We all know that repeat customers are the key to the success of any business. It just makes sense. Keeping them around is five times cheaper than attracting new customers. Satisfied customers are also the best brand ambassadors you can ever have.

But how do you create satisfied customers? By providing great service and excellent value obviously. That’s an answer you already know. But as they say, the devil is in the details. The most successful businesses in every space constantly improve on their products and services so that a new offering is always better than the previous one.

This is because of the hedonic treadmill. Humans are never satisfied. Your customer experience may be good today but who cares? What about tomorrow? Or the day after? Billionaires don’t stop working because they’re super rich. Athletes don’t retire after winning a championship. Politicians keep running for office until they either die or get locked out by term limits. It’s in human nature to always want more than we have.

You might make something great today but then that great thing quickly becomes the new normal. With time, it gets demoted from “great” to merely “good enough.” If you go long enough, it becomes outdated, hence the constant need for improvement. It’s building on what you have that builds a successful business.

Brainstorming new ways to improve your customer experience can be tough. But you have a shortcut— just ask the customer. The post-purchase survey is a quick way to find ideas that you can use to optimize your experience to the best your customer can get. This is what will keep them coming back. This is what will make them recommend you to their friends.

Keep your survey short

Ask only one question whenever possible. And what is this golden question? “How likely are you to recommend X to a friend?” The higher the score the more likely that customer will promote you via word of mouth.

At worst, ask three questions but never go beyond. Three is a nice number. Ask too many questions and few customers, if any, will bother completing the survey.

If you want to ask more than three questions, you can serve a different set of questions to different customers. The same principle applies if you ask open-ended questions with lengthy answers. In such cases, stick to one question per person.

What to ask in your post-purchase survey

The following is a list of questions you should consider. It is by no means exhaustive and you can add any that you feel might be necessary:

  1. Rate your overall shopping experience (scale of 1-5 or 1-10) – This is the perfect leading question and should always be first.
  2. What did you like/love about the experience?
  3. What did you dislike/hate about the experience?
  4. What doubts did you have before ordering?
  5. Is there anything that almost stopped you from ordering?
  6. What do you think we can do better?