Investigating the characteristics of a given population with utmost precision requires a systematic search for relevant data. The search is done to have an in-depth analysis of the concerned population. There’s no better way to conduct this customer data investigation than through surveys. Commercial companies and enterprises make use of this analysis to gain a better understanding of their likes and dislikes. The concerned authorities conduct a planned search for all relevant data.
The success of marketing depends on the integrity and relevance of the data collected. It should be authentic and from the right audience to avail maximum benefits. To a high degree, the quality of the data depends on the methods of data collection used by the management. There are two types of data:
- Primary Data, which is collected firsthand by the researcher and thus is original data. This data is specifically collected for the purpose of study and research. It addresses the current problem encountered by the customers or the company itself.
- Secondary Data is collected from other sources that have been already collected and is readily available. This data is less expensive and can be attained quickly from various published sources. Sometimes, the authorities fail to collect primary data, in those times secondary data is extremely useful.
The management usually has a dilemma pertaining to selecting the method for collecting primary data. The method has to be relevant and appropriate. This is also the most important decision prior to beginning market research.
Why should you conduct surveys?
- Surveys can be relatively inexpensive since they are easy to use, reuse and correct after creation.
- Surveys are useful in describing the characteristics of a large population, thus they have a broad reach.
- It constantly reminds the business owner that they should regularly check upon their customers.
- They can also use the customer feedback captured from surveys for efficient marketing and to improve their business. They can also use the results to improve customer service and customer experience.
- It is highly flexible and the management can change it to meet the needs of the target audience.
- Surveys are usually filled anonymously therefore data collected is reliable. Such surveys have more honest and unambiguous responses.
- Survey results are easy to use in marketing after analyses.
Cons of conducting surveys:
- Survey fatigue – Surveys are so easy to create, and so easy to send, that the management ends up sending too many surveys, and answering them gets tiring. As a result, response rates decline over time.
How can you collect customer data?
1. Online Surveys and Questionnaires
Owing to the current technological developments, the use of online surveys has rapidly increased. It is also one of the least expensive means to reach out to the maximum number of people. After designing an online survey, the company can easily store, revise and reuse them from time to time. It can also do the same with the data collected after analyzing the survey results. The response time is also quick for online surveys so it has become the preferred method of data collection for many consumer satisfaction surveys and product and service feedback. It is easy to track respondents, and non-respondents through the data collection process. The authorities can also send electronic reminders easily at a very low cost. Respondents have the option to begin the survey, stop, and save the responses at a later more convenient time as well.
2. In-person Interviews
Getting information in person is one of the most personal approaches and most effective ways of gaining trust and cooperation from the respondent. It is also one of the most flexible ways to gather data from the respondents while capturing their non-verbal responses as well. It is especially useful to detect discomfort when respondents are discussing sensitive issues. Respondents have more time to consider their answers and the interviewer can gain a deeper understanding of the validity of a response. It is also easier to maintain their interest and focus for a longer period.
3. Paper Surveys
Companies can reach more people through mailed paper surveys. Mailed questionnaires give people time to think about their responses and to use resources at home or at work when responding. On the downside, up-to-date mailing lists may be difficult to come by and postage can be expensive. There is no chance to ask probing questions or clarify information.
4. E-mail surveys
The administrators of the survey can send surveys via emails to the anticipated respondents. They can even track if respondents have taken the survey, and send reminders to those who haven’t responded. Net Promoter Score or other indices on the Likert Scale are the best kind of surveys to be sent via emails.
The authorities can embed a survey on their website, or display it in a popup window when visitors arrive at their site. Through this method, they can collect data from customers who regularly visit the company website. They don’t need to spend extra money on finding a targeted audience.
6. Targeted Audience
To get responses from a specific group, companies have started reaching out to a specific set of populations. Such a method is great for companies that don’t want generic responses.
7. Social media
From a Twitter account or on Facebook, the social media manager or any other employee of the management department can publicly post a link to the survey. Such social media platforms have also started using online polls that anyone can create. This is also a viable option to get responses from a closed set of customers.
8. Telephone Interviews
The biggest advantage of telephone interviews is that the administrators of the interview can save a lot of cost and time. It is also much easier because almost everyone has a cell phone nowadays. Another advantage is fewer interviewers are required in order to conduct telephone interviews than face-to-face interviews.
Things to keep in mind before conducting a survey
Survey data is typically captured in a database so that the authorities conducting it can later retrieve and analyze it. The questions must range from structured questions such as simple polls (yes/no), multiple-choice, rating and ranking, to unstructured ones like open-ended free-response questions. Well-constructed surveys are among the most scalable ways to gather structured customer feedback.
- The survey should not be too long. It should have between one and ten questions.
- Administering customer pulse surveys once a week or once in two weeks will suffice. On the other hand, a half-yearly or quarterly overall satisfaction survey should supplement the former.
- The administrators of the surveys must target people who are already familiar with their brand. This will result in a better response rate. Some studies reveal its success rates can be as high as 65%.
- Use targeted media like newsletters, personal emails, or point-of-sale reminders to spread the word to your customers.
- Any company should not cease to administer surveys after implementing these changes once. This activity has to be recurring in nature in order to achieve structured growth.
- The authorities should make sure that both themselves and their clients have easy access to customer feedback.
Posted in Surveys