The adage "the customer is always right" has received some pushback in recent years, but when it comes to conducting surveys, the phrase is worth a deeper look. In the past, representatives were tasked with solving client problems as they happened. Now, they have to be proactive by solving problems before they come up.
Salesforce found that 63% of customers expect companies to anticipate their needs before they ask for help. But how can a customer service team recognize these customer needs in advance and effectively solve them on a day-to-day basis?
A customer questionnaire is a tried-and-true method for collecting survey data to inform your customer service strategy. By hearing directly from the customer, you'll capture first-hand data about how well your service team meets their needs. In this article, you'll get free questionnaire templates and best practices on how to administer them for the most honest responses.
Table of Contents:
- Questionnaire Definition
- Survey vs. Questionnaire
- Questionnaire Templates
- Questionnaire Examples
- Questionnaire Design
- Survey Question Examples
- Examples of Good Survey Questions
- How to Make a Questionnaire
A questionnaire is a research tool used to conduct surveys. It includes specific questions with the goal to understand a topic from the respondents' point of view. Questionnaires typically have closed-ended, open-ended, short-form, and long-form questions.
The questions should always stay as unbiased as possible. For instance, it's unwise to ask for feedback on a specific product or service that’s still in the ideation phase. To complete the questionnaire, the customer would have to imagine how they might experience the product or service rather than sharing their opinion about their actual experience with it.
Ask broad questions about the kinds of qualities and features your customers enjoy in your products or services and incorporate that feedback into new offerings your team is developing.
What makes a good questionnaire?
- Define the Goal
- Make it Short and Simple
- Use a Mix of Question Types
- Proofread Carefully
- Keep it Consistent
A good questionnaire should find what you need versus what you want. It should be valuable and give you a chance to understand the respondent’s point of view.
Define the Goal
Make the purpose of your questionnaire clear. While it's tempting to ask a range of questions simultaneously, you'll get more valuable results if you stay specific to a set topic.
Make it Short and Simple
According to HubSpot research, 47% of those surveyed say their top reason for abandoning a survey is the time it takes to complete.
So, questionnaires should be concise and easy to finish. If you're looking for a respondent’s experience with your business, focus on the most important questions.
5 Customer Survey Templates
Use a Mix of Question Types
Your questionnaire should include a combination of question types, like open-ended, long-form, or short-ended questions.
Open-ended questions give users a chance to share their own answers. But closed-ended questions are more efficient and easy to quantify, with specific answer choices.
If you're not sure which question types are best, read here for more survey question examples.
While it's important to check spelling and grammar, there are two other things you'll want to check for a great questionnaire.
First, edit for clarity. Jargon, technical terms, and brand-specific language can be confusing for respondents. Next, check for leading questions. These questions can produce biased results that will be less useful to your team.
Keep it Consistent
Consistency makes it easier for respondents to quickly complete your questionnaire. This is because it makes the questions less confusing. It can also reduce bias.
Being consistent is also helpful for analyzing questionnaire data because it makes it easier to compare results. With this in mind, keep response scales, question types, and formatting consistent.
In-Depth Interviews vs. Questionnaire
Questionnaires can be a more feasible and efficient research method than in-depth interviews. They are a lot cheaper to conduct. That’s because in-depth interviews can require you to compensate the interviewees for their time and give accommodations and travel reimbursement.
Questionnaires also save time for both parties. Customers can quickly complete them on their own time, and employees of your company don't have to spend time conducting the interviews. They can capture a larger audience than in-depth interviews, making them much more cost-effective.
It would be impossible for a large company to interview tens of thousands of customers in person. The same company could potentially get feedback from its entire customer base using an online questionnaire.
When considering your current products and services (as well as ideas for new products and services), it's essential to get the feedback of existing and potential customers. They are the ones who have a say in purchasing decisions.
Survey vs. Questionnaire
A questionnaire is a tool that’s used to conduct a survey. A survey is the process of gathering, sampling, analyzing, and interpreting data from a group of people.
The confusion between these terms most likely stems from the fact that questionnaires and data analysis were treated as very separate processes before the Internet became popular. Questionnaires used to be completed on paper, and data analysis occurred later as a separate process. Nowadays, these processes are typically combined since online survey tools allow questionnaire responses to be analyzed and aggregated all in one step.
