“Thus we may say that if you know yourself and you know your enemy, you will gain victory 100 times out of 100. If you know yourself but you do not know your enemy you will meet one defeat for every victory. If you neither know yourself nor your enemy, you will never be victorious.” – Sun Tzu
A well planned strategy is necessary to win the battle in attracting and retaining customers, and win the war in strengthening your position in competitive markets.
What is the foundation and the starting point of all good strategy? The answer is simple – research!
Research enables you to collect information that clearly defines the direction of your business to establish a structure to build strategies upon.
Successful businesses are good at keeping a close eye on the strategies of their competitors. They are equally as good at turning the microscope on themselves to identify specific areas that confirm their excellence and progress, as well as target areas for ongoing improvement and development.
To identify areas of improvements survey research usually includes one or more of the following:
- Sentiment surveys and feedback from staff members – How happy are your staff? and do they plan on staying employed with you in the long term?
- Customer satisfaction surveys – what do customers think about your company? and how do you compare to competitors?
- Exit surveys from customers – why are your customers leaving
- Net promoter score surveys – how loyal and satisfied are your customers
- Customer service feedback surveys – what was your customer’s experience with your team?
- Branding and brand identity surveys – Does your target market know you exist?
- Product feedback surveys – Is your product addressing your customer’s needs and meeting expectations?
Uncovering meaningful insights
Although it is agreed, decision-making based on research is considered a wise move, it is important to note that it can also be costly, when data is flawed. Many bad business decisions have been made, based on skewed survey results.
Before you start on a research project, read our tips on how to create sentiment surveys that uncover meaningful insights:
1. Define the surveys purpose
If you are conducting a survey for your business you will have a good idea of the survey’s objective. However, it is important to take this a step further and ensure that your survey’s purpose is clearly defined. This process will help determine survey length, the types of questions you ask, the format in which questions are presented and the type of reporting you desire once the survey closes.
2. Make your objectives clear
Once your survey’s purpose has been defined, it is critical your customers see and sense your survey’s purpose. When your customers understand your purpose, they will be more inclined to see the survey process as worthwhile, increasing response rates.
Let them know that this is their opportunity to make a difference by providing valuable feedback and ideas. That their opinion is important and will help direct changes and improvements.
3. Brand your survey
In today’s permission and privacy driven world, customers are naturally suspicious. Therefore, it is guaranteed they will be suspicious if your survey is not branded. If a customer cannot make the link between your business and the survey they won’t engage, it is that simple.
Where possible, contact your customers via your usual channel of communication a week before the survey is launched so they feel comfortable completing the survey. Then brand your survey with your logo and have it endorsed by the School Principal, General Practitioner or Director/Owner of the business.
4. Make your survey user friendly
Customers are doing you a service when they complete your survey and not the other way around – so make it easy for them.
Your survey should be mobile responsive and optimised for desktop and tablet. This gives your customers the freedom to fill out your survey whether they are waiting in the doctor’s office or sitting in front of their desktop in the comfort of their own home. If your survey is within reach at all times, the chances of it being completed increases significantly.
5. Personalise it
Everyone enjoys the personal touch, and this is no less true when it comes to online interactions.
Research has shown that personalisation of e-mailed survey invites lifts response rates as opposed to the ‘Dear valued client’ approach and makes respondents less likely to drop off before completing all the survey questions.
6. Ask the right questions
Asking the right questions in the right way is key if you want meaningful survey results.
Below are question types to avoid when creating your survey:
a. Leading questions
A leading question encourages the answer that is wanted. To ensure that a question is not leading it should contain neutral wording. For example:
How large is the store?
60-65% of all people are visual thinkers so the word large immediately generates an image in the mind of the respondent and is considered leading.
A better way of asking the question would be:
How would you describe the size of the store?
This is neutral sounding and eliminates the leading bias.
b. Loaded questions
A loaded question contains an assumption within it without giving the respondent a chance to elaborate on their answer. For example:
Where do you smoke your cigarettes?
What if the respondent doesn’t smoke cigarettes? By answering the question they are stating that they smoke cigarettes, however they may never have smoked a cigarette, therefore can’t give an accurate answer.
If a question like in the example above is required, a preliminary question on whether the respondent smokes cigarettes or not should be asked, and skip logic used to jump the question that doesn’t apply to them.
c. Double barrelled questions
A double-barrelled question touches on more than one issue and only allows for one answer. This can confuse the respondent and leave them unable to answer the question honestly. For example:
Does the canteen have a good variety of food and healthy options?
In this case, it would be best in this example to ask two questions:
Does the canteen have a good variety of food?
Does the canteen have healthy options?
d. Speak your respondent’s language
Use uncomplicated language that your customer will understand. Avoid using acronyms, or terms that could confuse the respondents, so that anybody could answer your survey questions without them being misinterpreted. For example:
The school provides a good range of opportunities to demonstrate its special Christian character
A better question would include an example for the question:
The school provides a good range of opportunities to demonstrate its special Christian character (e.g. chapels, community service, prayer and worships)
Conducting surveys can be regarded as an easy project, however it is all too easy to conduct a survey of poor quality rather than one that yields valuable customer insights. Vividus surveys have been professionally developed to facilitate ease of understanding, maximise response rates and cover essential areas for feedback. If you would like help with your next research project contact one of our friendly consultants.