Online customer service surveys

What are Online customer service surveys and how do they compare with live surveys in your business. Importantly are they really necessary?

My survey experience

Car servicing is always an experience. I recently took my BMW to the dealer because off a small problem or as they say an expensive issue. They could not find the fault so kindly informed me they would send a report to head office and get back to me. However there is a small amount to pay.

I paid my bill and left the dealership understanding that these things happen.

Next day the nice customer service lady rang me to say;

“I trust our service was up to standard (presumption) and I would be back again next time.”

I replied it was not a service it was a fault and no it had not been fixed but they had promised me it would be, No problems.

She then got very defensive and all uppity because the conversation had not gone as she wanted or expected. She had asked the question, I had answered it.
The problem was a bad script and a script that got me offside.
(Side note here; I was having internet issues and probably in a bad mood so the issue was exaggerated a little.)

Anyway the service manager rang me and said I told you what we were doing is there a problem?
I answered , ” no problem except your customer service person handled the call badly.”

She presumed the answer was going to follow her script but when it did not she took umbrage at my response, No the problem was not fixed and I had to come back for more work.

This is no big deal and I accept some fault, however, a customer survey should never be an issue.
They are solution providers not defensively aggressive protecting their job.

This is the unfortunate side of a live survey a simple misunderstanding becoming an issue.

Open and closed questions

Yes / no answers can not be misinterpreted and these are your closed questions.
Did you have a service today? No end of question

What exactly was the problem with your car? open question to a long and involved answer.

In a conversation, when completing a research survey, being interviewed for a job or working on a homework assignment, you might find yourself presented with a series of closed-ended or open-ended questions. Closed-ended questions are those which can be answered by a simple “yes” or “no,” while open-ended questions are those which require more thought and more than a simple one-word answer.

This is really simple to do in a virtual survey however often more difficult in a conversation.

The idea of a survey is simply to obtain a satisfaction level.

Using a closed question and then an open one.

Let's not get rattled by this however important it can be. I don't want any “yes, but ” answers because they are not definitive, its' not your fault it's mine type situations.

A Weber just posted a glorious example that I shall share with you.

Online customer service surveys

This is certainly having a bet each way and giving anyone a chance to elaborate on their decision.

This one is a bit more elaborate however it does have limitations.

Online customer service surveys
an expansive yes-no

The choice of options when doing surveys is actually very wide and depends on what you are trying to achieve.

  • Open ended questions
  • Closed questions
  • Likart scale questions
  • Loaded questions
  • Survey questions
  • Customer focus

Typically you will build your survey around an objective so you can get an outcome to use for future marketing.

Online customer service surveys
Hotjar examples

Online customer service surveys and customer behavior.

Customer behavior kills the survey

Disturbers that always press no or oneThey just want to annoy you
feel-goods that always press yes or tenThey can't complain
Those that can't press 10 (like me)10 is just too good
Middle of the road people that press fiveI will do your stupid survey
but I don't care
Some random ideas

Surveys are designed to answer a question to determine a level of social acceptance.

Was I happy with my service? No, I did not have a service.
Why were you unhappy? I wasn't unhappy but I have to come back and it cost me money.
Would you use our service again? yes but!

( In defense of BMW they are fixing the problem for free even though I am out of warranty)

Online customer service surveys and methods

Methods for doing surveys

  • Live telephone calling
  • Email survey
  • SMS
  • Social media
  • Google my business

One of these will work better than others but which one will it be?

Live calls are very expensive to do however you do get an answer every time.
I find them an intrusion on my time and will say what ever to get them off the line.
In one circumstance the sales guy asked me to answer the survey with a ten because his job depended on it. Emotional blackmail! It worked.

Email surveys are easy for the recipient to ignore and are really not necessary to do unless you have a valid point to make.

SMS surveys are a more personal and apply a bit of leverage to get an answer , however the questions need to be easy to answer and the response will be quick.

