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For Better Feedback, Ask Better Questions

Customer surveys are the most direct way to gather constructive feedback from the people who know the most about the strengths and weaknesses of your products and services. Use them to survey your customers and find out what they like, and what they still need, from you.

We’ve updated this list of feedback questions and examples in 2021 to give you everything you need to know about collecting exceptional customer feedback in your customer surveys.

“You don’t have to have the answer to ask a great question,” says Marquardt. “A great question will ultimately get an answer.”

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Customer surveys are the most direct way to gather constructive feedback from the people who know the most about the strengths and weaknesses of your products and services. Use them to survey your customers and find out what they like, and what they still need, from you.

The most effective and empowering questions create value in one or more of the following ways:

  1. They create clarity: “Can you explain more about this situation?”
  2. They construct better working relations: Instead of “Did you make your sales goal?” ask, “How have sales been going?”
  3. They help people think analytically and critically: “What are the consequences of going this route?”
  4. They inspire people to reflect and see things in fresh, unpredictable ways: “Why did this work?”
  5. They encourage breakthrough thinking: “Can that be done in any other way?”
  6. They challenge assumptions: “What do you think you will lose if you start sharing responsibility for the implementation process?”
  7. They create ownership of solutions: “Based on your experience, what do you suggest we do here?”

The good news is that by asking questions, we naturally improve our emotional intelligence, which in turn makes us better questioners—a virtuous cycle.

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Customer feedback questions to get closer to your customers and their needs.

  1. Have you used our [product or service] before?
  2. What, if any, products, services, or features are we missing?
  3. How do you use our product/service?
  4. What did you enjoy most about your experience?
  5. How did this effort compare to your expectations?
  6. What convinced you to buy the product?
  7. What would you change about your experience?
  8. What weaknesses do you see in my product design?
  9. Do you have any other comments, questions, or concerns?
  10. What’s the ONE thing our website is missing?
  11. How would you describe your experience in our store / on our website?
  12. What did you like best about our website?
  13. Have you used a similar [product or service] before?
  14. Did our employees or customer service staff help you? How?
  15. What would you say to someone who asked about us?

Just as important, it is up to you as the leader to model the question-asking approach so that your team, in turn, will employ it with their reports. When you ask your employees the right questions, you’ll get quality feedback that sparks creativity, puts out potential fires, and helps employees show up as their best selves.

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For example, you can track how well the team is working together by asking questions like:

  • Who do you want to get to know better in the company?
  • We’ve been working together for three hours today; what did we do best as a team?
  • Which company value would you like to embody more?
  • What enabled us to be successful in coming up with an innovative strategy?
  • Are you crystal clear on your role and what you should be working on? If not, what aspects aren’t clear?
  • How can we ask better questions?
  • What inspires you to succeed every day?
  • How can we apply what we are learning to other parts of our work?
  • When do you have the most fun at work?
  • What leadership skills helped us succeed today?
  • Was there a recent team discussion or meeting where you did not get to share your thoughts? Would you like to share them now?

Knowing your brand’s strengths and weaknesses is one thing, but knowledge about your competition is also essential. Chances are, you have done your market research and know who are the biggest players in your niche.

To keep things interesting for the respondents, you can use different question types. Open questions work when you want your visitors to express their opinion.

There is no harm, however, in trying to uncover the general mood of your website’s visitors. To do that you can ask them to choose from different mood icons.

Ask your customers for honest feedback about your actual products and services to learn what’s pleasing them and what isn’t working. You can also see where you can improve, what your strengths are.

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How to Get Customer Feedback

  • Email survey: You might use a quick check-in survey after a customer completes a purchase or a longer survey to ask more in-depth questions about a customer’s overall experience.
  • In-Store Kiosk: This is especially helpful if you are asking about your store’s ambiance, experience, or customer service. You might mount a tablet in a prominent location and use kiosk mode to take responses.
  • On a Receipt: Add a link to a survey at the bottom of a receipt, or include a short question or two at the bottom which your customer can fill out and return. This is ideal for questions related to the check-out experience.
  • Comment Cards: This classic pen-and-paper approach gives customers everything they need to report good or bad experiences in your store. You’ll have to enter and score these paper responses yourself to accurately measure data, but this method is easy to set up.
  • Pop-Up Survey: Instead of (or in addition to) sending an email, use a politely worded pop-up or an additional page to ask your customers about their online experience. You might use this after a customer completes a purchase, as they are browsing your site, or when they use a deal or discount.
  • Exit Survey: When a customer unsubscribes, cancels, or downgrades their service, or doesn’t purchase for a while, use an email or additional page to ask them why.

