The Value of Surveys – 4 Ways to Improve Your Business

Surveys can be windows allowing you to see and learn how your customers perceive your organization, your products and your level of customer service.  They also enable you to learn about the strengths and weaknesses of your organization, as well as the unmet needs of your customers and prospects.  This information is invaluable when used properly.  By actualizing the results of the survey into your marketing and product development strategies, you can recognize market share growth, increases in revenues, increased value perception, and/or improved customer service.

Surveys provide a way to keep a pulse on how your organization is performing.   Here are 4 sample purposes of surveys and how you can benefit from each:

Determine unmet needs that you can address.  Survey your current clients and prospects to identify unmet needs.  Is there a particular service that they would purchase if it existed or if a current service was tweaked?  Surveys are a low cost way to gather information to support your new product or service development.

Monitor the success of new products or services.  Use surveys to monitor the pulse around new product or services rollouts.  Is the product meeting your customers’ needs?  Why are they or are they not using the new service?  Did they have enough information or training to use the product?  Learn the details right away while you can still modify, correct or improve the service.  If there is a flaw or weakness in the service, you can train your customer service to acknowledge the problem as appropriate and proactively placate clients who may not be happy.

Measure the quality of your customer service.  What do your customers think of your customer service?  Is your customer service professional, knowledgeable, and resourceful or would rude, lazy and uncaring be a better description.  An anonymous survey will give you a truer picture than observation.  Once you know the strengths and weaknesses of your customer service, you will know where to focus training.  You can also consider implementing a program to reward your high customer service delivery achievers.

Learn about your customers.  Why do they use your products or services, what are you doing correctly?  By determining why your customers are YOUR customers, you will identify your best strengths through the eyes of your customers.  You can be sure that these strengths are what matter most to your prospects, so your next step is to incorporate these key strengths into your marketing strategy.  If you ask at the time of the survey, you may even garner a publishable testimonial from a client or two.

Once you have determined what you wish to accomplish with the survey, keep the following 6 tips in mind when developing and implementing the survey:

  1. Keep the survey short.
  2. Identify up front how long the survey will take…and be honest.
  3. Limit the number of questions with more than 5 options as answers.
  4. If the survey has more than 5 questions, categorize the questions into segments.
  5. Start with the simplest questions first, and build to more complex questions with more options, otherwise you will lose participants along the way.
  6. Thank the participant and be sincere.  Consider selecting a random winner out of the participants who completed the survey to receive a valuable gift.

Tip:  Constant Contact allows for simple integration of surveys into direct emails to your audience, into your newsletters, via social media channels, as well as via links from your website. Contact Autumn Edmiston at 724-612-0755 for details.

About the author: Autumn Edmiston is the CEO and owner of the Edmiston Group ~ The Edmiston Group provides senior level marketing management services to businesses and non-profit organizations on a short or long term basis.  Core areas of service are business development, marketing, strategic planning and public relations. The Edmiston Group has consistently delivered and implemented real-world, proven business marketing ideas and strategies for business growth.

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