Why Survey Your Customers


Blog article by Megan Denny

As a teenager, you likely put a lot of time and effort into preparing for the SAT, ACT, HSC, A-levels, Abitur exam, O.W.L.’s, etc.  A high score on one of these exams can bring success in adulthood.

But how do you measure the aptitude of your business? By profitability, sure. Good online reviews are another quasi-indicator. But do you really know why customers value your business versus another dive shop? Or why people book a scuba vacation instead of, say, golf or skiing?

Knowing more about your customers will help you answer important questions like:

Can I raise prices?
Do I need a marketing person on staff?
Should I expand my travel offerings?

A customer survey is a cost-effective way to take the pulse of your business and prepare for the future. If you’re already sold on this idea, scroll down for sample questions.

Survey your current customers to find out what they like and expect from your business – the answers may surprise you. Connecting with new customers can help avoid negative reviews, and checking in with long-term customers has been shown to improve loyalty and profitability. Why?

  • A customer is 4 times more likely to defect to a competitor if the problem is customer service-related rather than price or product related. (Bain & Company) 
  • The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60 – 70%.
    The probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20% (Marketing Metrics)
  • 86% of customers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience (Oracle)

I once worked with a dive center that had recently hired a new employee, switched their rental line and moved to (what they thought was) a better location. Business drooped, but the owners couldn’t identify which factor caused the downturn. Unfortunately, they learned the hard way that it’s 5-7 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than to retain a current one. (Bain & Company)survey-monkey

How to Create a Customer Satisfaction Survey

STEP ONE: What do you want to know?

This may be the hardest question to answer. There’s probably a lot you want to know, but be mindful of survey fatigue. Numerous studies have shown that a five to seven question survey is ideal. If the survey includes more than ten questions, the response rate will drop off significantly.

Some things you can ask directly, such as: “How did you hear about us?” Others require some subtlety. You can’t straight-out ask, “Is it okay if we raise prices?” but there are ways to go about it. For example:

How would you rate the value of our classes (or dive gear, boat charter, etc)?
Excellent value
Too expensive

What are the top 3 things you look for in a dive shop?
Excellent online reputation (4-5 star average)
Friendly staff
Experienced instructors
Small class size (or small numbers on charter)
Low prices
Large gear selection
Caters to families
Supports technical diving
Other (include a text box for comments)

Do you shop with other dive retailers? (check all that apply)
Yes, locally
Yes, online
Only when travelling

In the question above, a high percentage of “No” and “Only when travelling” answers indicate a high level of loyalty, and an opportunity to raise prices. Similarly, if not many people check the “low prices” box in question number two above, you know customers are not price-sensitive.

As you construct the survey, imagine how you’ll ultimately use the data. For example, if you’re thinking about adding or expanding a dive travel program, don’t just ask, “Should we offer more dive trips?” If 80% of respondents answer yes, that’s great, but you don’t know what type of trips to offer (local, international, liveaboard, etc).

Similarly, “Where would you like to travel?” is not a great question. We’d all like to dive the Galapagos, but coming up with the money to get there is a different story. Instead, ask questions like:

How much do you typically spend on a ‘nice’ vacation?
$1000 or less
$1000 – $2500
$2500 – $5000
More than $5000

How frequently do you travel internationally for fun (not business)?
More than once a year
Once every few years
Rarely / Never



Survey Monkey’s Basic plan allows you to create a 10 question survey and collect up to 100 responses free. For US $26/month you can collect up to 1000 responses and make a longer survey.

Before you pay more, keep in mind that it may take a while to reach 100 responses. Only 10-20% of people who receive a survey actually respond. Also, we strongly discourage making your survey longer than 10 questions.

Other recommendations:
– Avoid questions that require a lengthy response.
– Use multiple choice questions with an optional box for comments.
– Make the survey anonymous.
– Don’t require respondents to answer every question, limit required questions to a maximum of two.

Below are some additional question ideas.

How did you hear about us?
Search engine
Online ad
Social media (Facebook, Instagram)
Review website (Yelp, TripAdvisor)
Recommended by someone I know
Drove by the store
Other (single-line text field)

What piece of dive equipment do you plan to purchase next?

What scuba course are you most interested in taking next?

In what areas have we done business with you? (Check all that apply)
Scuba student
Equipment repair
Equipment purchase
Dive trip

How often do you dive?
At least once a week
A few times a month
A few times a year
Once a year
Once every few years
No longer diving

On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being very likely, how likely are you to recommend us to a friend or colleague?
(add multi-line text box for optional comments)

Do you have any other comments, questions or concerns? Include your contact information if you would like us to follow up, or submit the survey anonymously and contact us at [email and phone number].
(multi-line text field)

Lastly, ask a few demographic questions such as diver-level and age. For example, if 80% indicated they had no interest in taking another scuba course, that might be shocking… unless you had a question about diver level and noticed 80% of the respondents were Divemasters or Instructors. Or perhaps you noticed 50% of respondents report they are no longer diving, but that same group are age 25-35 (and probably have young kids).

STEP THREE: Collect responses

Send out your survey by email, post on Facebook, and consider including a printed copy with student crewpaks. Include a short message explaining how long the survey will take to complete and a value statement.

For example:
“We value your feedback! Take our short, 5 question survey, all answers are anonymous.”

“Do you have 60 seconds to help us improve our business? Take our short survey. All feedback is anonymous.”

“A good diver is always learning. Help us improve our business and staff training by filling out this one-page survey”

STEP FOUR: Analyze and repeat

As your surveys roll in, start a list of action items and share with your staff. Be sure to respond to any concerns if customers choose to identify themselves.

Send out your survey annually and consider posting it on the contact us page of your website. You might also create a survey that goes out to every new customer.

Use the data a tool to guide your business: expand marketing efforts in channels that draw new business, and stop wasting money in areas that aren’t increasing profits. Discover whether your customers are looking to spend money on equipment or travel and position your business to satisfy their needs.

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