For many organisations the term “customer survey” is associated with quality assurance and customer satisfaction processes, which are important but something of a chore. But your customers are a key source of information about your business and can help you to determine where the best opportunities for growth lie. What can you get from surveys? The most fundamental question that a survey can answer is ‘What do your customers think about you?’, but a survey can tell you a lot more. Do you know what share of your customer’s spend you are getting and what opportunities there are to increase it? If you set up your survey correctly it can give customers an opportunity to tell you what else they would like to buy from you or what changes they would like to see in the services you offer – new sales opportunities right on your door step. Surveys can also help you in a number of other ways such as understanding the effectiveness of different marketing messages and campaigns. What kind of survey? Telephone or postal surveys were the standard approach until quite recently but postal surveys are rarely used these days. Telephone surveys mean that you can target specific individuals but in a world of voice-mail they rely on your ability to get through to customers. More recently, online surveys have become increasingly popular because they allow respondents to submit their responses at a time convenient to them with minimal effort required. Online surveys give you the flexibility to target specific groups of customers, choose different question sets and chose the frequency you ask the questions. In-house or outsource If you have the skills in-house to develop your survey questionnaire and to analyse the results then there may be no reason to call in external help. However, there are good reasons to consider bringing in external expertise: Customers are more likely to participate in a survey and give more accurate answers, when they are not responding directly to you. Developing an effective survey questionnaire is not as easy as it sounds and you may need assistance in asking the right questions in the right way and in the right order. Applying an external perspective to the analysis of the results can provide new insights which may be otherwise missed. A survey partner with business experience will create a practical action plan that you have the resources to implement and which has the potential to deliver clear benefits. About the author This article was written by John Savage, Director of 4sight Business Development Limited, a strategic marketing consultancy which specialises in customer surveys for B2B organisations. For more information visit www.4sightsurveys.co.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For many organisations the term customer survey is associated with quality assurance and customer satisfaction processes, which are important but something of a chore. But your customers are a key source of information about your business and can help you to determine where the best opportunities for growth lie.