But questionnaires can still be used for reasons other than data analysis. Job applications and medical history forms are examples of questionnaires that have no intention of being statistically analyzed. The key difference between questionnaires and surveys is that they can exist together or separately.
Below are some of the best free questionnaire templates you can download to gather data that informs your next product or service offering.
What makes a good survey question?
- Have a Goal in Mind
- Draft Clear and Distinct Answers and Questions
- Ask One Question at a Time
- Check for Bias and Sensitivity
- Include Follow-Up Questions
To make a good survey question, you have to choose the right type of questions to use. Include concise, clear, and appropriate questions with answer choices that won’t confuse the respondent and will clearly offer data on their experience.
Good survey questions can give a business good data to examine. Here are some more tips to follow as you draft your survey questions.
Have a Goal in Mind
To make a good survey, consider what you are trying to learn from it. Understanding why you need to do a survey will help you create clear and concise questions that you need to ask to meet your goal. The more your questions focus on one or two objectives, the better your data will be.
Draft Clear and Distinct Answers and Questions
You have a goal in mind for your survey. Now you have to write the questions and answers depending on the form you’re using.
For instance, if you’re using ranks or multiple-choice in your survey, be clear. Here are examples of good and poor multiple-choice answers:
Poor Survey Question and Answer Example
- Contains the tallest mountain in the United States.
- Has an eagle on its state flag.
- Is the second-largest state in terms of area.
- Was the location of the Gold Rush of 1849.
Good Survey Question and Answer Example
What is the main reason so many people moved to California in 1849?
- California's land was fertile, plentiful, and inexpensive.
- The discovery of gold in central California.
- The East was preparing for a civil war.
- They wanted to establish religious settlements.
In the poor example, the question may confuse the respondent because it's not clear what is being asked or how the answers relate to the question. The survey didn’t fully explain the question, and the options are also confusing.
In the good example above, the question and answer choices are clear and easy to understand.
Always make sure answers and questions are clear and distinct to create a good experience for the respondent. This will offer your team the best outcomes from your survey.
Ask One Question at a Time
It's surprisingly easy to combine multiple questions into one. They even have a name — they’re called "double-barreled" questions. But a good survey asks one question at a time.
For example, a survey question could read, "What is your favorite sneaker and clothing apparel brand?" This is bad because you’re asking two questions at once.
By asking two questions simultaneously, you may confuse your respondents and get unclear answers. Instead, each question should focus on getting specific pieces of information.
For example, ask, "What is your favorite sneaker brand?" then, "What is your favorite clothing apparel brand?" By separating the questions, you allow your respondents to give separate and precise answers.
Check for Bias and Sensitivity
Biased questions can lead a respondent toward a specific response. They can also be vague or unclear. Sensitive questions such as age, religion, or marital status can be helpful for demographics. These questions can also be uncomfortable for people to answer.
There are a few ways to create a positive experience with your survey questions.
First, think about question placement. Sensitive questions that appear in context with other survey questions can help people understand why you are asking. This can make them feel more comfortable responding.
Next, check your survey for leading questions, assumptions, and double-barreled questions. You want to make sure that your survey is neutral and free of bias.
Include Follow-Up Questions
Asking more than one survey question about an area of interest can make a survey easier to understand and complete. It also helps you collect more in-depth insights from your respondents.
1. Free HubSpot Questionnaire Template
HubSpot offers a variety of free customer surveys and questionnaire templates to analyze and measure customer experience. Choose from five templates: net promoter score, customer satisfaction, customer effort, open-ended questions, and long-form customer surveys.
2. Client Questionnaire Template
It's a good idea to gauge your clients' experiences with your business to uncover opportunities to improve your offerings. That will, in turn, better suit their lifestyles. You don't have to wait for an entire year to pass before polling your customer base about their experience either. A simple client questionnaire, like the one below, can be administered as a micro survey several times throughout the year. These types of quick survey questions work well to retarget your existing customers through social media polls and paid interactive ads.
