Tips to take the pulse of your business customers
According to William Schatten, Vice President, Research and Analysis, for Toronto-based Forum Research Inc. , customer surveys help you get valuable information about what customers like or do not like. Whether you’re launching a new product or service, or wanting to assess customer satisfaction, Mr. Schatten tells us what to do or avoid to get the most out of your surveys.
1. Choose online surveys.
For small business owners, online questionnaires, unlike telephone surveys, in person or on paper, are the easiest and the most economical, says Schatten. “With a paper form, you could ask clients to complete the survey at your company, otherwise you have to send it by mail and ask for it back,” he adds. “Then you have to transfer the results to a computer, which results in costs. “
Easy-to-use and effective (and often free) online tools like SurveyGizmo , Checkbox or SurveyMonkey will help you design your survey and analyze the results yourself.
2. Formulate your questions carefully.
“Preparing a questionnaire requires science and art,” says Schatten, whose company employs a full team for questioning. “Science is about getting the right data for analysis. The art is to write the questions in a very precise way to make sure that you are not influencing anyone, that there is nothing confusing, and that the questions are not biased or ambivalent. Results from poorly formulated questions can mislead you into making bad decisions. “
Open-ended questions (requiring more than a “yes” or “no” answer) provide more detailed answers, while multiple-choice or ranked questions (eg, “on a scale 1-10”) Allows you to quickly obtain demographic or percentage information.
No matter the format, the poll must be short. “The longer it takes, the less people will want to answer it. Five minutes of their time is not an exaggerated demand, “says Schatten, who also warns about incentives that could affect the validity of responses. “Respondents can complete the survey only to get the incentive. “
Check out the results.
The clearer the purpose of your survey, the easier the analysis will be (eg, do customers like or hate your new product?). It is also important to react to the answers. Use these valuable insights to assess customer satisfaction, encourage customer loyalty and other visits, launch the right products and services, or even just stay open on Fridays.
Similarly, it is a good idea to follow up with respondents or another client survey after any changes or improvements have been implemented to confirm that you are on the right track.