In general, you want a web page to be attractive, intuitive, and helpful for customers. You can use on-page surveys (that pop-up or slide in from the side of the page) to poll customers on their opinions, which will help you improve your web page and the overall customer experience.

Interpersonal Skills

  • When this employee works with co-workers, what interpersonal skills do they demonstrate?
  • Have you experienced any problems with them interpersonally?
  • How would you recommend the employee improve their interpersonal and relationship-building skills?

These customer feedback questions can help you guide a testimonial video, make up a question card, or write a survey. When you’re asking for customer feedback, make sure you know what you’re looking for, and customize your questions accordingly. Avoid asking too soon, and make sure you ask the right people. Be prepared for good or bad feedback, and have a strategy ready to use the information you receive.

One-on-One Questions to Ask

  1. How are you feeling about the company direction?
  2. What do you think about [insert project name here]?
  3. What are some learnings or takeaways you have from this week?
  4. I’m working on x. Do you have any feedback for me?
  5. What feedback do you have for me?
  6. How can I better support you in your work?
  7. What are your goals this quarter/year?
  8. How can I further support you in [insert goal here]?
  9. How do you find working with [insert team member here]?
  10. What project did you enjoy working on and why?
  11. What project did you least enjoy this last [insert period] and why?
  12. Is there anything we didn’t cover today you would like to discuss next time?

When Should You Ask

You don’t want to ask so much that your colleagues begin to have the distinct impression you’re needy and unsure of yourself. But, you do want to ask for feedback at a consistent pace, and during important events.

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Growth and development questions

  1. Which areas would you like to develop professionally (new skills) in the coming period? What support do you need to do that?
  2. Define one or two areas or skills you can improve upon.
  3. Do you have other strengths or skills that you feel are not currently being utilized? What are they?
  4. Give one or two examples of how you have grown professionally over the last period.
  5. Did you spend sufficient time, attention, and resources on your development? Explain why you did or did not.
  6. What could help you to develop further? (e.g training, tools, coaching, mentoring from more experienced colleagues)
  7. You feel most valuable in this team when working on…

The importance of performance reviews

Performance reviews help employees stay motivated. Hearing positive feedback reinforces the hard work you are already doing. If your manager shares what you could improve on, this also gives you a chance to work toward a new goal. Performance reviews also give employees a sense of purpose. When you get to discuss your employment, you have time to reflect on your work and create meaningful goals.

Questions you can ask during your performance review:

  1. What skills should I improve to grow in this company?
  2. Are there any opportunities for professional development?
  3. Can we discuss my compensation?
  4. What are my strengths?
  5. What are my weaknesses?
  6. How can I support my team better?
  7. What can I do to make your job easier?
  8. What changes do you foresee for the company?
  9. What is our company’s greatest challenge right now?
  10. What could I focus more time on?

Ask better questions. Get better feedback!

Today, we learned that we need to be specific, targeted, and relevant to our questions if we want better responses from our team. We need to be bold with our questions and be fearless by shining light on the scary things because we are here to help our teams. We can’t help them if we hide behind open-ended and broad questions. Let’s be better leaders and start asking better questions!

Solution — Ask Better Questions for Feedback!

The questions I listed above are open-ended questions that don’t have much relative context and are boring. As leaders, we get what we give. We get poor responses when we ask poor questions.

Instead, we need to practice asking more specific and targeted questions that are relevant and engaging. The more relevant context our questions have, the more engaged our team will be and the likelihood of drawing out a response from them is much higher.

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Summary

Asking for feedback is a great way to help you grow professionally and personally. Proactively asking for it will help you learn faster. Ask yourself which areas or skills you want to develop, so you can prepare the right questions and approach the right people. By proactively asking for feedback, you may also become an example for others on your team, and help to develop a culture of feedback within your organization.