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When and why to use consumer surveys

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If you’ve thought about a consumer survey in the past, now may be the right time to create and distribute one. These surveys can offer valuable insight into the minds of your customer base, and help you expand your business and improve the customer’s overall experience. Keeping the customer happy means that profits stay high and customers stay loyal. But when should you utilize customer surveys, and why? Read on to learn more.

Why do I need a survey?

No matter what type of business entity you are, your very survival depends on the loyalty of your customers. You don’t just want a customer to utilize your services or products once; you want to make returning customers out of them. Customers who will recommend your brand to family and friends, and even provide some level of advertising when they discuss your brand is a positive light. That’s where consumer surveys come in.

A survey can offer several benefits for your business:

  • Demographic-specific information relating your product or service
  • Information on positive or negative trends regarding your brand
  • Insight on customer preferences and complaints
  • Areas where your brand performs well
  • Information on whether or not your marketing campaign(s) are effective
  • Information on where you stand in relation to your competition

This information can be extremely valuable when planning a marketing strategy or trying to find ways to improve your brand. Consumer surveys give you a direct link to how your customers think.

There are dozens of consumer survey services you can use, though certain services offer more accuracy and information than others. Google Consumer Surveys, for example, only offers the most basic information in a simple interface.

Other alternatives for Google consumer surveys include websites such as Pollfish, which offers a more in depth analysis of consumer insights and a customizable interface. Choosing the service you’ll use depends on your needs. Consider the following when choosing the right service:

  • What type of survey do I need?
  • How many people do I want my survey to reach?
  • What demographics am I focusing on?
  • What locations do I want my survey to be present in?

Synthesizing the information into useful insight for your brand requires the right tools for the job, and you should always choose your services carefully. They too are a business, and have a certain reputation and level of service that you should consider beforehand.

When is the best time to use  a consumer survey?

Consumer surveys can prove to be a goldmine of information when utilized effectively, or a massive disaster when used carelessly. There are times when a survey is appropriate and times when they are not.

Perhaps one of the best times to send a consumer survey to a customer is immediately following interaction with your company. If a customer just made a purchase, signed a contract, or you’ve completed service for them, it’s probably a good time to send a survey while the experience is still fresh. Sending a consumer survey when Mr. John Q. Customer is watching the game at home probably won’t generate the information you’re looking for; in fact, he’s more likely to skip the email altogether.

Additionally, an unsatisfied customer who completes a survey immediately after their interaction can provide you with the tools to fix the problem, and quick. You may even be able to reach out to the customer and provide reconciliation for their issue, thus potentially saving a business relationship before it deteriorates.

Another great time to survey your customers is right after a big change to the company or brand. Not all customers will be keen on changes, and some may even feel the need to discontinue their loyalty should the changes prove too much. A survey will let you know how your customers feel about the changes, what they like and dislike, what they’d like to be different or kept the same.

While change often means growth and is generally positive, you must remember that you’re there to serve your customers. If your entire customer base is unhappy with your changes, you may have a bigger problem on hand.

When you have loyal customers who discontinue their patronage, a survey can provide valuable insight into what went wrong. Was it the customer service, a change in the company, a product malfunction? Understanding why the customer left in the first place can help you prevent future disengagement.

When NOT to use consumer surveys

There are times when a survey is inappropriate or unnecessary, as well. If you’ve just surveyed your customer about a certain aspect of your brand or there experience with it, following up with another survey about changes within the company is probably no the best idea. Your customer could feel overwhelmed and potentially irritated by the bombardment of emails and links asking them to complete surveys. A customer’s time is precious, and completing a survey takes up some of that invaluable resource. Try to keep your surveys decently spaced apart and relevant to the customer’s experience.

Only ask customers for the information you need. A long, drawn-out survey about every aspect of your business or product is likely to be incomplete and cause survey fatigue among your customers. This means that responses are less accurate and less frequently submitted. Survey smartly, at the appropriate times, and for the appropriate reasons to make the most out of it.

Conclusion

Whether you’re a small business or a mega-corporation, knowing your customer’s mind is the ultimate key to driving sales and business growth. When you know what the customer wants, you can better tailor your business to provide it. It’s that simple.

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