How to Effectively Use Client Surveys to Boost Your Business

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client survey

As an organizational consultant, you need to know how you’re doing in the eyes of your clients. However, you can’t assume they’ll openly tell you their feedback to your face. They might if they’re extraordinarily pleased, but if there’s room for improvement, they’ll probably balk. That’s why client surveys are so useful.

What Is a Client Survey?

Client surveys are the means that allow people to provide their thoughts about your business in a structured manner. You can format them in a variety of ways, depending on your needs. For example, you might have people rate factors of your business using a numerical scale and writing open-ended comments if they wish.

Or, you could write a statement such as, “I feel my sessions provide me with valuable tips I can apply to my life and work,” then ask people to say how much they agree with it.

You also have the option of allowing people to submit surveys anonymously or provide their names if desired. Taking that approach works well if you’re afraid respondents may not be entirely honest if they have to identify themselves.

Examples of When to Use Client Surveys

There are various occasions when it’s appropriate to tell your clients you’d appreciate it if they’d fill out surveys. If your business is relatively new, and you’re still figuring out its scope and specific client services, you could ask, “How could I serve you better?” as one of the questions.

Or, if you recently hosted a gathering for clients, questions on a post-event survey could pinpoint the things people liked best, versus the aspects they didn’t think were as valuable.

When you’re considering rebranding your business, the insights from client surveys could help you steer the company in a direction that makes sense for your clients and your future goals. Consider asking your employees or subcontractors, if you have any, to complete the survey first. You might even let them fill out the content on tablets, especially since research shows tablets boost productivity at workplaces.

1. How to Find Survey Resources

Although there are plenty of premium survey creators and sites, you don’t have to set aside a significant budget to use client surveys at your organizational consultancy business. You can set up polls online and find numerous free or low-cost resources with a few straightforward search engine queries.

SurveyMonkey is an example of a survey-creating site with a free plan, as well as several paid tiers.

Surveyplanet allows you to use your free account to create an unlimited amount of survey questions, too. Consider doing that if you want to experiment with different words and phrases when making your questions.

2. Let Surveys Support Business Growth

It’s natural to hope all the feedback from your client surveys will come back glowingly positive. But, the reality is people will likely weigh in on things they’d like you to change. If you list your company on customer review sites, some of the comments provided could have spurred you to undergo a business shift. Surveys work similarly.

Or, you might realize, based on the collective feedback, that people repeatedly brought up feedback that doesn’t directly suggest a change, but highlights something you hadn’t understood before.

They also facilitate “testing the waters” before you offer a new service, introduce new business hours, start accepting a new type of payment or something else that could help your organization thrive. Instead of just assuming your clients will appreciate the change, build a survey first to verify that’s true. You may end up realizing it’s better to grow your business differently, depending on what your clients think.

By positioning surveys so people feel like they directly impact your company, they should feel excited about taking them and get the impression that you care about their opinions.

Surveys Could Help You Make Strides Instead of Becoming Stagnant

Your business will almost certainly enjoy success if you actively keep it progressing forward, instead of being content with how things are now. Surveys could provide the information you need to continue simultaneously pleasing clients and profiting.

Photo © / ilkercelik 

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Kayla Matthews is the owner and editor of the self-improvement and efficiency blog, Her work has appeared on, Fast Company, Tiny Buddha and FinerMinds. To read more posts from Kayla, follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Join the Conversation


  1. Avatar Seana Turner on September 26, 2018 at 12:48 pm

    I have taken part in many Survey Monkeys. They tend to be quick and easy. I know it can be hard to get people to take part in them. I agree that clients who perceive taking the survey as a way to improve the service they receive are more likely to participate. I think it is important to use them sparingly, and then they can provide very valuable information.

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on September 27, 2018 at 12:28 pm

      One of the challenges I find with surveys is, as you say, getting people to participate. You can offer an incentive, such as a discount code or a contest entry, but that requires they identify themselves, which may be a deterrent to either taking part or answering the questions completely honestly.

  2. Avatar Olive Wagar on October 3, 2018 at 11:31 am

    Thanks for the insight on surveys–exactly what I am working on this week! I plan to use them at several speaking events this month.

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on October 3, 2018 at 12:30 pm

      What great timing, Olive! I used to do surveys after speaking engagements and found it a great way to fine tune my message for future events. I’m not sure why or when I stopped doing that but maybe I need to get back to it!

  3. Avatar Kim on October 8, 2018 at 9:58 am

    Hi Janet,
    I often will fill out online surveys for others and I can see where it helps them to refine their message.
    I have done a few speaking events lately and have not done an evaluation form. ugh!! I know we have a feel as to how well it went but it would be good to get that true and honest feedback.
    I hope to be able to use an online survey at some point in my business. Thanks Janet

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on October 8, 2018 at 12:24 pm

      I’ve never done the type of survey which Kayla describes here – only for presentations/workshops, and occasionally more general topics which I later blogged about. It can be hard to get people to fill them out!

  4. Avatar Sabrina Quairoli on October 8, 2018 at 12:30 pm

    This is very important for all types of small businesses. I find that to get a better response, giving clients’ yes or no questions and then offering a section to answer why do you feel this way.

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on October 9, 2018 at 12:52 pm

      Great tip, Sabrina – thanks for sharing that!

  5. Linda Samuels Linda Samuels on October 8, 2018 at 8:28 pm

    I’ve participated in surveys and even created some for an association with SurveyMonkey. I haven’t done electronic ones for my own organizing business. I’ve done several “old school” surveys in the past for speaking engagements and for my organizing clients. Those surveys yielded valuable intel. While most of the responses were positive, it was the negative or constructive feedback that was most valuable. That allowed me to make some changes that I might not have considered.

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on October 9, 2018 at 12:53 pm

      The negative feedback can be hard to take, but it’s so important! If you’re not prepared to pay attention to it, there’s probably no point in even running a survey.

      Thanks for sharing your experience.

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