Why Your Customer Service Survey Is Causing Your Business to Crater

I’m ready to punch out the Toyota execs. It’s time to stop those ridiculous 8-question customer surveys. Or, start filling them out with an inane rant, so they don’t keep coming.

apple pie minus the slice

SEO can be BAKED into your customer surveys, to strengthen small business web marketing.

More on that story, later.

This past week the printed Bar Mitzvah invitations I ordered from an online printer came, and soon thereafter, the usual request to fill out an online customer satisfaction survey.

But that is where “business as usual” ended. In fact, the survey had only 2 questions. The first one, as expected, asked the viewer to rate how likely it would be that they recommend this service. It was a fill-in-the-bubble question allowing one answer on a scale of 1 to 10.

I don’t know what would have happened if I rated them low. In my case, I gave them a ‘9.’

The second (and last) question asked this:

What, specifically, would you tell someone to get them to try PrintPlace.com?

(big empty box for a long form answer)

What is happening here?

While they are interested in rating satisfaction and also improving their operations, I intuited that some objective went beyond this, so I called up and spoke with Marketing.

What they did, is to ask what words their internal SEO team should use to improve organic search on their site, what copy to include on landing pages, and potentially, what words to buy for Pay-per-click advertising (if they were to use AdWords, which they don’t).

From what customers write, this small business can learn what words easily spill from your mind plus what could persuade you to take the next step toward forking over your bucks, because those are the words that will bring greatest ROI.

As more and more goods are sold on the internet and as a larger share of purchasing becomes e-commerce (and now f-commerce, or facebook-based sales), it behooves you to learn the language of your prospects and not just their predilections for features. But respect the ever-widening phenomenon of survey fatigue.


  1. Keep your customer surveys shorter and sweeter, and
  2. Ask what words meaningfully grab consumers, because you need to bond with those precise words to write more persuasive copy.

And let’s have some gladiator-like fun by sending the Toyota corporate execs to the lion’s den, where they can be eaten along with the 4 different in-your-face surveys that come from getting an oil change at the dealer. The surveys that the local franchise owner can’t even scuttle, since it comes from “corporate.”

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons 2.0 ajagendorf25

What is on your Consumer Manifesto? Please share below.

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Did you enjoy this post?
  • http://Www.hanlancommunications.com Wendy hanlan

    Diane this is a gorgeous nugget of info. SEO plays a huge role in our online marketing presence. To me this is a perfect example of why you need a marketing plan. If you can’t see the big picture, how are you going to know which marketing tools to wield?

  • http://www.kennedyrealestate.ca Jennifer Perdicaris-Kennedy

    Fab article – so true!

    I have for years only asked 2 questions for my ‘feedback questionaire’
    1. Ideas on ways to imporove service.
    2. What did you enjoy most about working with your Realtor?

    BUT now I will add the third SEO question…brilliant!!

    Jennifer Kennedy
    KENNEDY Real Estate

    • Diane Dolinsky-Pickar

      Jennifer, I am so glad it was helpful! That third question will be the prod to make changes, and then greater results will arise from there!

  • http://www.mysoulmission.org Jennifer Bennett

    Great article! I have found that I get the best responses to surveys when instead of asking open-ended questions, I instead give them choices to choose from. It seems as though people are not as intimidated with those. I also keep them short! Thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.betterbusinessgrowthfaster.com/ AJ

    I agree with what others said, this is awesome!
    The 2 questions are so simple, and powerful at the same time.
    Who would have thought to ask a customer specific keywords:-)
    Definitely sharing this post with my marketing homies.
    Rock on Diane,

    • Diane Dolinsky-Pickar

      Thanks for the compliment AJ, and also the re-tweet! Indeed, the more you explore and incorporate keywords, the more you can stay a half-step ahead of the competition.

  • http://howtobeasuccessfulteacher.com/ Lori

    Great tips for giving a survey! Thanks!

  • http://www.pathtolifesuccess.net Hughie Bagnell

    Great article Diane! ‘Short and Sweet’ definitely the way to go…Cheers, Hughie :)

  • Debi

    Short is imperative to get a response. It’s the phone surveys that really bug me.

  • johnpaul david

     The article which you have shared is really very good.

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