Social media surveys are very visible and need to be attended immediately.

Google my business comments are hard to ignore when they are bad.

Online customer service surveys and live messaging

Who does the live surveys

Live surveys are most often outsourced to anyone that will work for a very low level of income. There are hundreds of businesses that do this by recruiting people with great offers of wealth which generally turn out to be very small amounts of money or gifts.

Therefor when you are answering the survey it is not someone interested in you it is mostly just a low paid caller collecting unreliable stats. Don't be rude to them it is just a job that someone must do.

Email surveys are done by an auto generator where the cost is minimal however the response
may be lower than other methods.

SMS surveys demand more action at a very low cost and will demonstrate a better degree of reliability.?

Should businesses do surveys?

Bad customer service can drive your buyers away and you will see a decline in sales over time.
The old saying that if you make a customer happy they tell no one, however annoy them and they tell everyone.

Surveys can be an early warning sign about a problem you don't or can't see. It may be a rogue employee or a problem in the supply department, courier of any part of the chain of delivery.

Restaurants and similar operations suffer badly at the hands of food critics posting on Google and social media and need to be particularly prompt in a positive response, even if you are wrong.

Decide what you want to achieve and have a plan

Remember that it is hard to get 100% in anything so be careful of your questions because bad answers are believed more than praise.

Do you think the BMW is a good car? No the Audi is better, kills your survey stone dead.

All answers are not true answers and may not be real responses so eliminating the top and bottom line may give you are more factual opinion.

I have a friend that was running for Mayor of his district. It was done by public vote so he needed a majority to be able to don the ceremonial robes. His mentor a much older politician took him aside and told him the facts. 50% of People will like you and 50% won't so you only need to convince 1% to win the election.

My point is that no one is perfect but win the majority war and you win the race.

Go as hard as you can for perfection

Forgetting the last paragraph we all want the best result we can achieve and 100% is the goal.

I have knocked BMW in this example but they do go all out for 100% in everything they do. Does it work? I am on my third BMW so they have impressed me and I would buy nothing else. from the moment you walk through the doors they are customer focused to the extreme. The top level of European cars is competitive and a lost sale and life time servicing is a lot of money that they fight tooth and nail to retain.

You need some feedback facility.

Surveys are the answer to feedback, good and bad. It provides you an early warning or notice of how others see you. Not how you see your self.
However ask the right questions, in the right way and use the best forum for your industry.


This is a very important discussion we are having and one that you really should take notice off.

Trial your decision first, don't go boots and all into a bad survey.

You will know what you are looking for so use the media that provides the most accurate representation of your business success.

Change your plan if the results are wrong but not if they are just bad. You are getting public opinion and your feelings are not in the questions.

Finally work to a great result and the praise will follow.

Online customer service surveys by Peter Hanley

Image of author
Peter Hanley

Online training

I operate an online survey for small business using a local phone number or National 1300 number.

This asks a series of questions and allows a preset number response.
Are you a Verdi customer' Press 1 for yes 2 for no
A report of the results is printed daily and emailed to you

For more information call 1800 116116

2 thoughts on “Online customer service surveys”

  1. I don’t like yes/no answers. Pointless except as a tick box exercise. These do not usually resolve any issues, minor or otherwise. I prefer open ended ones. Let the customer lead the direction. Prompts may be necessary. If you are going to the trouble of doing a survey, might as well get proper information. Also don’t survey constantly as the survey then loses its currency/value. Survey everyone for a period of time, e.g. 2 weeks/4 weeks etc. Contact the ones (if not anonymous) if they are upset or venting.

    • Thanks for the great points Ann.

      Surveys should be done with a result in mind. The current trend of surveying every transaction loses its value very quickly.
      I for one don’t like commenting unless I am very aggrieved but am happy to tick a box. However you are correct to choose your times and importantly
      Follow up on any complaint and fix it.
      Peter H


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