January 26, 2010

Survey Says!


Hostway Team

By Julie Bombacino

Creating Effective Customer Surveys

Seems simple enough, right? You’ve got a question or two or 10 to ask your customer base, so you’ll send out a survey. Then everything will be crystal clear.

Not so fast. If you don’t follow a few basic tenets when creating your survey, you might end up with more questions than answers or, worse, use the data to make bad business decisions.

K.I.S.S., of Course

  • Make sure you are asking the questions that you want answers to—and have the ability to react to—only! There’s no need for filler here. If a question won’t result in some action by your company, then don’t ask it. You don’t want to create unrealistic expectations.
  • Be careful asking open ended questions if you’re sending out the survey to a ton of people. You’ll get a ton of responses that you have to manually read through and try to categorize to make them useful.
  • Use the same ratings scale throughout. The number one shouldn’t be the best for one question and the worst for another.

Delivering the Survey

You’ll get the highest number of responses if the recipients can simply click to answer within the email to send to your company. (In this day and age of PDAs, it’s best to deliver the survey within the body of the email and with a link to answer online, if they so choose.)

Most larger email providers will let you do this. If you’re going to send out the email through a regular account, go with a site like Survey Monkey to create, collect and tabulate the results.

The Results Are In

Whatever the results of your survey, be careful of getting into “analysis paralysis.” The best way to avoid this is to create an informal decision tree before you send out the survey (remember, we’re only asking questions we can act upon!)

About the Author

Julie Bombacino is a Chicago-area independent marketing consultant with over 12 years of marketing experience, specializing in online marketing. Mrs. Bombacino is a graduate of The Ohio State University and earned an MBA in marketing at DePaul University. She can be reached at bombacino@gmail.com.

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