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Wyoming Business Tips for July 17-July 23

July 11, 2011

A weekly look at Wyoming business questions from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (WSBDC), part of WyomingEntrepreneur.Biz, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.

By Brett Housholder, WSBDC market researcher

"I have a customer satisfaction survey, but I can't get anybody to fill it out and would like the feedback. How can I get customers to fill out my survey?" Karla, Greybull

Sometimes it feels like we are inundated with customer satisfaction surveys. Even with the promise of taking only a "few minutes" of your time," they always seem such a hassle and are ignored more often than not.

But when you're on the other side of the exchange and rely on the feedback to improve customer experience, you get a new perspective on the importance of these surveys and are frustrated when you can't get a response. What can you do to change this?

A possibility is the use of a one-question survey. Essentially, customer satisfaction surveys all strive to answer a simple question: "Are we doing a good job?" A free online survey tool such as Survey Monkey can make surveys easy to set up and monitor. The format of the question can be flexible and should provide a yes or no answer to one of these questions: Did we do a good job? Were you happy with your experience? Would you recommend us?

The biggest advantage of these surveys is customers are more likely to answer a single yes/no question rather than multiple questions that they have to think about. Instead of a few minutes, they can be done with the survey in about 20 seconds.

However, they also have some obvious limitations. Unless you ask customers to leave their names -- many still won't -- you will not be able to specifically address a negative response. This won't allow you to delve into specific areas of your business (timeliness, pricing, responsiveness, etc.). A survey is a great way to get a general idea of how happy your customers are, but doesn't provide exact details about what you do/don't do well.

In addition to Survey Monkey (which is more of a standalone surveying tool), more free resources for adding a one-question poll to your website are available. For example, BooRoo allows creating a quick poll plus copying the poll's code into the business website's source code.  Visitors to the website have the opportunity to tell how you're doing by answering a single question while browsing the site.

One-question surveys have their limitations, but can be a quick way to increase customer feedback and monitor how well the business is serving them.

A blog version of this article and an opportunity to post comments is available at

The WSBDC is a partnership of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Wyoming Business Council and the University of Wyoming. To ask a question, call 1-800-348-5194, e-mail or write 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3922, Laramie, WY, 82071-3922.

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