1. How much time do you spend using [product or service]?
- Less than a minute
- About 1 - 2 minutes
- Between 2 and 5 minutes
- More than 5 minutes
2. In the last month, what has been your biggest pain point?
- Finding enough time for important tasks
- Delegating work
- Having enough to do
3. What's your biggest priority right now?
- Finding a faster way to work
- Staff development
3. Website Questionnaire Template
Whether you just launched a brand new website or you're gathering data points to inform a redesign, you'll find customer feedback to be essential in both processes. A website questionnaire template will come in handy to collect this information using an unbiased method.
1. How many times have you visited [website] in the past month?
- More than once
2. What is the primary reason for your visit to [website]?
- To make a purchase
- To find more information before making a purchase in-store
- To contact customer service
3. Are you able to find what you're looking for on the website homepage?
4. Customer Satisfaction Questionnaire Template
If you've never surveyed your customers and are looking for a template to get started, this one includes some basic customer satisfaction questions. These will apply to just about any customer your business serves.
1. How likely are you to recommend us to family, friends, or colleagues?
- Extremely unlikely
- Somewhat unlikely
- Somewhat likely
- Extremely likely
2. How satisfied were you with your experience?
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10
3. Rank the following items in terms of their priority to your purchasing process.
- Helpful staff
- Quality of product
- Price of product
- Ease of purchase
- Proximity of store
- Online accessibility
- Current need
- Appearance of product
4. Who did you purchase these products for?
- Family member
- On behalf of a business
5. Please rate our staff on the following terms:
- Friendly __ __ __ __ __ Hostile
- Helpful __ __ __ __ __ Useless
- Knowledgeable __ __ __ __ __ Inexperienced
- Professional __ __ __ __ __ Inappropriate
6. Would you purchase from our company again?
7. How can we improve your experience for the future?
5. Customer Effort Score Questionnaire Template
The following template gives an example of a brief customer effort score (CES) questionnaire. This free template works well for new customers to measure their initial reaction to your business.
1. What was the ease of your experience with our company?
- Extremely difficult
- Somewhat difficult
- Somewhat easy
- Extremely easy
2. The company did everything it could to make my process as easy as possible.
- Strongly disagree
- Somewhat disagree
- Somewhat agree
- Strongly agree
3. On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being "extremely quickly" and 10 being "extremely slowly"), how fast were you able to solve your problem?
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10
4. How much effort did you have to put forth while working with our company?
- Much more than expected
- Somewhat more than expected
- As much as expected
- Somewhat less than expected
- Much less than expected
6. Demographic Questionnaire Template
Here's a template for surveying customers to learn more about their demographic background. You could substantiate the analysis of this questionnaire by corroborating the data with other information from your web analytics, internal customer data, and industry data.
1. How would you describe your employment status?
- Employed full-time
- Employed part-time
- Freelance/contract employee
2. How many employees work at your company?
3. How would you classify your role?
- Individual Contributor
4. How would you classify your industry?
Below, we have curated a list of questionnaire examples that do a great job of gathering valuable qualitative and quantitative data.
4 Questionnaire Examples
1. Customer Satisfaction Questions
I received this questionnaire after an annual appointment with my optometrist. This specific questionnaire targets patient satisfaction. Since the company specializes in medical services and not products, there isn't a lot of input patients can give on new things for the company to ideate and produce.
This questionnaire is effective because it's clear and concise. As someone with a pretty busy daily schedule, I wouldn't want to invest more than a couple of minutes in a company questionnaire.
This was also a mobile-friendly questionnaire. All the questions fit on one screen, which saved me from loading several pages. The open-ended question was optional, and since I had no strong feelings on the matter, I left it blank. However, offering an open-ended question is a great way to get more in-depth feedback.
2. Customer Effort Score (CES) Questions
Recently, I took a Greyhound bus to and from New York City, and I received this survey via email. This is an example of a Customer Effort Score (CES) question. These questions measure the ease of a customer's experience, not just their satisfaction with the overall experience.
This specific Greyhound survey measured:
- How easy my experience with checking luggage was.
- Whether or not an employee helped me load and unload my luggage.
- How long the loading and unloading process took.
- How all of that experience affected my overall trip.
It was easy for me to complete the questionnaire with clear close-ended questions. As a result of this questionnaire, Greyhound will measure how much effort their customers need to put into their bus journeys and potentially find ways to make their trips easier.
