Surveys are not one-size-fits-all solutions for every industry. Sure, they can benefit all different types of businesses. But that doesn’t mean they should be used in the exact same way across different industries.
Instead of just using basic questions like, “Are you satisfied with your purchase?” why not consider tailoring survey questions for your industry? Doing this will give you a better idea of your customers’ actual opinions and satisfaction rates. Here are a few tips to better tailor your survey questions to your particular industry.
Tailor Questions to Your Audience’s Experience
The first step in writing an effective survey is to consider your audience. That means you have to think about all the different aspects of your business that your customers experience. If you run a retail store, that means your customers probably have to hear about your store, arrive at the location, consider what to buy, make a purchase, then use the product. If you run a restaurant, that experience is different. And it’s even more different for businesses that sell products or services to other businesses.
So when crafting a survey, you should make sure that your questions cover that entire experience, or as much of it as possible. With a retail store, that should include things like the visual elements of your store and if they enjoyed the product once they left. But if you run an online business, you wouldn’t ask about the visuals at your location. Instead, you’d be better off asking about your website layout and the online checkout process.
Prioritize What You Want to Know
Throughout the course of running your business, you’ll undoubtedly want to ask your customers many different things. That means you’ll probably run many different types of surveys. But whether you’re crafting a general customer satisfaction survey or a survey about an upcoming product launch, you’ll need to prioritize the information you want to get.
For example, if you’re running an annual customer satisfaction survey, you’ll have to think about the most important aspects of the customer experience. If you’re in the tech industry, this might mean you want to make sure that your product is easy to understand and use. If you’re in the restaurant industry, you likely care more about the quality of your food and the customer’s experience in your restaurant. You can’t expect your customers to answer hundreds of questions, so focus on these important aspects more than others.
Choose a Format That Fits With Your Needs
Once you’ve considered your audience and the information you want to obtain, you need to choose a format that will help you meet those needs. The goal should be to keep the survey as simple as possible while still allowing you to get that necessary information.
For example, a retail store could include statements like, “Merchandise sold has good value,” and “Merchandise displays are attractive.” Then include options ranging from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree.” This allows you to cover a large variety of topics in a relatively simple format so your respondents aren’t overwhelmed. However, if you’re an app creator and you want to dig deeper into people’s habits on their mobile devices, then you should use a few different question formats in your survey. You could include some multiple choice questions about how often people use your app compared to other apps. And mix those with a few other questions to gauge their satisfaction with your service.
Be as Specific as Possible
While crafting each individual question, you should also try to be as specific as possible without overwhelming people with information. For example, instead of asking, “Were you satisfied with the service you received?” you should ask something like, “Were the employees easily accessible if you had questions?” You can even turn a general question like that into a few different questions.
When customers are thinking back on their experience with your company, they’re not going to remember every single detail. So if you want to know something specific, you have to word it in a way that jogs their memory. If you’re curious about the service at your retail location, asking about something like employee accessibility will get you better results than a really general question.
For an online business that also wants to gauge satisfaction with customer service, those questions should be specific to other areas. You could include questions like, “Did you find customer service contact information easily on our website?” Or “Did customer service reps respond to your inquiry quickly?” These questions will only work for certain types of businesses. But they will definitely get you more valuable feedback than simply asking, “Were you satisfied with the service you received?”
If you’re just getting started with gathering feedback, a number of survey templates are available – including some special ‘smallbiz feedback guides’ that are customized for specific industries. You can check them out here.
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