A Beginner's Guide to Customer Surveys
Have you ever wanted to get into the minds of your customers? Or learn more about what they honestly think about your business?
Feedback is important in order for business owners to learn how they can improve and provide better service.
If you really want to get inside the heads of your customers, surveys are an effective method of gathering information on their thoughts, feelings and attitudes towards your products and services, regardless of the size of your business.
What are the benefits of customer surveys?
- Discover what existing customers like or don't like about doing business with you - this will help you indicate what areas hold opportunity for improvement.
- Learn what's most important to your customers by opening up communication channels.
- Discover trends in your market.
- Test consumer interest on a new idea you have for a product or service.
- Increase customer retention - 85% of customers leave a business because of poor service. When you can identify areas that need improving through customer surveys, you can better retain your customers and ultimately decrease your cost of acquisition.
Before you send your survey out, whether that be via social media, in person, or even through your email list, ensure the questions are framed clearly and written well. Knowing your goals and what you want to get out of distributing surveys will help you create these questions in this manner.
What are some ways you can get customers to do a survey?
- Ask them in person - don't underestimate the difference a person-to-person experience can make.
- Be honest about the time commitment - provide clear and concise expectations about the time commitment required to complete the survey.
- Don't send surveys too often - adjusting your frequency will ensure your customers don't feel harassed.
- Tailor the survey delivery method to a suitable channel for your particular audience and customers.
- Don't waste their time - make sure the survey is relevant.
- Prove that you act on the feedback you receive!
Another effective measure is to offer an incentive; most people won't be overly excited about completing a survey, but if they are able to gain some value from it (such as a discount voucher) they'll be more inclined to participate.
At Bloomtools, we offer flexible survey builders with advanced features that you can use to create, send, and analyse the results. Learn more about our Online Survey Software here - if you're interested in discussing how surveys can help your business, get in touch with your local internet consultant.
What follows is an article discussing four case studies of how you surveys have helped other businesses grow.
These four case studies are from Bloomtools clients who've had amazing success with surveys.
Case Study 1 - Surveys to introduce a new idea / gain insight into consumer thoughts
A retail business wanted to know if their customers would be interested in buying their products online. Moving the business towards e commerce was going to be a significant investment and they wanted to know whether the investment would be worth it. They needed to ask their current customers if they would buy online and they did this using a survey. There was one excellent reason for choosing an online survey in this instance: to find out their customer's willingness to participate in online activities. If they were timid about doing an online survey, there's a good chance that they wouldn't feel comfortable with online shopping.
The client put together their list of contacts and email addresses that they had acquired using a free downloaded report on their website. They then built their survey, offered the chance to win free products if they participated in the survey, and then sent a link to the survey using their email marketing account to about 8,000 recipients. Within half an hour they had over two hundred survey results. By the next morning, they'd received over two thousand and ended up with at least 30% of the recipients responding to the survey! The information provided the client with much better data from which they could make a more informed decision about selling their product online.
Case Study 2 - One Survey increased their businesses revenue tenfold
An accountant learnt that it was eight times more expensive to attract a new client than it was to retain an existing one. Armed with this new information, they decided to create an online survey that would enable them to learn more about what their clients wanted.
They used a range of different question styles to get the information they wanted. Multiple choice questions prompted the customer to indicate which products and services they knew the accountant provided. Interval questions allowed the customer to rate the accountant's services on a scale of 1 to 10. Open text responses were perfect for getting the customer's opinion about something. Furthermore, to increase the level of response, recipients were offered a free financial service consultation.
Again, this survey generated amazingly high respondents (over 20%) and the results started pouring in within minutes of the email going out. This data was extremely valuable to the client in making business and marketing decisions. They identified many areas and services that their current clients did not know they offered and from this alone they were able to increase the average dollar spend per client by 15% simply by using their current services! They also identified the need to increase the number of times they needed to see their clients, which also increased their profitability ten fold.
Case Study 3 - 360 degree review of employees helped improve staff performances
As business owners, you would understand the importance of giving your staff feedback about their performances. This particular business placed a lot of weight on its teamwork and values, and wanted to ensure that the staff gained some valuable insight into their position within the company and what they could do to improve themselves. The company introduced a 360 degrees survey, which is feedback that is given to the employee from their fellows team mates in a top-down, bottom-up and peer-to-peer fashion. It also includes a self-assessment.
Every year, the client produces an online survey asking for feedback on each of the team members, and sends these out to the staff. The staff members respond to the surveys, and the information is then compiled by the management team and used to identify the strengths and areas for improvement of each of the staff members. The benefits of using the online survey for the 360 degree reviews was its anonymity (they were more likely to get honest results), is discreteness (the staff members could do the survey at home where they felt more relaxed), and the ability to produce an easy to read report for the management team to follow. As a result of these yearly reviews, the client discovered that they had a longer staff retention as well as job satisfaction in their team.
Case study 4 - Client communication - Are you giving enough value to your clients? What do they want more of from you?
Recently we had an existing client that wanted to know what their customers thought of their business and what feelings their brand conjured up in their mind. They didn't want to prompt their customers, but wanted to determine if their brand was clearly communicating their message. They were in the process of determining whether they should refresh their existing logo or whether they needed a complete rebrand with a new name to better align with the future direction of the company.
By using an online survey the client received feedback from the participants that showed what thoughts and feelings were evoked with the current brand. It also highlighted to the client untapped areas within their business and it set a level of expectation of what the client needed. The final results were that the client was able to refresh the look of the brand without changing their name, saving the client lots of money while also being able to align their brand with the clients expectations and re-gaining customer loyalty.