3. Psychographic Questions
Emerson College's Center for Spiritual Life sent me the above survey during the spring semester. Since it was directed at students, its goal was to improve the direction and reach of the Center for Spiritual Life.
As a student, I don't typically fill out surveys because my time is spent completing assignments. Emerson College recognized this and has started offering to enter students into drawings to win prizes if they complete certain surveys. Offering incentives in exchange for getting customers to fill out your surveys is an excellent tactic. And, often, the prize can be cost-effective, like a gift card or small cash prize.
4. Demographic Questions
Adobe sent my coworker, Sophia Bernazzani, this questionnaire recently. It's solely composed of close-ended questions. Rather than learning about a customer's experience with the brand, it focuses on gaining demographic information. The goal of this kind of questionnaire is to collect user data.
Demographic questions take less effort for customers to fill out than customer experience ones. Made up of multiple-choice questions, it also takes less time. It’s effective for customers who don't have the time to prioritize company questionnaires. This is a simple way for companies to collect data about their customer base, which will help them understand their target audience in the future when planning campaigns and new products.
Based on these examples, we've included some tips and best practices below for mastering the design of your next questionnaire.
Questionnaire design is a critical part of the survey creation process. It involves creating questions that accurately measure the opinions, experiences, behaviors, or actions of the respondents. Questionnaire design includes question development, writing, organization, and testing.
The number of questions in your questionnaire should depend on the information you're looking to collect. You should also think about your customer journey map and consider customer needs when the questionnaire is presented. If the customer is in a hurry, it may not be the time to display a 10-question survey. Where they are in the buyer's journey will dictate how many questions you'll be able to ask.
A good rule of thumb is most customers spend about five minutes filling out a 10-question survey. That means your 50-question form takes about half an hour to complete. Unless you're offering an incentive in return, that's a big ask to your busy customers.
The way a questionnaire is presented can make a big impact on how the survey is perceived. Just about everything can affect the respondent's experience with the survey. They can be affected by:
- The spacing between questions
- The number of questions
- Design and layout
- How instructions and questions are written
Some presentation elements that make a great questionnaire include a progress bar, back and forward buttons, clear text boxes, beck boxes, and radio buttons for selecting the appropriate response to a question.
Spend some time in the questionnaire presentation and design stage to develop a survey your customers want to complete.
Question progression refers to the order and layout of your questionnaire. Most surveys begin with a multiple-choice format or rating scale. These questions take less time to answer and make the questionnaire seem to take a shorter amount of time. Once these questions are out of the way, the questionnaire should conclude with short-answer or open-ended questions. These sections typically take more time to complete depending on how much time your customer will spend on them.
Understanding your questionnaire goal will help you create your questionnaire. Make sure the goal is clear. If it’s confusing, the questionnaire will be too. The respondents will be bewildered, and that can harm your data. If you know the goal of the questionnaire, you will have more concise and clear data.
The goal of a questionnaire is to make sure the business gets what they need from the respondents. Knowing and explaining what you need will get you what you want.
The words you use in your questionnaire are important. Don’t use business jargon the respondents won’t understand. For instance, if you’re asking the respondent how your fast AI benefitted them, explain what an AI is (whether you think they know it or not). This will help your questionnaire stay clear.
Your questions should be simple and to the point and use straightforward language. Lastly, always make sure you frame your questions based on your subject. Look at social and economic factors to make sure the questions can be answered clearly.
Survey Question Examples
There is a range of different types of questions you can use in your questionnaire to collect data.
Multiple-choice questions offer respondents several answers to choose from. This is a popular choice of questionnaire format since it's simple for people to fill out and for companies to analyze.
Multiple-choice questions can be in single-answer form (respondents can only choose one response) or multiple-answer form (respondents can choose as many responses as necessary).
Multiple-choice survey question examples: "Which of the following social media platforms do you use most often?"
Rating scale questions offer a scale of numbers and ask respondents to rate topics based on the sentiments assigned to that scale. This is effective when assessing customer satisfaction.
Rating scale survey question examples: "Rate your level of satisfaction with the customer service you received today on a scale of 1-10."
Yes or No
Yes or no survey questions are a type of dichotomous question. These are questions that only offer two possible responses. They’re useful because they’re quick to answer and can help with customer segmentation.
