Need insight into how educators are using your products? Ask them directly! Face-to-face conversations and focus groups are powerful builders of ongoing relationships, but they’re not always feasible. Sending out a customer survey through free services like Survey Monkey or Google Forms is a cost-effective way to gather users’ stories as well as feedback on new features they’d find helpful. Here are some pointers to get you started.
Offer an incentive for completing the survey.
Educators’ time is precious, so every survey should start with a brief introduction that clearly lays out what you’re offering in return for their participation. If you’re pulling them in with an award they’ll value, you can plug that in an intro without sounding too sales-y. Remember, you want them to provide thoughtful responses. Welcome them, thank them for being users, and emphasize how much you value their insight. After all, by filling out the survey, they’re doing you a favor. Also, don’t forget to give them a deadline!
Get a sense of who they are.
Surveys not only help you gather customer input, but also updated contact information. Including fields for their name, school email, school district name, and position will give you a clear picture of who they are. These fields can be at the beginning or the end of the survey, depending on your questions. Having them dive into the survey first and saving the simple questions for the end sometimes keeps them focused and makes your survey feel less like marketing outreach and more like a conversation with your customer.
Ask questions that meet your needs.
Before you put pen to paper, establish the goals of your survey. Are you trying to get customer testimonials to put on your website? Are you on a quest for insights into how you can improve or expand your services? Make sure you know what information you want first, and then make your questions specific to those goals.
Good starter questions revolve around getting a sense of customers’ familiarity with your services. Which of your products do they use? How long have they used it? How often? Knowing this information reveals your product’s place in their classroom. Don’t forget to speak directly to your target demographic. If educators and administrators are taking your survey, address both of their perspectives in each of your questions.
Give them a space to share their story.
At the end of the day, the goal of every survey is to find out what your users think—whether it’s positive or negative. Spare some room in your survey for them to reflect on how your product or service has impacted their classroom experience and their students’ learning. You can use positive commentary to boost your internal team’s morale or for promotional use. You can use negative commentary as a chance to re-evaluate a process or product. It’s a win-win.
When you’re sending out your survey via email, it helps to include friendly, personalized notes that address the value of answering your questions. Be sure to assure customers that the survey will only take a few minutes, and live up to that promise by including a reasonable number of questions. That number will differ depending on the types of questions you ask. The best way to see how long the survey will take an educator is to have someone on your team time themselves taking it.
After the survey is out, you have more opportunities to connect with your users by sending reminder emails before the deadline and “thank you” emails to those who complete the survey. With the right questions, you’re bound to get a better understanding of your product or service—and strengthen your connection with your customers.