We want to thank our guest blogger,Melissa Rowe for this insightful post.
You think you know your customer…but how well do you really know them? Do you know what they value most in a business partner, do you know what motivates them to purchase a particular product or service, do you know how satisfied they are with your company? Chances are you don’t know as much as you think you do. So go ahead and ask.
Market surveys are an indispensable way to gain insights into the thoughts, feelings, opinions, likes/dislikes of your customers or prospects. Since they are anonymous and impersonal, you are almost guaranteed to get real, honest feedback. And that is invaluable… you can use it to strengthen your business or service, determine which products should be in the pipeline, know what promotional campaign will be most effective, etc. By asking for input, you also send the message that your “customer is king” – that you truly value their input. Plus, it’s another point of engagement between you and your customer… keeping you and your company top of mind.
With simple-to-use online resources like Survey Monkey and Constant Contact, almost anyone can create and conduct a survey (perhaps even a monkey!). But, as with most things, designing an effective survey requires good forethought and planning. Here are a few tips and techniques to help you along the way.
- Set a goal for the survey. Determine exactly what you want to learn, and why. Keep this goal in mind when writing your questions.
- Define your target audience. Who do you want to take your survey? Do you want to gather responses from existing customers or new prospects? Should you focus on the C-suite, or will someone at a director’s level provide more valuable feedback?
- Offer an incentive. What’s it going to take to get someone to complete the survey? Some people will participate because they like surveys (like me) but most won’t unless it’s worth their while. Consider offering a small payment or gift, a coupon for services, some recognition. Or you could donate money to a charity for each survey completed.
- Keep it short and sweet. Time is precious and people may not be willing to give up even a few minutes. Write a short survey and tell prospects how long the survey should take to complete. It’s also nice to include a progress indicator (for example, question 4 out of 7) so people know where they are in the process.
- Write clear, concise and unbiased questions. Make sure the questions are straightforward and easily understood. Don’t ask leading questions and try to avoid yes/no questions… there is so much gray area that should be explored.
- Randomize the order. Consider randomizing the order of the questions and the answer choices. It’s human nature to choose the first or last option more than others, so change the order to remove the bias.
- Test on your friends and co-workers. Once your survey is complete, send it to your friends and co-workers to ensure everything is perfect. Then it’s time to go live.
- Analyze and report. This the best part and there is a slew of information to review… from open rates and conversions to the actual responses. There are myriad ways to analyze the data and you need to sure that any conclusions you draw are statistically significant... this might be best left to the experts.
So get in touch with your customer. Find out what he/she is really thinking or feeling about your company. And use the knowledge to better serve your customer.