Yes or no survey questions example: "Have you ever used HubSpot before?"
Likert scale questions assess whether a respondent agrees with the statement, as well as the extent to which they agree or disagree.
These questions typically offer five or seven responses, with sentiments ranging from items such as "strongly disagree" to "strongly agree." Check out this post to learn more about the Likert scale.
Likert scale survey question examples: “How satisfied are you with the service from [brand]?”
Open-ended questions ask a broader question or offer a chance to elaborate on a response to a close-ended question. They're accompanied by a text box that leaves room for respondents to write freely. This is particularly important when asking customers to expand on an experience or recommendation.
Open-ended survey question examples: "What are your personal goals for using HubSpot? Please describe."
A matrix table is usually a group of multiple-choice questions grouped in a table. Choices for these survey questions are usually organized in a scale. This makes it easier to understand the relationships between different survey responses.
Matrix table survey question examples: "Rate your level of agreement with the following statements about HubSpot on a scale of 1-5."
Rank Order Scaling
These questions ask respondents to rank a set of terms by order of preference or importance. This is useful for understanding customer priorities.
Rank order scaling examples: "Rank the following factors in order of importance when choosing a new job."
Semantic Differential Scale
This scale features pairs of opposite adjectives that respondents use for rating, usually for a feature or experience. This type of question makes it easier to understand customer attitudes and beliefs.
Semantic differential scale question examples: "Rate your overall impression of this brand as friendly vs. unfriendly, innovative vs. traditional, and boring vs. exciting."
This matrix table format includes two sets of questions horizontally for easy comparison. This format can help with customer gap analysis.
Side-by-side matrix question examples: "Rate your level of satisfaction with HubSpot's customer support compared to its ease of use."
The Stapel rating scale offers a single adjective or idea for rating. It uses a numerical scale with a zero point in the middle. This survey question type helps with in-depth analysis.
Stapel scale survey question examples: "Rate your overall experience with this product as +5 (excellent) to -5 (terrible)."
Constant Sum Survey Questions
In this question format, people distribute points to different choices based on the perceived importance of each point. This kind of question is often used in market research and can help your team better understand customer choices.
Constant sum survey question examples: "What is your budget for the following marketing expenses: Paid campaigns, Events, Freelancers, Agencies, Research."
This survey question type shows several images. Then, it asks the respondent to choose the image that best matches their response to the question. These questions are useful for understanding your customers’ design preferences.
Image choice survey questions example: "Which of these three images best represents your brand voice?"
This survey question offers a hypothetical scenario, then the respondent must choose from the presented options. It's a useful type of question when you are refining a product or strategy.
Choice model survey questions example: "Which of these three deals would be most appealing to you?"
Click Map Questions
Click map questions offer an image click on specific areas of the image in response to a question. This question uses data visualization to learn about customer preferences for design and user experience.
Click map question examples: "Click on the section of the website where you would expect to find pricing information."
This survey question example asks the respondent to upload a file or document in response to a question. This type of survey question can help your team collect data and context that might be tough to collect otherwise.
Data upload question examples: "Please upload a screenshot of the error you encountered during your purchase."
This question type asks a respondent to compare their answers to a group or benchmark. These questions can be useful if you're trying to compare buyer personas or other customer groups.
Benchmarkable survey questions example: "Compare your company's marketing budget to other companies in your industry."
Good Survey Questions
- What is your favorite product?
- Why did you purchase this product?
- How satisfied are you with [product]?
- Would you recommend [product] to a friend?
- Would you recommend [company name] to a friend?
- If you could change one thing about [product], what would it be?
- Which other options were you considering before [product or company name]?
- Did [product] help you accomplish your goal?
- How would you feel if we did not offer this product, feature, or service?
- What would you miss the most if you couldn't use your favorite product from us?
- What is one word that best describes your experience using our product?
- What's the primary reason for canceling your account?
- How satisfied are you with our customer support?
- Did we answer all of your questions and concerns?
- How can we be more helpful?
- What additional features would you like to see in this product?
- Are we meeting your expectations?
- How satisfied are you with your experience?
1. "What is your favorite product?"
This question is a great starter for your survey. Most companies want to know what their most popular products are, and this question cuts right to the point.
