, you’re collecting plenty of data, and it’s sitting in a spreadsheet somewhere, untouched since the day you first looked at it.

The best answers in the world won’t help you if you’re not actually doing anything with them.

A lot of it comes down to the questions that you ask: a lot of survey questions that get asked are actually pretty terrible in that the answers they invite are not inherently actionable for the business.

So today, I wanted to share a few of our favorite customer survey questions that you can act on right away, whether it’s with follow-ups, product changes or marketing.

Forget about long, multi-page surveys; at least for now.

Just pick a few of the questions below, send them to your customers using a free tool like Google Forms or Typeform.

Here are four customer survey questions you can actually act on:

1) “What made you decide to try/buy?”

Here’s why this question is so powerful: it will tell you exactly what success with your product means to the customer. Often, success means different things to different customers.

For example, with Groove, some customers’ primary motive for signing up is because they want easier collaboration across their support team. For some, it’s about visibility into support metrics. There are lots of other reasons, but unless we have this insight into each customer, we can’t actually tailor an experience for them that actually helps them succeed.

That’s why we ask every new customer why they signed up for Groove.

Explainer video: You're in email

It doesn’t just get us powerful copy to use in our marketing; it helps us create better experiences for all of our customers.

How to act on this: Once you understand what the “buy” triggers are for your customers, make sure that your marketing is reflecting those benefits clearly enough for everyone.

Additionally, if the customer is looking to accomplish something specific with your product or service, send them personalized tips on how to do that.

2) “What challenge are we not solving for you that we could be?”

Regular readers of this blog know that long-term customer loyalty isn’t just about great support; it’s about making life as easy for your customers as you possibly can.

Whether it’s a new feature, a fix that you’re not yet considering or an additional product, there’s a great chance that your customers have other challenges that you have the expertise and ability to solve for them.

Doing that gives you a huge opportunity to upsell and cross-sell, delivering even more value and building deeper relationships with your customers (and of course, increasing revenue!).

How to act on this: Determine whether your product roadmap addresses your customers’ true biggest challenges. If not, consider whether it needs adjusting.

3) “How likely are you to recommend us to a friend or colleague? Why?”

You may recognize this as one of the two questions that make up the Net Promoter Score, one of the most valuable customer service metrics you can measure.

We ask this question often, as it’s a great way to gauge customer sentiment about your business, and lets you set goals to improve your customer service every quarter.

Not only that, but when you’re looking for customers from whom to recruit testimonials, who better to ask than the people who have already told you that they’d recommend you?

How to act on this: Ask your Promoters for testimonials and referrals. Reach out to your Passives to see if you can guide them to Promoter status with personalized support. Use the insights from the second part of the question to revisit your product roadmap, and to ensure that your marketing promise aligns with what your product actually delivers.

4) What could we do to become your favorite company to do business with?

This question is less about products, and more about experience.

Think about your absolute favorite companies to do business with. Why do you love them so much?

Chances are, the quality of their product is only part of the equation. You can probably think of other small touches (like the personality in the emails they send, or the handwritten notes you get from around the holidays, or the speed of their support response time) that truly make the experience great.

Asking this question will let your customers help you become that business for them.

How to act on this: What opportunities did the answers to this question reveal? Do they fit in your vision, and can you execute on them? If so, go for it.

Ask the Right Questions, and Then Act on Them

Asking the right questions is only the first part of customer research.

Once you have your answers, it’s time to act. This is a good reason to not go overboard with the number of questions you ask, or even the number of customers that you survey.

Start with a couple of questions, and a handful of customers, and see what kind of responses you get and what kind of opportunities you can identify.

And then do something about it.

Len Markidan avatar
Len Markidan

Len used to head up marketing at Groove. Though he has now moved on to other adventures, he still likes popping in and saying hi every now and then.

Read all of Len's articles

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