Lately, with 2024 right around the corner, I’ve been having a lot of conversations about developing holistic customer insights and market research strategies. As prospects and clients plan for the New Year, they’re looking to become more effective and efficient with their customer feedback surveys – which I love to see! This is a topic I’m passionate about because it’s a vital aspect of being effectively and efficiently data driven.
However, I often find brands are feeling unsure of where to start with their strategy building. It can seem complicated and confusing, which is why projects like this get put on the backburner. But after more detailed discussions about the primary barriers and challenges, I find many of those brands are actually unsure of which types of feedback to be collecting in the first place. They may have conducted some feedback research in the past but had done so in an ad-hoc fashion with multiple topics addressed in a single survey. That approach tends to produce fragmented and siloed data which creates more questions than answers.
In those cases, I bring the conversation up a few levels. Before diving into strategy development, I find it’s helpful to get back to the basics of which types of feedback surveys might be most useful – both short and long-term. So, here I’d like to do just that by sharing six feedback surveys every brand should be considering today and moving forward. We call these “Jumpstart Surveys” because they lay the foundation for an overarching research strategy and can jumpstart the evolution of your customer feedback efforts.
Survey Topic: “Getting to Know You”
This simple yet powerful survey is all about – you guessed it – getting to know your customers. But the real value is in going beyond the traditional factors, like demographics, purchase behaviors, and product or service needs. Rather, focus on getting to know the person behind the purchase. What are their day-to-day wants, needs, goals, and challenges outside of anything related to your brand? What do they do for fun, how have their lifestyles changed over the past few years, and what makes them unique as individuals?
This type of survey is relevant for both new and existing customers alike. It will help strengthen your customer personas and journey maps. And the simple act of asking people to share about themselves will strengthen relationships as well.
Survey Topic: Brand Awareness & Perception
This tried-and-true survey topic is often overlooked because its potential is often over-simplified. It’s more than asking whether people have heard of your brand. While that’s part of it, there’s more to learn with regards to awareness and perception. People may have heard of your brand, but are they aware of all the products and services you offer? Are they aware of your primary value propositions and key differentiators? Are they aware of how you’ve grown and evolved over time, both in terms of brand identity and offerings?
Furthermore, how do they perceive your brand when stacked up against competitors? Does that differ when asking perception in a stand-alone way? Along those lines, does existing perception align with the intended image you’ve been aiming for through marketing campaigns? There are added layers of context and nuance that can turn this traditional survey topic into in-depth learning and brand building opportunities.
Survey Topic: Customer Experience & Satisfaction
This is another common survey topic that often goes underutilized because of its relatively simplistic nature. But there’s more to it than NPS ratings and “out of ten” scores.
Here you can dig into customer expectations and establish benchmarks for performance tracking. Going further, you can explore how those customers’ expectations are set, whether it’s experiences they’ve had with competitor brands, shifting environments and lifestyles, or just based on their ever evolving wants and needs. You can test hypotheses relating to their decision drivers and product or service usage and identify value-add potential. There are opportunities to expand your customer journey maps and gauge the impact of adding or removing touchpoints. With how dynamic and competitive the area of customer experience has become, there is a treasure trove of insight to uncover.
Survey Topic: Marketing Effectiveness
The big question here is, are your marketing and messaging campaigns having the desired impact? While common marketing metrics are suited to measuring reach and engagement, those tend to miss out on the intangible and emotional factors. Regularly conducting surveys focused on marketing effectiveness will add depth and detail to your marketing metrics. It can shed light on specific areas of awareness and perception in ways that passively collected data cannot. When timed right and done consistently, you can assess performance by campaign or a specific content series to gauge impact, influence, and add layers of nuance to ROI tracking.
Survey Topic: Lost Customer
It may be uncomfortable to ask customers why they left, or perhaps it seems like it doesn’t matter since they’re already gone. But this is a significant growth opportunity. Here you can identify key pain points or shortcomings and adjust as needed. You can uncover emerging threats and competitors that may be off your radar. You can shine a light on product or service development opportunities that may have otherwise been missed. And as an added benefit, you’ll be showing lost customers you still care about them, that you want to improve, and that the door is still open for them to return.
Survey Topic: Brand Health Assessment
This is sort of like an expanded version of awareness and perception. It explores things like brand image, reputation, and authenticity within the context of evolving market conditions, shifting environments, and emerging trends. This provides a macro-level view of how your brand is performing across key metrics, but done so within specific contexts, circumstances, and scenarios. It can also be more forward-looking than other survey topics by testing hypotheses and challenging assumptions related to your brand’s competitive positioning. Overall, the goal is to monitor the brand’s heartbeat and vitals as markets shift and consumers evolve.
While this is not an exhaustive list of survey topics and related benefits, it’s meant to help jumpstart your efforts and get the analytical juices flowing. In getting some (or all) of these pieces in place, you’ll be laying the foundation to build a holistic research strategy that maximizes the impact of each individual feedback project while also building in value across each of them.
We’ve put together a free download that highlights these jumpstart surveys at a high level (click here) which can serve as a guide as you plan your next customer feedback projects. If you’d like to discuss or explore the potential of these surveys in more detail, we’d love to hear from you!