It's important to note that this question gives you the customer's perspective, not empirical evidence. You should compare the results to your inventory to see if your customers' answers match your actual sales. You may be surprised to find your customers' "favorite" product isn't the highest-selling one.
2. "Why did you purchase this product?"
Once you know their favorite product, you need to understand why they like it so much. The qualitative data will help your marketing and sales teams attract and engage customers. They'll know which features to advertise most and can seek out new leads similar to your existing customers.
3. "How satisfied are you with [product]?"
When you have a product that isn't selling, you can ask this question to see why customers are unhappy with it. If the reviews are poor, you'll know that the product needs reworking, and you can send it back to product management for improvement. Or, if these results are positive, they may have something to do with your marketing or sales techniques. You can then gather more info during the questionnaire and restrategize your campaigns based on your findings.
4. "Would you recommend [product] to a friend?"
This is a classic survey question used with most NPS® surveys. It asks the customer if they would recommend your product to one of their peers. This is extremely important because most people trust customer referrals more than traditional advertising. So, if your customers are willing to recommend your products, you'll have an easier time acquiring new leads.
5. "Would you recommend [company name] to a friend?"
Similar to the question above, this one asks the customer to consider your business as a whole and not just your product. This gives you insight into your brand's reputation and shows how customers feel about your company's actions. Even if you have an excellent product, your brand's reputation may be the cause of customer churn. Your marketing team should pay close attention to this question to see how they can improve the customer experience.
6. "If you could change one thing about [product], what would it be?"
This is a good question to ask your most loyal customers or ones that have recently churned. For loyal customers, you want to keep adding value to their experience. Asking how your product can improve helps your development team find flaws and increases your chances of retaining a valuable customer segment.
For customers that have recently churned, this question gives insight into how you can retain future users that are unhappy with your product or service. By giving these customers a space to voice their criticisms, you can either reach out and offer solutions or relay feedback for consideration.
7. "Which other options were you considering before [product or company name]?"
If you're operating in a competitive industry, customers will have more than one choice when considering your brand. And if you sell variations of your product or produce new models periodically, customers may prefer one version over another.
For this question, you should offer answers to choose from in a multiple-selection format. This will limit the types of responses you'll receive and help you get the exact information you need.
8. "Did [product] help you accomplish your goal?"
The purpose of any product or service is to help customers reach a goal. So, you should be direct and ask them if your company steered them toward success. After all, customer success is an excellent retention tool. If customers are succeeding with your product, they're more likely to stay loyal to your brand.
9. "How would you feel if we did not offer this product, feature, or service?"
Thinking about discontinuing a product? This question can help you decide whether or not a specific product, service, or feature will be missed if you were to remove it.
Even if you know that a product or service isn't worth offering, it's important to ask this question anyway because there may be a certain aspect of the product that your customers like. They'll be delighted if you can integrate that feature into a new product or service.
10. "If you couldn't use your favorite product from us, what would you miss the most about it?"
This question pairs well with the one above because it frames the customer's favorite product from a different point of view. Instead of describing why they love a particular product, the customer can explain what they'd be missing if they didn't have it at all. This type of question uncovers "fear of loss," which can be a very different motivating factor than "hope for gain."
11. "What word best describes your experience using our product?"
Your marketing team will love this question. A single word or a short phrase can easily sum up your customers’ emotions when they experience your company, product, or brand. Those emotions can be translated into relatable marketing campaigns that use your customers’ exact language.
If the responses reveal negative emotions, it's likely that your entire customer service team can relate to that pain point. Rather than calling it "a bug in the system," you can describe the problem as a "frustrating roadblock" to keep their experience at the forefront of the solution.
12. "What's the primary reason for canceling your account?"
Finding out why customers are unhappy with your product or service is key to decreasing your churn rate. If you don't understand why people leave your brand, it's hard to make effective changes to prevent future turnover. Or worse, you might alter your product or service in a way that increases your churn rate, causing you to lose customers who were once loyal supporters.
13. "How satisfied are you with our customer support?"
It's worth asking customers how happy they are with your support or service team. After all, an excellent product doesn't always guarantee that customers will stay loyal to your brand. Research shows that one in six customers will leave a brand they love after just one poor service experience.
14. "Did we answer all of your questions and concerns?"
