Seth Godin Surveys

Seth Godin is known for being ahead of his time.

Back in 2011, a post appeared on his site: Seth Godin’s survey tips for getting the most out of customer surveys.

It was short and sweet, as is always the case with Seth. What’s really interesting to me is that his 5 tips made a prescient argument for changing the entire customer feedback game.

Up until then, surveys had been a digitized version of paper-based forms. Software like Survey Monkey had enabled companies to take the survey they mailed out each year, and send it via email.

And so it stayed, for nearly a decade.

Seth saw, as early as 2011, that customers hated surveys. He saw that the customer feedback game was going to change, and advised his readers to adapt.

I’ve reproduced some of his comments below, but basically he says only ask the most valuable of questions, make it easy for customers to just answer your survey, be entertaining and interesting and change the way you get people to rate things.

We agree with Seth

This goes to the heart of why Customer Thermometer consistently outstrips its traditional online survey competitors in usability and response rates.

One of the consistently-loved bits of Customer Thermometer functionality is that you can have fun with the smiley icon sets and answer buttons.

Instead of “slightly dissatisfied” and “moderately happy” you can choose great buttons and write anything that suits your brand from ” your work rocked our world” through to “you need to call me right now, I’m hopping mad!”

Here’s a great example. Check this out for an awesome way to engage customers of a beauty brand! So much more fun than ticking boxes.


Whether B2B or B2C, whole generations of people are born into a world of emojis, instant feedback and engagement. If you’re still using a long, boring, dry online form to get customer feedback, I’d urge you to try another route!

Here’s an abridged version of Seth Godin’s survey tips. It’s as relevant today as it was 6 years ago. In face, probably more so.

Seth Godin’s Survey Tips

  1. Every question you ask is expensive. (Expensive in terms of loyalty and goodwill). Don’t ask a question unless you truly care about the answer.
  2. Every question you ask changes the way your users think.
  3. Make it easy for the user to bail. If you have 20 questions (that’s a lot!) make it easy to quit after five and have those answers still count.
  4. Make the questions entertaining and not so serious, at least some of them. Boring surveys deserve the boring results they generate.
  5. Don’t be afraid to shake up the format.

Why should you listen?

Seth is one of the foremost marketing thinkers of our time. He was named Businessweek’s Ultimate Entrepreneur for the Information Age.

He once said “marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make but about the stories that you tell.” What story is your survey telling about you?

About the author: Lindsay Willott is CEO of Customer Thermometer. She’s also written these posts you might like: