GDPR customer surveys – Top 7 tips to create GDPR compliant customer surveys

GDPR compliant customer surveys to measure customer satisfaction let you find out how was their experience after doing business with you, after using your products and services. While doing so, you also want to make sure that you don’t flood them with too many requests to fill up customer surveys, and store and utilize their responses such that they don’t violate local data protection laws such as GDPR.

GDPR surveys are all about making sure not to store, process and use response data that will affect the customers’ privacy and identity, knowingly or unknowingly. It is a myth that GDPR and surveys can’t go hand-in-hand as surveys try to gather maximum data from the target audience whereas GDPR stops organizations from collecting and storing any personal data. However, this is not the truth. Experts say that organizations can gather as much as the information they want to perform market research, but the only condition is it should not violate the privacy of an individual and the collective information should not reveal anybody’s identity.

Before delving into how to create awesome GDPR customer surveys, let’s understand what are the common terminologies used in the industry while creating customer satisfaction surveys that are compliant.

GDPR customer survey terms

Data subject: Anyone who is the subject of the data i.e. the person whose data is being collected, stored and processed.

Data controller: Anyone who collects the data and determines how and why the data will be processed.

Data processor: Anyone who is manipulating the data (say, running analytics algorithm) to derive meaningful insights from the data collected.

Explore a GDPR customer survey template

7 Tips for creating GDPR customer surveys to measure customer satisfaction

Generally, surveys might collect data so as to run reports on them and gain insights into their preferences, choices, and experiences. In order to make GDPR compliant customer surveys, keep in mind the below points.

  1. Do not collect any information that can reveal the identity of a person.

    Suppose you are running a patient satisfaction survey, and if any of the answers reveal that the patient has a specific health condition, then it is a case of sensitive data. The way out is to design customer surveys and questionnaires such that you can gather the high-level feedback from them and keeping the focus on the products and services rather than asking any individual specific information. One of the other ways is to conduct an anonymous GDPR compliant customer survey. If you are using a ready-made GDPR survey template, you might save on the effort of building a customer survey questionnaire from scratch.

  2. If you integrate third-party tools, you might need to share the data.

    Most third-party tools will ask for access to data while plugging them into the GDPR compliant survey tool. However, if you have collected any sensitive information, then it might violate GDPR compliance rules. Ensure that while creating a GDPR compliant survey your third-party provider has appropriate physical, technical and organizational security measures in place so that the data security and privacy of your customers are not compromised.

  1. Use the survey responses for internal use only.

Most of the survey creation tools allow you to download the reports in the form of .xls or .pdf. If these reports are shared across different departments, they must be classified as “for internal use only” so that no information gets leaked outside the premises of an organization.

  1. Convey the purpose behind collecting the data.

GDPR survey data collection rules compel organizations to be more thoughtful while seeking data from their customers and disclosing the purpose behind collecting the data. Suppose, you are requesting customers to fill up a feedback survey through an email. GDPR compliant customer survey administrators will need to make sure that if they let the respondents know if they are going to use their email addresses for marketing communication. Or get the consent of your customers to receive any emails related to discounts and offers.

  1. Let the customers know what the survey is for.

Give a short introduction of what the survey is about and what will be done with the collected survey data. Keeping it transparent will help you win the trust of your customers.

  1. Add a link to your privacy policies.

You can put a link to your data privacy policies in the invitation email or in the GDPR survey introduction text. If you put at the bottom of the survey, chances are the respondent may not finish the survey and see the link to the privacy policy. Hence, it is better to place the disclosure and privacy before the respondent starts the survey. If you are using a ready-made GDPR survey template, it will save you a lot of effort. You can always customize it as per your requirements.

  1. Opt-out option

Make sure you have an opt-out or unsubscribe link at the bottom while inviting people to respond to your survey.

How GDPR compliant customer satisfaction surveys increase the response rate

One of the reasons people don’t respond to surveys is that they fear they might get spam marketing emails from third-parties or from the host organization. GDPR ensures an individual’s privacy and hence helps in eliminating this fear. Thus, though organizations may perceive that GDPR data regulations might stop them from collecting data, it actually has the potential to do the reverse. With GDPR in action, individuals will feel confident that their personal data will not be misused and hence encourages them to share their honest opinion, preferences, feedback, etc. Also, organizations will have to be more vigilant pertaining to the collection, storage, and processing of data, so that nobody can misuse the data.

Once the respondents are convinced that their data is safe, secure and will not be misused, it is more likely that they will answer the customer survey. This, in turn, will increase the response rate and you will gather more insights into customers’ experience, their likes and dislikes, the features they would like to see in your products, etc All such information will help you to serve them better and consequently, increase your business.

This article is written as a guide on how to create GDPR customer surveys and not as legal advice. For queries on GDPR, we encourage you to seek legal advice. For any queries related to surveys, feel free to drop us an email at