The old adage, A failure to plan is a plan to fail, is certainly true. But I’d like to propose a corollary to this: A plan based entirely on hunches, guesses and gut feelings will not be as successful as one based on facts. For businesses, one of the ways to gather these facts is through well-designed and well-executed surveys. Surveys can give you tremendous insight, and this insight can transform your decision making process. If you have important decisions to make, here are five types of surveys that can help:
- Customer Satisfaction Surveys – Customer satisfaction surveys are not just a means for backing up “99% customer satisfaction rate” claims. What if you suspect your customers are not satisfied, and you need to determine why? Customer satisfaction surveys can identify the problem areas. What if things are going well? Customer satisfaction surveys can help you determine exactly what your customers feel you’re doing right; this information can inform your branding, messaging, customer service policies and other plans.
- Pricing Surveys – Planning to introduce a new product or service? A pricing survey can be help you determine the appropriate price point. Pricing surveys can also help you decide if your existing offerings are priced correctly. For example, through the use of a pricing survey a manufacturer that is considering lowering their prices may discover that they should actually be raising their prices instead.
- Product Surveys – Before you embark on any costly R&D efforts, it can be extremely helpful to find out what features and functionality potential customers actually want, and which of these “wish list” items are most important to them.
- Service Surveys – Service surveys can be invaluable for (a) monitoring the success of your customer service staff and (b) designing training programs to improve your company’s customer service. Service surveys are especially important for organizations such as appliance repair firms that send their service personnel out into the field.
- Industry Surveys – Wouldn’t you love to get a “sneak peek” into the thinking of other organizations in your industry? By engaging a third party such as MacKenzie Corporation, you can conduct “blind” surveys of industry participants and/or their customers. For example, you can survey people who purchased your competitor’s product to find out why they didn’t buy yours.