Rethinking Surveys: How To Format Customer Surveys for Success

For many businesses, understanding a customer’s wants and needs can be challenging. In fact, it’s a common obstacle businesses face when attempting to enhance the overall experience.

With the proper tools in place and the right guidance, however, understanding customers can be easier than you think.

Customer surveys, for instance, are a massive tool that provides both customer insight as well as an understanding of business operations. They’re a remarkable instrument that can help you stay ahead of the trend curve and keep customers coming back.

In this blog, we’re sharing our best practices for building fortified customer surveys. Starting with the fundamentals, we’re taking a look at how you can format your survey to engage customers and improve the number of responses.

Design a Smooth Flow of Questions

When it comes to building out your customer survey, format with intent. Ensure you have a smooth flow of questions that tell a story and draw out the most insight. As a best practice, start with simple questions such as name and/or location and ease into more difficult or time-consuming questions later on. The key is to not overwhelm the customer at first glance, but rather engage and encourage them to continue. Lastly, we suggest keeping like questions together to ensure a simple flow of thought.

Keep Your Customer Survey Short and Sweet

According to industry research, the best customer surveys have less than 30 questions and/or take less than 8 minutes to complete.

Today, the last thing customers want is to be daunted by a long and time-consuming survey. When designing your customer survey, keep in mind the number of questions you are posing, how long each question can take to fill out, how long each question takes to read, and so on. When formulating your questions, utilize clear wording and try to keep them minimal, one sentence is best practice.

Ensure You’re Collecting Key Data

Enhance specific business objectives and be in the know of where you stand competitively by providing NPS, CSAT, and CES questions. These are the backbone of any survey and should be included throughout.

For more in-depth information on these question types, we’ve written many blogs for leveraging NPS, CSAT, and CES, and highly suggest reviewing them before commencing your surveying journey.

Offer Multiple Question Types

Delivering a memorable and engaging survey means offering more than one question type. This keeps the experience interesting and allows customers to express themselves in multiple ways. Here we touch on some of the top question types to consider. 

Multiple Choice

Multiple choice questions offer customers a range of possible answers, where the customer must select one fixed answer. Limiting the customer’s response, it’s a great option for businesses who want a specific answer. 


What channel do you leverage most to communicate?

  • Facebook Messenger
  • Text Message (SMS)
  • Email
  • WhatsApp
  • Other

Open-Text Form

In contrast to multiple-choice, open-text forms allow customers to relay their experience in a more detailed and descriptive way. Although this is a great way to uncover exact experiences, keep in mind that customers have the freedom to write what they want – and may not always follow the question asked.


Tell us about your experience dining with us:

Ranking Scale

Using a fixed scale of one’s desired number, customers can rank specific elements of their experience. Most commonly businesses will leverage a scale of one to ten. This type of question is heavily used for key performance indicators such as NPS, CSAT, and CES. 


On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to recommend this establishment to friends and family? 

1 being very unlikely and 10 being very likely. 

Pick List 

Similar to multiple-choice, using a pick list, businesses can determine a fixed set of answers that customers can select from. This question takes the format of a drop-down list and allows for a more concise answer that businesses provide.


What area of your experience stood out to you?

  • Cleanliness
  • Customer Service
  • Food Quality 
  • Time To Serve
  • All Of The Above

Limit Long-Form Questions

Although you may need to incorporate long-form questions in order to understand customers more clearly, we suggest not going over the standard one to two questions. In most cases, in a single long-form answer, customers will go above and beyond in their answers, providing you will specific details of their experience, therefore it isn’t necessary for them to fill out more.

In addition, long answers take time to construct. A customer who is time-sensitive might not want to fill out 4-5 long-form answers. As mentioned before, it’s important to keep the customer’s valuable time, top of mind.

Design An Engaging Survey Template

Make sure your survey is designed in an engaging way and offering a seamless experience. For starters, ensure your survey is mobile-friendly, on-brand, easy to navigate, and has an option for customer support. It should be easy for anyone to fill out your survey regardless of device.

How The Loop Experience Platform Can Help

In order to provide a survey that is both engaging and effective, we suggest leveraging a customer experience management solution, like the Loop Experience Platform. Built to send multiple surveys on a range of channels, Loop allows businesses to create customizable surveys in line with business objectives.

What’s more, businesses can choose from an array of question types like multiple choice, pick lists, long-form answers, and more, in addition to consulting our team of experts on flow and style. Using the Loop Experience Platform, you can also gain the advantage of collecting feedback at key moments of truth both online and offline to ensure a seamless experience. Connect with a customer in-store or via a webchat, regardless, all data is aggregated into a single dashboard, ready for you to review.

Lastly, upon sending the survey, you can obtain granular and holistic data from your customers- throughout their entire journey. Available to view on custom dashboards, you can dissect data based on role and location. Further, you can leverage advanced text analytics to capture customer sentiment, understand motivations, and uncover opportunities at scale. With the Loop Experience Platform, customer surveys are made easy so your team can continue to evolve programs and employees are trained effectively.

Contact one of our Survey Specialists today for a Customized Demo.

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