This is a good question to ask after a service experience. It shows how thorough your support team is and whether they're prioritizing speed too much over quality. If customers still have questions and concerns after a service interaction, your support team is focusing too much on closing tickets and not enough on meeting customer needs.
15. "How can we be more helpful?"
Sometimes it's easier to be direct and simply ask customers what else you can do to help them. This shows a genuine interest in your buyers' goals which helps your brand foster meaningful relationships with its customer base. The more you can show that you sincerely care about your customers' problems, the more they'll open up to you and be honest about how you can help them.
16. What additional features would you like to see in this product?
With this question, your team can get inspiration for the company's next product launch. Think of the responses as a wish list from your customers. You can discover what features are most valuable to them and whether they already exist within a competitor's product.
Incorporating every feature suggestion is nearly impossible, but it's a convenient way to build a backlog of ideas that can inspire future product releases.
17. "Are we meeting your expectations?"
This is a really important question to ask because customers won't always tell you when they're unhappy with your service. Not every customer will ask to speak with a manager when they're unhappy with your business. In fact, most will quietly move on to a competitor rather than broadcast their unhappiness to your company. To prevent this type of customer churn, you need to be proactive and ask customers if your brand is meeting their expectations.
18. "How satisfied are you with your experience?"
This question asks the customer to summarize their experience with your business. It gives you a snapshot of how the customer is feeling in that moment and their perception of your brand. Asking this question at the right stage in the customer's journey can tell you a lot about what your company is doing well and where you can stand to improve.
Next, let's dig into some tips for creating your own questionnaire.
How to Make a Questionnaire
Start with templates as a foundation. Know your question types. Keep it brief when possible. Choose a simple visual design. Use a clear research process. Create questions with straightforward, unbiased language. Make sure every question is important. Ask one question at a time. Order your questions logically. Consider your target audience. Test your questionnaire.
1. Use questionnaire templates.
Rather than build a questionnaire from scratch, consider using questionnaire templates to get started. HubSpot's collection of customer-facing questionnaire templates can help you quickly build and send a questionnaire to your clients and analyze the results right on Google Drive.
2. Know your question types.
A simple "yes" or "no" doesn't cut it. To get feedback that actually matters, you need to give customers options that go in-depth. There's a method to getting accurate feedback from your questionnaire, and it starts by choosing the appropriate types of questions for the information you want to know.
Vrnda LeValley, customer training manager at HubSpot, recommends starting with an alignment question like, "Does this class meet your expectations?" because it gives more context to any positive or negative scores that follow. She continues, "If it didn't meet expectations, then there will potentially be negative responses across the board (as well as the reverse)."
3. Keep it brief, when possible.
Most questionnaires don't need to be longer than a page. For routine customer satisfaction surveys, it's unnecessary to ask 50 slightly varied questions about a customer's experience when those questions could be combined into 10 solid questions.
The shorter your questionnaire is, the more likely a customer will complete it. Plus a shorter questionnaire means less data for your team to collect and analyze. Based on the feedback, it will be a lot easier for you to get the information you need to make the necessary changes in your organization and products.
4. Choose a simple visual design.
There's no need to make your questionnaire a stunning work of art. As long as it's clear and concise, it will be attractive to customers. When asking questions that are important to furthering your company, it's best to keep things simple. Select a font that’s common and easy to read, like Helvetica or Arial. Use a text size that customers of all abilities can navigate.
A questionnaire is most effective when all the questions are visible on a single screen. The layout is important. If a questionnaire is even remotely difficult to navigate, your response rate could suffer. Make sure that buttons and checkboxes are easy to click and that questions are visible on both computer and mobile screens.
5. Use a clear research process.
Before planning questions for your questionnaire, you'll need to have a definite direction for it. A questionnaire is only effective if the results answer an overarching research question. After all, the research process is an important part of the survey, and a questionnaire is a tool that's used within the process.
In your research process, you should first come up with a research question. What are you trying to find out? What's the point of this questionnaire? Keep this in mind throughout the process.
After coming up with a research question, it's a good idea to have a hypothesis. What do you predict the results will be for your questionnaire? This can be structured in a simple "If … then …" format. A structured experiment — yes, your questionnaire is a type of experiment — will confirm that you're only collecting and analyzing data necessary to answer your research question. Then, you can move forward with your survey.
