The Secret To Staying Relevant - Spoiler: It’s Customer Surveys

November 4, 2022

Imagine you’ve got two blind dates lined up for the weekend.

The first is a real, legit, 100% never-met-before blind date.

You think the second is the same, but actually your date has been stalking you for a couple months.

Weird question, but who do you think shows up with the more appropriate gift?

When it comes to building relationships with customers, you want stalker-level knowledge of your audience, but without the creepiness. 

Here’s how to do it.


Whether you’re a stalker or an entrepreneur, the secret to finding info to improve your relationship is ultra simple. 

Just ask.


Just ask.

Because here’s a dirty, uncomfortable lil secret: Your customers probably know more about your brand, product, or service than you do.

Read that again.

Your customers know you better than you know yourself.

So ask them to tell you.


When you’re squeezing information from your customer, it’s ideal to keep it short and sweet. If you think it’s tough to get someone to fill in a survey (more on that later) it’s even tougher to get them to invest real time into the task, so be as short and concise as possible.

When it comes to the content of your questions, start broadly. If you send surveys regularly, you’ll find you can be even more concise and specific in your questions, but for now we’re looking for more general information.


“Why did you buy our product/service?”

There’s a bunch of ways to ask this that can each give you different little nugs of wisdom, but the sentiment is the same. 

What led you to us? What problem does this product solve? Etc.

Your goal is to learn what ultimately led to the customer choosing to make a purchase, and ideally why they chose you specifically.. 

This is monstrously valuable information in converting future leads into customers because it helps you clearly identify the benefits and features of your product that matter the most to customers.


“What may have kept you from buying our product/service?”

This may be a little bit tougher to frame, but it’s vital to understand what objections customers may have before purchasing from you. Some things may be difficult for you to rectify for future customers, but others will be easy, obvious, and profitable to address or change.

This, like the first question, is a direct avenue to converting leads into customers by absolving their hesitations before they ever arrive.


“What surprised or delighted you about shopping with us?”

On the surface, this may look very similar to Question 1, however the information you’ll attain is often quite different and substantially more valuable.

The first two questions focus on the features and benefits of your product/service, and those are things that are often disconnected from your brand. Provided it works as advertised, any brand can sell the same thing as you and they ought to see the same survey results, too.

This third question focuses instead on the customer experience.

This is the juicy stuff.

When your customers talk about their experience, they’ll describe all sorts of unexpected things about your product. They’ll describe unique use cases, conversations about your product, and all manner of insightful thoughts to help you excite, convert, and satisfy future customers.

And - this is really important - these insights are things you’ll likely never think of yourself.

Viagra was made to treat high blood pressure. Imagine if they never learned that people were using their product to induce boners and optimize fuckery? 

Surveys with Questions 1 & 2  are great for creating engagement with your brand and identifying truly low hanging fruit, but surveys with Question 3 can open new sales avenues and multiply your business.

If you’re asking the right people.


The very best questions in the world are useless if you aren’t asking the right people.

There are two primary categories of people to consider when you’re planning and sending a survey: 

  • Customers
  • Non-Customers

It seems obvious, but it’s really important to be thoughtful about who you’re talking to (and who’s talking to you) because the information they provide has dramatically different value and massively different consequences.
It’s also crucial to choose who you’re asking because your current relationship with the audience will strongly influence the incentive(s) you offer.


The potential value in surveying non-customers comes from insight into why they didn’t buy or why they don’t like your brand, product, or service.

There are a couple big issues with surveying non-customers.

First is the limited value in the data they provide. 

If they aren’t invested in your brand, the information they share is unlikely to be especially valuable or insightful. And, while attracting attention from non-customers is important for growth, your time and money are best spent converting leads to customers, not in generating leads.

Second is the potential mountain of data they create.

When you have a ton of data to parse through, and (as we’ve already established) most of it is kind of worthless, the process of finding insights is daunting. Not only is there too much to look through, but you also immediately prime yourself to ignore good information when you know most data will be discarded.

Surveying non-customers is NOT generally in your best interest.

If you are looking for indiscriminate eyes on your brand, however, they’ll need a reason to participate in your survey. This is simple because the incentive just needs to satisfy the average person. Cash is probably your best bet, but remember that low-value data is not something to place a high fiscal value on.


As we discussed above, your customers know you, know your brand, know your product, and know your target demographic (it’s them). Their fluency in your space is unparalleled.

If you’re looking for insight into your brand or your space, nobody has more to offer than your existing customers. 

Ask them.

If you’ve already built a strong relationship with your existing customers, many of them will be happy to provide feedback.

But, just like with non-customers, you’d be wise to incentivize.

Unlike non-customers, your incentive for customers to fill out your survey is best when it’s specific to your brand. Since we want engaged customers, the incentive should attract them and, ideally, nobody else. 

So, offer something simple like: 

  • $5 off your next purchase
  • 10% off 
  • FREE [accessory] with purchase

Remember: Your engaged customers have the best information available.

By limiting the scope of your incentive, you’ll reduce the number of responses and maximize the value of each.


Use it!

You’ve got the most valuable information you could ask for, so read through the responses and look for stuff that you hadn’t thought of yourself.

Look for unexpected use cases, interesting words or phrases, unidentified pros (and cons), and opportunities to expand your product line.

If you read a response and it makes you say “duh!” or “holy SHIT!”... that’s a really good sign.

Plus, the responses to your survey are a powerful source of UGC to use on your website and in correspondence. That’s a two-for-one.


A customer survey that asks the right people the right questions is a fast-track to understanding your customer and growing your business.

Want a hand building un-fucking-believable relationships with your customers? Book a chat to see if we’re the right fit.

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