- Collecting feedback through a survey is one of the best ways businesses can gather information from both customers and employees.
- Feedback surveys provide real-time data, which can help businesses remain agile with market trends.
- The best surveys are easy to complete and have no more than 10 questions.
- This article is for business owners, employers, marketing managers and customer satisfaction representatives who want to improve their businesses based on consumer or employee needs.
Feedback is critical to the growth of any business, whether positive or negative. Feedback from customers and employees can offer insights into what is working well and what needs to be adjusted in a business. One effective means of collecting these insights is feedback surveys. A well-crafted feedback survey provides companies the information they need to grow and improve their operations.
What is a feedback survey?
A feedback survey is a process by which businesses gather information about customer or employee satisfaction, typically through the use of a questionnaire. The questions are designed to give individuals the freedom to share their experiences, criticisms and suggestions for the company.
Feedback surveys offer the opportunity for both positive and negative responses, both of which can provide valuable information. Positive feedback can help businesses understand what they are doing well, while also encouraging teams to keep up their hard work and continue to innovate. Negative feedback, while not always easy to hear, provides insights into what and how the company could improve.
The two primary audiences for feedback surveys are customers and employees. For each audience, there are several types of surveys a business can implement.
- Market research survey
- Lead generation survey
- Brand awareness survey
- Customer satisfaction survey
- Event evaluation survey
- Employee satisfaction survey
- Job satisfaction survey
- Training evaluation survey
- New-hire survey
- Exit interview
Key takeaway: A feedback survey gathers information on customer and employee satisfaction. Market research, event and training evaluation, and new-hire surveys are some examples of feedback surveys.
How are feedback surveys used?
The primary purpose of a feedback survey is to better understand the needs of your customers and employees.
Feedback surveys can improve your relationship with your customers and increase their overall satisfaction with your company. If you take customers' responses into consideration and implement any relevant feedback that will improve their experience, your audience will feel valued – and you'll have a better product or service in the long term. Together, these factors will increase client satisfaction, making them more likely to remain loyal to your brand and continue to work with you in the future.
Feedback surveys help you better understand your employees and their concerns, while also giving insights into the overall health of your company. Employees have an inside perspective on what is working and what isn't. These insights can help you quickly identify and address problems or inefficiencies at any level of the organization, especially if employees are protected under anonymity or otherwise encouraged to be fully honest in their responses without fear of repercussions. Of equal importance is that employees feel appreciated and valued when they have the opportunity to provide feedback to their employers.
TIP: Feedback surveys can be used for both customers and employees. You can use them to gauge a wide range of sentiments to improve your business processes.
Importance of feedback surveys
Feedback is integral to every business. Whenever any company communicates with its customers, employees, partners or stakeholders, it opens itself up to verbal feedback. Formalizing the process through a feedback survey can help focus, gather and integrate this information into actionable change.
By conducting feedback surveys, you can gain unique insights into how your business can improve its product, service or operations – which ultimately benefits your bottom line.
Here are just a few advantages of feedback surveys:
- They provide real-time feedback. You can send out surveys at any time and on various aspects of your company, whether it's a snapshot in time or immediately after a launch or event. This allows survey participants to offer their feedback in real time, so you can capitalize on the results quickly.
- They allow businesses to stay agile and on top of trends. Regular customer feedback surveys offer instant information, including a look into customer trends and needs.
- They can quantify change over time. Conducting the same survey multiple times – for example, before and after a change in your company – gives you quantitative information about change over time, showing you the impact those changes are having.
- They show customers and employees that their opinions matter. Customers and employees alike want to be heard. Feedback surveys show them their opinions are important to your company and can drive positive change.
Feedback surveys should not be a short-term project. As your business grows and evolves over time, your customers' and employees' needs are likely to change as well. Regular feedback surveys can give you the right information to continuously meet your users' and staff's needs.
Did You Know: Surveys allow employers to gather instant feedback, stay on top of trends, highlight changes over time, and show employees and customers that their opinions matter.
How to create and send a feedback survey
Once you've decided to implement feedback surveys, keep these considerations in mind to ensure your survey process is effective:
Writing a feedback survey
An ideal feedback survey is not only authoritative and engaging, but also easy to complete.
Experts recommend keeping your survey brief (no more than 10 questions; five or fewer is preferable). The language of your survey should be balanced and unbiased to ensure honest feedback. Additionally, at least one of your questions should be quantitative, which offers you more concrete data to analyze.
Sections/questions to include in the survey
The exact sections and questions you should include in your survey depend on your company's goals and the type of survey you are conducting. Most importantly, make sure your survey questions will yield actionable results. Here are some key areas to consider including in your feedback survey:
- Numeric rating scales: These are usually presented in wording like, "On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being highly unsatisfied and 10 being highly satisfied, how satisfied are you with X?" or "How much do you agree with X, 1 being 'strongly disagree' and 5 being 'strongly agree'?" This question works well for both employee and customer feedback surveys, as it provides data points for how happy they are with a given experience.
- Yes/no questions: These simple questions can get a quick pulse on how your employees or customers are feeling. For example, an employee feedback survey on company culture might include the question, "Do you feel connected to your co-workers?" Similarly, a customer feedback survey could ask its participants, "Would you recommend our services to a friend?"
- Additional comments/suggestions: Even the most thorough surveys may not leave room for the participant to share everything they're thinking. An open text box for comments, suggestions, or additional feedback at the end of the survey allows participants to explain their responses or provide more information that cannot always be captured in quantitative measures.
Tools for creating and managing feedback surveys
Once you've determined which questions to include in your feedback surveys, the next step is to determine which tool you'll use to create the survey and manage the responses. Paper surveys are typically less expensive, but they will require you to manually compile and analyze the results of your survey.
Conversely, online tools such as SurveyMonkey and Google Forms can automate the question creation, data collection and analysis process. Many online survey tools also offer both web- and mobile-optimized versions, which increases the likelihood that participants will be able to complete their feedback surveys successfully.
Tip: Before writing and sending out a feedback survey, you need to determine the questions you will ask, the sections and formats the questions will be in, and how you will collect and manage the responses.
Analyzing survey results
After creating a feedback survey and gathering the responses, it's time to integrate the information you've been given. Here's how to analyze, digest and implement your survey results:
- Understand the intent of the survey. Consider why you conducted the survey in the first place, what information you wanted to gain, and how you planned to use that information. For example, if you sent out a survey on employee satisfaction with the onboarding process, you can use the survey to identify whether the training was effective and what processes to add or change in the future.
- Identify patterns in feedback. While you want to take individual responses into consideration, you'll get a better understanding of what you need to address by looking at the overarching themes in your feedback. It is also recommended to integrate survey results with other feedback, such as previous surveys or employee performance reviews, to identify any patterns or correlations.
- Create goals and priorities based on the results. Based on the survey responses, identify which areas of your business are performing well and which need to change. Prioritize areas of improvement, then develop actionable goals that will help your company improve.
- Implement the results. Finally, it's time to put your goals into action. Consider publishing the results or sharing the information with your employees or customers – this demonstrates transparency in your business's processes and shows them that you are listening to their concerns. Once you've had some time to implement the results, you can send out another feedback survey to determine the success of your efforts.