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Surveys: The Swiss Army Knife of Feedback

different types of surveys

You probably already know that surveys can be beneficial to your business. But did you know that there are different types of surveys you can use to gather useful data?

The type of survey you need will depend on the type of data your business wants to collect and from whom. Below are several your business can use to feed business strategy and direction.

Different Types of Surveys

Specific Topic Survey

You’ll use this type of survey when you want to collect information about a singular component of your business. For instance, if you are exploring the possibility of adding a new product to your line, you could ask customers what they think of some of its features. Or if you’ve noticed an increased amount of customer complaints, you could run a survey only about customer service to find out if there are any underlying issues.

These surveys should be short and super-focused. Decide what it is you really need to know about this single aspect of your business and get to the point as quickly as possible. You can send the survey out to some of your existing customers or to the target market of your potential offering, depending on the objective of the survey.

Periodic Satisfaction Survey

Even if your business isn’t considering adding a new product and hasn’t identified any major customer service issues, you still can – and should – use surveys regularly. Your business should conduct basic surveys periodically to measure customer satisfaction [1]. The actual frequency and length of your survey will depend on your type of business, your customer or client base, and how you want to use the results (immediate feedback versus making adjustments every few months).

The purpose of these surveys is to regularly measure your customer satisfaction over time. You should ask your customers about their overall satisfaction with your company along with a few more specific aspects of your business, such as product value and customer service. Choose the aspects that you feel are most important to your business, or, if you have identified key objectives or key performance indicators, use those to direct your survey questions. With these results, you’ll be able to measure satisfaction over time by comparing with the results of past surveys.

Point-of-Sale Satisfaction Survey

You can also measure satisfaction in a more immediate sense. After a purchase or transaction, you can contact customers to find out how the experience went for them. To employ this survey type, you should contact the customer via email, phone or mail, depending on how they made their purchase. In most cases, you should do so within a few days to a week of when they received their order or completed the transaction.

These surveys won’t necessarily focus on overall customer satisfaction [2] like typical overall satisfaction surveys. Instead, questions should be more focused on the transaction experience. For example, you can ask how they would rate their experience overall, how satisfied they were with shipping time, and if they found your ordering process straightforward.

Employee Survey

Surveys don’t have to just focus on your customers. Your employees are an integral part of your business, so their voices need to be heard as well. Reach out to your employees to find out if they’re satisfied and if they have any suggestions to improve efficiency or morale. This type of survey should happen on a regular basis.

With employee surveys, you should try to find out some specifics, like asking how effective their team’s communication system is. But also leave a space for them to add their own comments and suggestions for improvement.

As with any type of survey, it’s important to review the information and act on it if necessary. Research from a recent Officevibe infographic reveals [3] that four out of five employees believe their manager won’t act on any issues that come up in their surveys.

If employees, and customers for that matter, don’t believe their input matters, they’re less likely to take your next survey. So decide what type of survey is likely to get you the most useful information, make plans to implement it and be sure to follow-up with responses and take action on necessary changes.

If you want to engage with your shoppers in the moments before, during and after making a purchase in your store, check out, “Hyperlocal Research Made Easy [4]” for details.

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Knife [5] Photo via Shutterstock