3 Steps to a Successful Survey

By Kate Supino

Done well, surveys can provide valuable insight into what your customers are thinking. As a CEO or other executive of a large company, you might be pleasantly surprised by the amount of information that can be gleaned from even one well-run survey campaign. And once you see how well they can work, surveys just might earn a permanent place in your marketing budget.

What makes a good survey?

A good survey will serve many goals within your organization—but what makes a "good" survey?

First, the survey should be developed with specific goals in mind. In that regard, you shouldn't have just anyone write the survey questions: It should be someone who understands the survey's ultimate purpose and knows how to extract that information from the customer in an indirect manner.

Indirect questions are more likely to extract honest answers than direct questions.

For example, if you ask a customer if they are happy with your products, they might quickly respond with a yes. But if you ask them how many times they returned your products to the store in the last six months, their answer many indicate that they have been dissatisfied with your products on a number of occasions.

Good surveys unveil the truth behind what your customers think about your company without them even knowing you asked.

What's the best way to conduct a survey?

Almost everyone knows that people dislike being interrupted in their homes by telephone calls from telemarketers.Obviously, the first impression you want to make isn't one of harassment. Emails from unrecognized contacts frequently get ignored, sent to the junk mail folder or forgotten about completely. Neither of those options are ideal when conducting something as important as your company survey. As explained in the article SMS Surveys to Satisfy Customers, there is another option that has been recently developed.  

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SMS surveys, sometimes referred to as text message surveys, satisfy customers because they work within the time constraints of their busy schedules. When one of your customers receives a survey via text on their mobile device, they can respond at any time and from any place they feel is convenience. In addition, since the survey comes in as a text versus an email, the survey itself is much less intrusive and takes up less space in their digital world. 

How long should a survey be?

Some online surveys are pages and pages long. Since they know that customers will rarely hang around long enough to finish the survey, many companies break long surveys down so customers can't tell exactly how long it will be. Unfortunately, this ends up annoying customers and they often drop out after one too many "next page" arrows.

The length of a survey might be dictated by your company's need to get answers for multiple questions; however, if you have numerous things that you want answered, you should consider breaking your survey down, not into pages, but into separate surveys.

Surveys are definitely the way to go if you are seeking to get a finger on the pulse of your customers' mindset. Just make sure you heed these tips to ensure you get the best possible outcome from your survey campaign.

About the Author: Kate Supino writes extensively about best business practices.

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