8 tips for using customer surveys at your agency

By Justin R. Brown

Bankrate Insurance


One of the best ways to grow your business is by finding out exactly what the customer wants and then delivering on it. That may sound easier said than done, but there’s a tool at your disposal that can make the job easier — the customer survey.

What makes the difference is the ability to be proactive, then reactive, in an effort to make a valuable connection with clients. When we say reactive agencies, we don't necessarily mean "wait for the change to happen and respond." Reactive is the ability to respond to the proactive findings. Enter the survey.

By knowing what your clients value in their insurance service, when they want to be contacted, or their birth date, you can leverage these simple-to-obtain pieces of information to make a long-lasting connection. By querying clients, you may find issues with your systems or a gap in your marketing tactic, but an ancillary benefit is using the survey itself as a way to show clients that you are taking the proactive approach to customer service and building a great agency.

Once you make the decision to use surveys, a good place to start is by deciding what kind of intelligence you want to gather. Some good topics to explore for insurance agents include customer satisfaction with the service they have received, how satisfied they are with the agent they worked with, how likely they are to do business with the company again, and what other products they are interested in learning more about. The latter garners information that agents can use to cross-sell or make a referral to a trusted agent in their network.

Here are eight tips for developing great surveys

1. Clearly define the purpose of your survey. Good surveys have focused objectives that are easily understood.

2. Keep the survey short. It is generally better to focus on a single objective than to have a survey that goes all over the place. Shorter surveys tend to have better response rates. Make sure each of your questions is focused on helping to meet your stated objective.

3. Announce how long the survey will take. Try using phrases like “in less than two minutes,” or “take this short survey.”

4. Keep questions simple. Try to make your questions as specific and direct as possible, and don’t use jargon and abbreviations people outside the company won’t necessarily recognize.
5. Use closed-ended questions whenever possible. Close-ended questions are the type that are answered with yes or no, multiple choice or a rating scale. They are much easier to analyze than open-ended ones.

6. Keep the rating scale consistent throughout the survey. Switching the scale around may confuse survey takers, which will lead to untrustworthy responses.

7. Offer incentives to encourage people to take your survey. Small gift cards or a cheap gift help entice people to take the time to answer your questions. Beware of rules that govern sweepstakes in your area.

8. Don’t over-survey your clients. Multiple surveys in one year are too many. Clients won’t want to spend their time continuously answering questions and may turn away from your business.

When analyzing the results of your survey, be sure to follow up on any written comments or complaints if you provide open-form questions. Also, realize that just gathering the survey information is not enough. Taking action based on the analysis of the results is where you can really grow your business.

When it comes time to actually conduct your survey, if you decide to do it online, there are a number of services you can use. Among the more popular tools out there:
  • Survey Monkey, which leads the field in terms of popularity and ease of use. Moreover, it’s free for up to 100 responses per survey
  • Survey Gizmo, which offers software that allows for seamless branding of the survey instruments. This service carries a monthly fee, but there are no limits to the number of surveys or respondents.
  • Constant Contact, a popular email marketing tool, also offers a survey tool. Though there’s a cost for the service, if you already have a paid account, this may be your least expensive and easiest option.
All three services get great ratings from people who have used them for administering surveys. The tool you choose will depend on the kind of information you are gathering and from whom. If you don’t have experience with survey administration already, it may be a good idea to test out each of the services to see which one will work best for you.

Do you think surveys are a good marketing tactic for your clients?

See also:

How end of year surveys can help you create groundbreaking marketing campaigns

3 ways a client survey can help you attract more clients