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How to Use Surveys to Drive Success in Your Small Business


Jeffrey Bumbales

Surveys are one of the most reliable ways to get real feedback from your customers. In the pre-internet era, running a survey was quite expensive and time-consuming, which meant not all companies could afford to use them.

Today, in the middle of the digital era, we have diverse software and communication technologies that allow business owners to conduct surveys with minimum expense yet maximum efficiency.  

What opportunities can surveys bring to your business?

Measuring customer sentiment.

Customer satisfaction surveys are aimed to find out your clients’ opinions about the quality of the customer service you provide, the level of your employees’ professionalism, and your company’s overall policies and strategies. The more feedback you get, the more complete a picture you’ll have of the current state of your customer experience.

Collecting information about your product/service.

Rarely will you know what your customers don’t like about your product/service until you see their angry posts on review platforms. Take the time to prepare a quick survey to ask your customers about the quality or your product/service and their satisfaction level. You will not only see what improvements to implement but also show your clients you care about their opinion.

Getting fresh ideas.

Conducting customer surveys allows you to see your business from a fresh point of view. This a good way to find out what your customers want the most. For example, if you are going to add some improvements to your product/service, asking your customers about these upcoming updates will give you the understanding of whether these changes are exactly what consumers need. There is a chance they are hoping for something completely different.

Keeping your customers.

Constant communication with customers and attentiveness to their feedback and suggestions will demonstrate that you are a caring business owner. It’s very important to show your clients they are much more than a source of revenue to you.

What Are the Three Main Ways to Survey Customers?

Depending on what your goal is, you should choose one of the following kinds of surveys:

  1. Market analysis should be launched when you need to find out the needs of the people you’re selling to.
  2. Performance tracking is a good method to use if you need to know the effectiveness of your sales policies, support, delivery, etc.
  3. Customer follow-up is usually used right after a customer makes a purchase. This can be an email or a phone call. The goal is to thank the customer and ask for their opinion about the service they received.

You can mix all these strategies to get as much diverse information as possible.

How to Conduct a Survey in 5 Easy Steps

So now that you know how important surveys are, you can get started with conducting your own survey. Here’s a step-by-step guide so you don’t miss anything.

Step 1. Define your goals

Before you start with the survey, you need to have a clear understanding of what information would be helpful to your business. Do you need opinions on your products or services? Do you want to get feedback on your customer support experience? Is your survey general or would it be more helpful if it was targeted at a specific segment of your customer base?

Step 2. Make a list of questions

There are lots of different questions that can be used in a survey: open and closed questions, questions with single or multiple responses and many more. Most people prefer taking multiple-choice surveys as they are quick and easy. Please note that the language in your survey should be simple. Don’t make your respondents think or write too much.

Make sure your survey questions and possible responses are detailed, yet concise enough to ensure that respondents fully understand the target concept. If you are unsure about the quality of your survey and questions, send out a test survey to a small batch of respondents before passing it on to your full recipient list.

Step 3. Invite the respondents

There are many ways to invite people to participate in your survey. To get more people involved, the survey can be promoted through social media, email, or SMS. The more channels you use to send out invitations, the better.

Step 4. Track your response rate

Collecting survey responses can be a real challenge. Keep an eye on your response rate, and work on an action plan in case you need to generate more responses. To improve your response rate, you can offer a gift or a discount for your products/services to motivate people to answer your questions.

Step 5. Analyze the results

Once you have all the responses, you need to analyze them to understand whether you achieved your goals and got answers to all the questions you wanted. Once you have a full set of data in front of you, create a report and dig in to find trends in the responses.   

Which Survey Tools are Best to Use?

Any survey must be well-designed and easy-to-use so that your customers are actually willing to take it. If your survey is boring, contains tons of long questions, and requires customers to spend a lot of time, the response rate will likely be very low. We have prepared a short list of the most popular and effective survey tools for you to consider.

  • Survey Monkey is probably the most commonly used tool. It’s very simple, easy-to-use, and the free plan allows you to collect 100 responses per survey.
  • Survey Gizmo can be tailored to your business needs. It does require monthly fees but does not limit you to the number of responses.
  • Google Forms is a simple survey tool that is a perfect solution for those who have a Google account. Google Forms offers privacy settings and Google Sheets synchronization. If you need to create a basic survey form, this is a good tool to use as it has everything you may need: multiselect, multiple choice, and open-format answer options.
  • PollDaddy is a WordPress product that offers a wide range of features (ratings, quizzes, polls, etc.). If your surveys have up to 10 questions and require no more than 200 answers per month, PollDaddy is free.
  • Survs is a free source that allows you to run an unlimited number of surveys per month. Each survey should have not more than 10 questions and receive up to 200 answers. Although the free version of the program has feature limits (for example, you can’t add images to the surveys), it’s still very useful. If you need to conduct quick and short surveys, Survs is a good tool to consider.

Consumer surveys are a valuable tool for any kind of business, especially for small and medium-sized companies. Despite their simplicity, surveys are one of the most reliable sources of information, and a great way to find out what your customers like and dislike, what they want and need. Collecting feedback through surveys will help you to take the pulse of your customers and make sure your processes are working properly and your clients are satisfied.

Olga MykhoparkinaAuthor Bio: Olga Mykhoparkina is a Chief Marketing Officer at Chanty a simple AI-powered business messenger and a single notification center. This powerful and free Slack alternative is aimed to increase team productivity and improve communication at work. Having a 9-year experience in digital marketing field, Olga is responsible for Chanty’s online presence strategy, managing an amazing team of marketing experts and getting things done to change the way teams communicate and collaborate. Follow Olga on Twitter or feel free to connect on LinkedIn.