Improve Your Business with an Online Survey

Information is one of the most powerful assets that a business owner has.  The more you know about your customers and their needs and wants, the better equipped you are to serve them, and keep them loyal to your company.  One of the best ways to gather information is by running regular online surveys.

Persuading your customers to fill out surveys can be difficult.  Taking a business survey isn’t exactly the way that most people dream of spending their time, but if you provide a good enough incentive, most people would be willing to spend a couple of minutes providing you with the feedback you need.

To set up a good survey, you will need to work with your web systems development team.  Ask them to create a short, easy to use survey, and some form of advertisement that is noticeable, but not intrusive.  You want to entice your customers to click on the survey, not drive them away.

Designing Quality Surveys

There’s not much point in making your web systems development team invest time and effort into putting together a survey if the survey does not give you the information that you need.  Before you put together a business survey, consider the following points:

  • What do you want to learn through conducting this survey?
  • Why are you running this survey?
  • How will the information you gather be used?

A good survey is one that produces information that can be easily analyzed.  Asking people to write paragraphs of information about what they think of your company might make for interesting reading, but it is hard to summarize all of the feedback you get into easily understandable data.

Instead of asking your customers “What do you dislike about our product?”, offer questions that have simple yes or no answers, or answers that fit into simple bullet points – for example, ask your users to rate a list of attributes (price, size, performance, extra features) from most important to least important.  This way, you’ll be able to tell at-a-glance what your users think is important.

Keeping People Interested

If your business survey is too long, difficult to read, or slow to load, then you may lose people before they complete the entire survey.  Get your web systems development team to test the survey to make sure that it works in all of the main browsers, and that it’s easy to answer questions, move to the next page, and generally interact with the survey.  Try to keep the survey short and simple.  If you have dozens of questions per page, people may lose interest.

Picking the Right Audience

There are several ways to attract people to take part in your survey.  The most valuable feedback will come from your existing customers.  Invite them to take part in the survey by including a link in your regular email newsletter, or by promoting the survey on order pages on your website.  If you need even more participants, you could promote the survey on your home page, but try to make sure that you don’t annoy people by pushing the survey with pop-ups every time they load a new page. Discrete advertisements are best.

About the Author: This post was written by James Harper on behalf of business survey and web systems development experts Xibis.