If you are seeking to improve customer satisfaction and retention rate or are invested in adopting a customer-centric business approach, data is your weapon. However, if budget and resource constraints are holding you back, then opting for surveys is perhaps the wisest decision you will make.
Today, when data is the talk of the town, every company is investing in data mining to gain customer insights. Although data can be accumulated through various mediums, these methods can burn a hole in your bank accounts. The most efficient and yet cost-effective way to accumulate data is through surveys.
Survey is a research approach that helps in collecting information from a sample size of the target audience to generate valuable insights. It is a common practice in the healthcare sector; however, over the last two decades, various industries have adopted this research approach to study their target audience in order to design targeted campaigns and improve customer experience and satisfaction levels.
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Surveys are probably the most effective medium to study your target group. From understanding customer expectations, requirements, preferences, any prejudice they might have about your brand or service to understanding customer’s purchase habits and factors that influence it; surveys can be most efficient. Besides they are extremely cost-effective and quicker to launch. Surveys also enable you to collect data from a larger audience at a relatively shorter time. It can help generate both qualitative as well as quantitative data, based on the questions you design. Surveys can help you accumulate a broad range of data that can aid in designing better campaigns, address customer requirements and understand the driving force behind your customer’s purchase patterns.
Types of Surveys
There are basically two types of questions you can ask through your surveys – open-ended and close-ended questions. Open-ended questions are designed to generate qualitative answers, here the respondents answer at their own accord and it can generate varying yet rich data. Close-ended questions generate quantitative results that are objective in nature and help you gather precise information.
Depending on the types of questions you design, you can select the type of survey, which will help you achieve high engagement rates.
- Online Survey – Most widely used, cost-effective and highly efficient type of survey is online surveys. Today almost every single person has a phone and a vast majority have access to computers, hence online surveys ensure a high participation rate.
- In-person Surveys – Although there is no better form of communication than one-on-one, in-person surveys are seldom used. The efficiency rate of in-person surveys in quite high but considering the norm of social distancing which may be extended to a post-Covid era, in-person surveys may prove inefficient and redundant.
- Telephonic Surveys – As the name suggests, these surveys are conducted telephonically. Through first-party or third-party data you could generate the contact details of your selected respondents and contact them via telephone. Telephonic surveys may help you generate qualitative data, however many customers find it intrusive and unrequited.
- Cross-Sectional Surveys – Unlike traditional surveys, cross-sectional surveys can be conducted across various groups. These surveys will accumulate data of various groups, segregated on the basis of purchasing habits, demographic and other criteria and give you an aggregate result. Cross-sectional surveys give you a wider perspective and help you understand your audience better.
- Retrospective Surveys – Past experiences say a lot about a person and influence the decisions he makes in the future as well. A customer’s purchase preference may be based on factors that may have affected or influenced him in the past. Retrospective surveys ask respondents questions about their past and help you generate qualitative data.
A Step-by-Step Guide To Building Your Survey
- Defining Sample – Selecting your sample/ target group for your survey is the first and most crucial step. For surveys, you needn’t focus on your entire target group. You could select a section from your target audience that you think might be most receptible to being interviewed and sharing information. Your selected group must be a good mix of loyal customers, first-time purchasers, non-customers etc. Avoid areas or groups you know might be too loyal to your brand or your competitor. A good mix will give you better estimation and reliable data.
- Sampling Methods – With the excessive use of the internet and the variety of options available when it comes to customer touchpoints, the traditional survey means have taken a backseat. After you define your population or sample, the next step is to choose the right sampling method. This decision is based on your selected sample, your brand personality and ease of access.
- Survey Questions – The next step is to determine what information you want. Asking the right questions is a very important step. You do not want to bog down your respondents with unnecessary questions that they might find either intrusive or boring. The key here is to keep it short, simple and precise. Ask few but appropriate questions which will keep the audience interested and ensure a high participation rate.
- Offering Explanation – In the world of privacy regulations and GDPR compliances, it is important to take consent and let your respondents know the reason for the collection of data. Since filling up a survey form is a voluntary process, official consent is not required, however, it is a good practice to let your respondents know why you are conducting the survey in the first place. It will help you generate relevant responses.
- Beta Testing – Beta testing can save you time, money and resources. Do a dry run before launching your survey to understand how it is being received. Beta testing will also point out flaws or glitches which you could improvise to design a better and more efficient survey system.
- Collect and Analyze Data – After you have officially launched your survey, begins the most important step which is data accumulation. It is imperative that you have a solid system for data collection and analysis. Analyzing data is a tedious task and needs professional intervention.
One of the biggest challenges you might face while collecting data through surveys is non-participation. The average survey response rate, as of 2020 is 33%. The problem is that respondents lack motivation. A great way to increase the participation rate is by incentivizing respondents for their time and efforts. Even a small incentive can act as a great motivator. It also increases the referral rate through word-of-mouth publicity. Annex Cloud’s dynamic Rewards and Incentive Engine can help you design a suitable strategy that ensures a high participation rate and helps you generate valuable data. To learn more, click here.