Survey Says!

Growing up, I heard the word ‘survey’ a lot during one of my favorite game shows, TheFamily Feud.  This game show can get a bit rowdy and spontaneous, just watch the old clips of Richard Dawson.  And every question begins, “One hundred people surveyed, top X answers are on the board, here’s the question…”  One of the optional ingredients in this month’s Marketing Chili was the survey.  Here’s the scoop on how and why SMB’s need to survey your customers to benefit your website.

Why Survey Customers?

Surveys can easily collect information businesses need. Done right, surveys can reduce new product risk; generate insights about employees, customers, and markets; and align messages with target customers. Done poorly, they can derail strategy and generate misguided marketing, customer service, and communications plans.

Your business—and your business strategy—is only as good as the information you have. So creating a survey will give you the information you need to give your customers what they want.  If you are using Constant Contact for email marketing, then you have a tool to create surveys on a budget.

7 Steps to Survey Success

A checklist graphic1.  Define your objectives; what do you want the survey to measure?  Create questions that lead to quantifiable answers.  Remember you want to make this is as easy as possible for the participants.  Most customers do not want to scroll through lots of text, so your online survey completion rate will be higher if the survey is short, simple and to the point.

2. Develop questions properly. For example, asking, “How long did it take you to complete the training?” with multiple time intervals is better than asking, “Do you need more time to finish the training?” with yes or no as possible responses.

3. Ask one question at a time and order them logically.  Avoid double negatives, difficult concepts, and specific recall questions. Respondents can get confused or get quickly overwhelmed if the survey is too complex and/or difficult to fill out. They won’t complete it!

4. Use closed-ended questions, with no more than one or two open-ended questions. Respondents usually understand closed-ended questions better because they are to the point and offer choices. Open-ended questions require more typing, tire the respondent and reduce the answer quality.

5. Scaled response questions should have balanced choices. For example, offering choices of excellent, very good, good, and terrible would cause you to miss information between the values of good and terrible.

6. Questions should be developed with specific choices. For example, it’s better to ask, “How many times a month do you go to the movies?” “0”, “1 to 3 times a month”, “3 to 5 times a month or more”, instead of “How often do you go to movies?” “almost never”, “once in awhile”, “I am there at least once a week”, etc.

7. Craft a well-written subject line for the email you send with the survey to capture attention. Name your survey and write a brief introduction. This information gives your respondents some background and a frame of reference. It also prepares them for what is to come.  Test-send to someone else; an employee and someone not in your industry for feedback. Do not send this to customers before testing and getting feedback; that is poor marketing.  Revise the questions based on feedback and execute the survey.

How Does That Benefit You?

Now it is time to evaluate the results.  Did the survey provide insight that surprised you?  Did it confirm a hunch you had about the change in business?  Great.  Now you can take that information and implement it into your marketing plan and business strategy.  You may be able to address some questions or concerns on your website.  You will be prepared to answer questions before the customer needs to call you.  That is good marketing.  If you have questions, contact Vivid Image.

Online customer surveys are an effective way to really listen to your customers and learn what is important to them. Take the results and revise your marketing accordingly.  That information is priceless.