What do your customers think of your company? Have you ever asked them? Do you survey them with questions that are going to give you meaningful information? If you do, you’re in a miniscule minority. If you don’t, it’s probably not a majority you want to be in.

Whether you are asking customers for their opinions now or just planning to, it’s important to ask evocative questions. Even with an affirmative answer, a question like, “Did we meet your expectations?” may lead you to conclude that you’re doing fine. But, how helpful are their answers if customer expectations were low to begin with?

If you’re ready to hear some honest feedback that could have a major, positive impact on the way you do business (not to mention give a big boost to your company’s prosperity), here are some questions to consider for your next customer survey.

Company Impressions

  • What’s the first thought that comes to you when you hear our name?
  • What do you tell people when you’re asked about our company?
  • If you were in charge, how would you manage our business differently?

Customer Product Opinions

  • What comes to mind when you hear the name of one of our products?
  • When was the last time one of our products delivered something unexpected?
  • What would you do if a product was no longer available?
  • What do you need that we don’t provide?
  • What’s the first thing you do with our products after you purchase them?
  • Which of our products would you like to have but can’t afford?

Customer Service Opinions

  • What is something one of our competitors does better than we do?
  • When was the last time you were surprised by something we did?
  • When was the last time you were angry over something we did?
  • If we didn’t respond to your call or email about a problem, what would your do next?

Open-Ended Questions

  • What else do you have on your mind?
  • Should we have asked you anything else?
  • What did you think of our survey?

Don’t subject your customers to meaningless questions like: “On a scale of 1 to 5, how would you rate your experience with us?” and then follow-up with a blank box: “Please tell us how we can do better.” Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Do you bother to answer those kinds of questions, let alone feel like the business is going to do anything meaningful with the information?

Questions like the ones on the list are surprising. That alone will draw attention to your company. Customize these questions for your business. Involve as many employees in the process. You might just like what you hear from those who ask the questions as well as the ones answering them.

Finally, make sure you use your customers’ feedback to make meaningful changes. Get back to the customers who gave you really helpful information. They’ll appreciate knowing they made a difference.