Surveys Are a Great Tool For Business Improvement

I am sure you are familiar with Survey Monkey. If not, I would be surprised. Survey Monkey is one of the more popular free online survey options available today that allows you to customize your surveys. I probably receive at least one a week (sometimes one a day!).

What is the best survey definition?  Well, the obvious definition is to gather information or feedback. Every company needs feedback.  As a business, you may also be looking to get impressions (of you, your brand, product, location, etc), opinions, attitudes and just general overall satisfaction levels.

Many businesses are sending surveys on a regular basis to customers to gauge how employees are treating customers. Surveys are also used quite regularly when developing a new product to determine if the attributes you are improving will resonant with customers so that they will buy more. Truly the benefits are endless.

Short Surveys Can be Effective

Short Surveys Can be Very Effective

Short Surveys Can be Very Effective

Many times when you either call or email one of your vendors (think phone company, cable company, bank, credit card company) with an inquiry or issue you are asked if you’d complete a survey at end of the call. Sometimes it’s specifically about the employee’s ability to resolve any issues you may have had. Those are typically pretty short. However, I had one not long ago that I had agreed to complete after the call. After the 8th question I hung up (it was an automated survey). If you are going to do this type of survey be sure to alert people to how long it may take to complete or how many questions there are. I didn’t know how much longer it was and really didn’t have any more time. I had thought it would be 3 or 4 questions. I don’t know if they utilize the data from incomplete surveys but in my mind they lost an opportunity by asking for too much.

I’ve also gotten a number of online surveys lately asking for feedback about a recent visit to a brick & mortar location. I admit, since I’m in the “business” that I look at the surveys and the tools they use more than the average consumer might and I’m happy to see that lately a number of surveys actually have a way to “pause” and come back to complete the survey later. Now, that could also be a turn-off for some as it signals “this is going to take a long time” and they don’t even start but at least it would give the option to complete when someone had more time. I generally save up my online surveys and do them all at once. Yes, I do try and answer them. Especially if I’ve had a particularly good or bad experience I want the company to know. How else can we expect companies to improve if we don’t share our experiences.

Surveys Can be Form of Sales Promotion

Surveys can also be another tool in your sales promotion arsenal. Think about it. Have you ever completed surveys for money or some other prize? To me, that’s a form of sales promotion. I actually won an Ipad not long ago for filling out an online survey. Now, I didn’t complete my survey because there was that “carrot” I filled out the survey because it was information requested from my industry association and I wanted to contribute. But it was a great reinforcement that I should continue to complete the surveys sent!

Many companies will use incentives such as money, gift cards, additional discounts and gift items to entice people to complete surveys. Some companies also have on-going programs that provide for paid surveys. You can sign up and they send you a survey on a regular basis that you have agreed upfront to complete for some form of compensation.

Rewards Programs Get Your Opinion by Rewarding More!

Rewards Programs Get Your Opinion by Rewarding More!

I’ve been asked on numerous occasions by companies that I am a member of their rewards program if I would sign up to receive surveys to complete and when I did I would receive bonus rewards. My friends know, I am the “queen” of rewards programs and I am always trying to maximize my rewards. I love working to get “free” trips especially. So I agreed once to the survey option to get more reward points. Unfortunately, the company in my mind abused my willingness to participate. I was inundated with surveys on a daily and sometimes on a multiple times a day basis. I work. I just didn’t have time for that, no matter the points (which weren’t big enough for all the time they wanted). So, I opted out. If you are considering this type of promotion I highly recommend you limit the number of surveys you send on a regular basis. Remember you want their impressions, feedback, opinions but you also want their satisfaction so don’t abuse the privilege of picking their brains.

Survey Questions & Order Is Important

So that brings me to some of the survey questions. I have always recommended you start with the generic and move to the more specific. Of course if it’s just a really short “check-in” questionnaire you want to get to the “meat” of the matter quickly.

Develop the Right Questions

Develop the Right Questions

  • Was the agent courteous and professional?
  • Did they resolve your issue to your satisfaction?
  • Will you utilize our services again?
  • How can we improve?

That’s the meat of what you want to know, right? Especially the will you work with us again question. Repeat customers are every business’ lifeblood so getting that question to be answered yes is key. And having an open-ended question is a great way to find out even more. The last question is designed for either a negative or positive response or a totally new suggestion. Just have a system in place to review the responses and act on them if necessary.

If you are looking for feedback on a product improvement, then I do recommend you start with general questions like:

  • Do you ever use X?
  • What do you like best about X?
  • What do you like least about X?
  • What has been your overall experience when using X?
  • What improvements would make you use X or use X more?
  • If X had this attribute (new improvement) would you be more likely to use it?

See what I mean? You don’t want to start with the new attribute you want to have them tell you information and maybe provide feedback before you get to the meat of the issues you want to have an opinion on.

As you can see, surveys have a wealth of uses and can help your company grow and improve.

Danette Gossett

Danette brings more than 30 years of experience developing advertising campaigns, direct marketing programs and sales promotions to her clients. Prior to starting her companies, she worked for New York advertising agencies including Saatchi & Saatchi & Lowe Marschalk.

Her corporate marketing experience included National Advertising Director for Avis Rent a Car Systems, Inc., and Director of Marketing Services for Royal Caribbean Cruise Line. Read More

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