May 31, 2018



Comment cards are marketing tools that businesses, nonprofits, and educational institutions give to their customers or clients to gather feedback on their products and services. They are commonly used at restaurants, markets, hotels, and events. When used successfully, comment cards show you value your customers, want to meet their needs, and desire a positive customer experience. They are simple to design, inexpensive to print, and easy to reorder when you’re running low.

Why are customer comment cards and surveys important?

Comment cards make you aware of problems or unmet expectations so you can address them before complaints are aired publicly. Put another way, would you rather have a negative review handed directly to you so it can be privately addressed or posted on social media where it’ll live forever? We thought so. 

Comment cards help you plan for the future. Don’t invest time and funds developing products or services based on what you assume customers need; let them tell you what they want and build it into your long-term business goals. Your nonprofit can collect feedback from the people you serve and your donors to guide the strategic planning process; they can also help you identify opportunities for donor benefits and recognition. Hand out comment cards at your next event or class to learn how to improve your next educational offering.

Comment cards are for more than negative feedback. They allow people to sing your praises, which you can use for employee recognition or in your company’s testimonials. You could use them to collect email addresses for your mailing list so you can notify customers about events, offerings, discounts, and new stock, products, or services. (You must get explicit permission before adding subscribers to regular mailings.)  

What should be included on comment cards?

Space for customers’ feedback

Keep your comment cards brief so they’re less time consuming and customers are more likely to complete them. You could include a mix of ratings and open-ended questions to get the information you need and the opinions customers want to give. Or follow a simpler model. Ellwood Thompson’s Local Market, pictured at the top of the post, opts for an open-ended comment card with lots of room for customers to write.

Topics to consider for your next comment card.

  • Selection
  • Prices
  • Quality
  • Service
  • Cleanliness
  • How customers heard about you
  • Praise

Should you include space for customers’ contact information? While anonymous comment cards can lead to more submissions, giving an optional space for customers’ contact information allows you to follow up on the issue to get more information, apologize, express gratitude for their feedback, and resolve any issues. Notice how Ellwood Thompson’s card includes clear instructions and an option field for email.

Your information

Don’t forget the important information customers need about you: your contact information, social media accounts, and return address in case they want to complete the comment card at home and mail it in. Include a phone number that gives direct access to a human being, not a voicemail wasteland that’s never returned.

Your brand

Include your logo, tagline, and brand colors. Use an informal tone that fits your brand. Consider how the design compares to your other printed materials and website. Ellwood Thompson’s brand caries through all their marketing materials: customer loyalty cards, gift certificates, shelf tags, and more.


Take every opportunity to thank your customers and clients for making the time to provide insight.

Where should you display comment cards?

Visibility is crucial. Display comment cards prominently in many places where customers and clients spend time, such as reception areas, waiting rooms, lobbies, checkout lines, customer service desks, registration lines, and pickup counters. A restaurant could include them with the bill. A hotel could leave them on the nightstand or desk. A school or nonprofit could hand them out as people enter your next event.

How can customer feedback be collected and used?

Make sure there’s a clear place to return comment cards. For example, Ellwood Thompson’s comment card instructs customers to drop the completed card in the comment box or give it to a manager. Place collection boxes next to blank cards, and check the boxes daily so you can address issues immediately.

SCORE, the nation’s largest network of volunteer business mentors, emphasizes that quickly and sincerely addressing issues can turn unhappy customers into loyal fans. It’s not enough to collect feedback; you have to use it. Fix problems. Adjust your stocking decisions or services offered, if needed. Improve staff training. Follow up over the phone or in person as quickly as possible. If you’re investigating a problem or instituting changes, let the customer know your progress. Create a database to track feedback so you can watch for trends over time and include improvements in your strategy for the future.

Involve your employees. Share the comment cards with employees to get their feedback. Highlight praise for your staff in person, and don’t let a bulletin board alone sing your team’s praises.    

How much does it cost to print custom comment cards?

Great looking comment cards signal that you care about customers’ opinions. A professional printer can help you get the best quality for your budget. Paper, design elements, print volume, and number of proofs affect printing costs. (Ellwood Thompson’s comment cards are printed on 100% post consumer recycled paper.) Increasing the number of comment cards you order will decrease the cost per card so use a design for months or across campaigns. Consider ordering customer loyalty cards at the same time to maximize sheet layout.

Looking for more ways to save? Get in touch for specifics on how to keep costs low.

Ready to print custom comment cards?

Give us a call, send an email, or fill out this form to start your project, learn more, or see samples. If you already know what you need, you can request an estimate.

Check out other marketing materials for your small business.

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