Customer feedback

5 customer feedback questions you should NOT ask your customers

AskNicely Team

If you’re a business, you have customers. Understanding how they experience your product or service is essential to growing your business. This is where surveys and customer feedback software can step in. But what to ask? Knowing some of the customer feedback questions you should NOT ask your customers is so important. Once you know the questions to avoid, you can start working out what you do want to know and how to ask the perfect questions to get the insights you need.

Why is it important to have customer feedback questions?

No matter what product you’re selling or service you’re providing, you need to understand what your customers think about it. They are the ones that are parting with their cash and they can also be your biggest cheerleaders. 83% of people say they find recommendations from friends and family the most credible form of advertising.

So asking customer feedback questions can lead to deeper understandings of what is working, what needs changing and insights into the worlds of your customers. You never know what gems, brilliant ideas or out-of-the-blue surprises you might find which can lead to breakthroughs in your business.

Customer feedback questions you should avoid

However, it’s not just about asking any old question to your customers. You want to ask specific, well thought out questions that will lead to relevant and applicable information that you can apply to improve your customers’ experience. There are some common mistakes businesses make when reaching out asking for customer feedback. Here are five of the most common ones we see.

1. Lengthy and Time Consuming Questions

You know people are busy. Everyone has multiple demands on their time. When a customer agrees to give up some of their valuable time to complete your customer feedback survey questions, you want to maximize what you can learn from them. So rather than asking long, complex questions, simplify things as much as possible.

This is where the NPS system works well. Short questions that get straight to the heart of what you want to know from your customers is an efficient use of their time. If they’re able to give more information, they can in the text box but you can easily collect numerical data from a broad segment of your customers.

2. Open ended questions with no definite response

After you’ve gathered your customers’ feedback, you will need to analyze the responses. If you’ve asked a lot of open-ended questions with no definite responses, you’ll have a lot of words to read through, categorize and analyze. If you have a large customer base, this can be time consuming and inefficient.

Instead, it’s often better to ask simple questions in a format where you can easily analyze the data to gain insights into your business. This where the NPS method works well as you have a balance of simple metrics which you can compare over time, alongside space for people to explain the meaning behind their ratings.

3. Asking private/personal questions

Treat your survey a little like a first date. You wouldn’t jump in and ask things like household income, business revenue or personal data right upfront. First, you want to build a bit of rapport and make them feel comfortable with some easy to answer general questions. The same goes for surveys. Diving in too deep too early is one of the worst customer feedback mistakes you can make.

It’s also a good idea to make personal questions non-compulsory. This way if people find them too invasive, you’ll still be able to collect the other data you’re interested in from them. Sometimes it's better to have some information back than none at all.

4. Ambiguous Customer Feedback Questions

It might feel like writing broad questions will allow your respondents to give you a wider variety of insights back. In reality, you’re unlikely to get the answers you really need this way. Instead, your customers are likely to give broad, sweeping statements, refer to other parts of the business or process, or not provide enough detail to make the data useful.

Instead, by making your questions specific you can guide your customers. For example, rather than “How was your experience?” you can ask “How did the team handle your request for service?”, “How did you find the check-out process?” or “Did we answer your question today?” to help focus your customers’ attention on what you’re really interested in them reviewing.

5. Questions you already know answers to

When writing questions for customer feedback, sometimes you need to ask for reference information such as name, email or account details. If at all possible, you should avoid asking for the information you should already have on file. For example, if you’ve sent out the feedback request via email, you want a system that will automatically register their feedback to their email address.

This will save your customers’ time when completing the survey as you know it’s precious and you want to respect them. They’ve already kindly agreed to give you some of their time so make the most of it. Ask questions that are going to give you valuable information.


Now that you know some of the customer feedback questions to avoid, you're ready to start writing the questions that will give you relevant insights that you can use to move your business forward.

Think about what you want to know from your customers. Do you need to understand who they are better? Do you need to know what effect your marketing strategy is having? Do you need to see if your check-out process is seamless? Once you have narrowed down what information you need, you can start writing questions to gather this, remembering to apply the lessons above.

AskNicely Team
About the author

AskNicely Team

AskNicely Team
About the author

AskNicely Team

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