When some people think of customer surveys, customer satisfaction surveys are often the only type that come to mind. There are many more possibilities, among them:
• Segmenting your list for more targeted marketing. This is becoming increasingly important with email. As the volume of email proliferates, people are opting out of more and more email lists. Segmenting your file so you can deliver more relevant messages can help increase your open rate while reducing your list attrition.
• Generating ideas for future prospecting. Ask your customers what magazines they read or what organizations they belong to, and you may discover good places to look for additional customers. Ask which of your competitors your customers also buy from, and why they buy from you, and you’ll glean helpful information about how to position your company.
• Soliciting feedback on your website, your newsletter, new product ideas, or product line extensions. You’d be surprised at what good ideas your customers come up with!
Here are a few suggestions for creating an effective survey:
• Keep it short. Let respondents know ahead of time that you won’t take too much of their time. Specify that it’s “10 multiple-choice questions” or a survey that “should take three minutes or less to complete.”
• Make it easy to answer all the required questions. Yes/no or multiple choice questions are the easiest of all. Rating variables on a numerical scale requires only slightly more thought. But ask respondents to rank a number of variables in order, and you may lose them altogether. You run the same risk if you require too many open-ended questions.
• Test the survey on several people who did not help create it. Ask for feedback on any questions for which they wonder, “Does this mean X, or does it mean Y?”
The Internet has made it easier than ever to gather quantitative feedback from customers, yet few companies take advantage of the opportunity. Wouldn’t you like to know what your customers are thinking? Why not ask them?