6. Create questions with straightforward, unbiased language.
When crafting your questions, it's important to structure them to get the point across. You don't want any confusion for your customers because this may influence their answers. Instead, use clear language. Don't use unnecessary jargon, and use simple terms in favor of longer-winded ones.
You may risk the reliability of your data if you try to combine two questions. Rather than asking, "How was your experience shopping with us, and would you recommend us to others?" separate it into two separate questions. Customers will be clear on your question and choose a response most appropriate for each one.
You should always keep the language in your questions unbiased. You never want to sway customers one way or another because this will cause your data to be skewed. Instead of asking, "Some might say that we create the best software products in the world. Would you agree or disagree?" it may be better to ask, "How would you rate our software products on a scale of 1 to 10?" This removes any bias and confirms that all the responses are valid.
7. Ask only the most important questions.
When creating your questionnaire, keep in mind that time is one of the most valuable commodities for customers. Most aren't going to sit through a 50-question survey, especially when they're being asked about products or services they didn't use. Even if they do complete it, most of these will be half-hearted responses from fatigued customers who simply want to be finished with it.
If your questionnaire has five or 55 questions, make sure each has a specific purpose. Individually, they should be aimed at collecting certain pieces of information that reveal new insights into different aspects of your business. If your questions are irrelevant or seem out of place, your customers will be easily derailed by the survey. And, once the customer has lost interest, it'll be difficult to regain their focus.
8. Ask one question at a time.
Since every question has a purpose, ask them one at a time. This lets the customer focus and encourages them to share a thoughtful response. This is particularly important for open-ended questions where customers need to describe an experience or opinion.
By grouping questions together, you risk overwhelming busy customers who don't have time for a long survey. They may think you're asking them too much, or they might see your questionnaire as a daunting task. You want your survey to appear as painless as possible. Keeping your questions separated will make it more user-friendly.
9. Order your questions logically.
A good questionnaire is like a good book. The beginning questions should lay the framework, the middle ones should cut to the core issues, and the final questions should tie up all loose ends. This flow keeps customers engaged throughout the entire survey.
When creating your questionnaire, start with the most basic questions about demographics. You can use this information to segment your customer base and create different buyer personas.
Next, add in your product and services questions. These are the ones that offer insights into common customer roadblocks and where you can improve your business's offerings. Questions like these guide your product development and marketing teams looking for new ways to enhance the customer experience.
Finally, you should conclude your questionnaire with open-ended questions to understand the customer journey. These questions let customers voice their opinions and point out specific experiences they've had with your brand.
10. Consider your target audience.
Whenever you collect customer feedback, you need to keep in mind the goals and needs of your target audience. After all, the participants in this questionnaire are your active customers. Your questions should be geared toward the interests and experiences they've already had with your company.
You can even create multiple surveys that target different buyer personas. For example, if you have a subscription-based pricing model, you can personalize your questionnaire for each type of subscription your company offers.
11. Test your questionnaire.
Once your questionnaire is complete, it's important to test it. If you don't, you may end up asking the wrong questions and collecting irrelevant or inaccurate information. Start by giving your employees the questionnaire to test, then send it to small groups of customers and analyze the results. If you're gathering the data you're looking for, then you should release the questionnaire to all of your customers.
How Questionnaires Can Benefit Your Customer Service Strategy
Whether you have one customer or 1000 customers, their opinions matter when it comes to the success of your business. Their satisfaction with your offerings can reveal how well or how poorly your customer service strategy and business are meeting their needs. A questionnaire is one of the most powerful, cost-effective tools to uncover what your customers think about your business. When analyzed properly, it can inform your product and service launches.
Use the free questionnaire templates, examples, and best practices in this guide to conduct your next customer feedback survey.
Now that you know the slight difference between a survey and a questionnaire, it’s time to put it into practice with your products or services. Remember, a good survey and questionnaire always start with a purpose. But, a great survey and questionnaire give data that you can use to help companies increase the way customers respond to their products or services because of the questions.
Net Promoter, Net Promoter System, Net Promoter Score, NPS, and the NPS-related emoticons are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Fred Reichheld, and Satmetrix Systems, Inc.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in July 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.