A survey is an investigation about the characteristics of a given population by means of collecting data from a sample of that population and estimating their characteristics through the systematic use of statistical methodology. Commercial companies and enterprises use it to gain a deeper understanding of their tastes and opinions. Collecting data for market research is a detailed process. In this process, the concerned authorities conduct a planned search for all relevant data. The success of marketing depends on the integrity and relevance of the data collected. It should be authentic and from the right audience to avail maximum benefits. To a high degree, the quality of the data depends on the methods of data collection used by the management. There are two types of data:
  1. Primary Data,which is collected first hand by the researcher and thus is original data. This data is specifically collected for the purpose of study and research. It addresses the current problem encountered by the customers or the company itself.
  2. Secondary Data is collected from other sources that has been already collected and is readily available. This data is less expensive and can be attained quickly from various published sources. Sometimes, the authorities fail to collect primary data, in those times secondary data is extremely useful.
The management usually has a dilemma pertaining to selecting the method for collecting primary data. The method has to be relevant and appropriate. This is also the most important decision prior to beginning market research.

Benefits of conducting Surveys

  • Surveys can be relatively inexpensive since they are easy to use, reuse and correct after creation.
  • Surveys are useful in describing characteristics of a large population, thus they have a broad reach.
  • It constantly reminds the business owner that they  should regularly check upon their customers.
  • They can also use the customer feedback captured from surveys for efficient marketing and to improve their business.  They can also use the results to improve customer service and customer experience.
  • It is highly flexible and the management can change it to meet  the needs of the target audience.
  • Surveys are usually filled anonymously therefore data collected is reliable. Such surveys have more honest and unambiguous responses.
  • Survey results are easy to use in marketing after analyses.

Cons

  • Survey fatigue – Surveys are so easy to create, and so easy to send, that the management ends up sending too many surveys and answering them gets tiring. As a result, response rates decline over time.

Methods of collecting Customer Data

1. Online Surveys and Questionnaires

Owing to the current technological developments, the use of online surveys has rapidly increased. It is also one of the least expensive means to reach out the maximum number of people. After designing an online survey, the company can easily store, revise and reuse them from time to time. It can also do the same with the data collected after analyzing the survey results. The response time is also quick for online surveys so it has become the preferred method of data collection for many consumer satisfaction surveys and product and service feedback. It is easy to track respondents, non-respondents through the data collection process. The authorities can also send electronic reminders easily at a very low cost. Respondents have the option to begin the survey, stop, save the responses at a later more convenient time as well.

2. In-person Interviews

Getting information in person is one of the most personal approach and most effective way of gaining trust and cooperation from the respondent. It is also one of the most flexible ways to gather data from the respondents while capturing their non-verbal responses as well. It is especially useful to detect discomfort when respondents are discussing sensitive issues. Respondents have more time to consider their answers and the interviewer can gain a deeper understanding of the validity of a response. It is also easier to maintain their interest and focus for a longer period.

3. Mail Surveys

Companies can reach more people through mailed paper surveys. Mailed questionnaires give people time to think about their responses and to use resources at home or at work when responding. On the downside, up to date mailing lists may be difficult to come by and postage can be expensive. There is no chance to ask probing questions or clarify information.

4. E-mail surveys

The administrators of survey can send surveys via emails of the anticipated respondents. They can even track if respondents have taken the survey, and send reminders to those who haven’t responded. Net Promoter Score or other indices on Likert Scale are the best kind of surveys to be sent via e mails.

5. Website

The authorities can embed a survey on their website, or display it in a popup window when visitors arrive at their site. Through this method, they can collect data from customers who regularly visit the company website. They don’t need to spend extra money on finding targeted audience.

6. Targeted Audience

To get responses from a specific group, companies have started reaching out to a specific set of population. Such a method is great for companies who don’t want generic responses.

 7. Social media

From a Twitter account or on Facebook, the social media manager or any other employee of the management department can publicly post a link to the survey. Such social media platforms have also started using online polls that anyone can create. This is also a viable option to get responses from a closed set of customers.

8. Telephone Interviews

The biggest advantage of telephone interviews is that the administrators of the interview can save a lot of cost and time. It is also much easier because almost everyone has a cell phone now a days. Another advantage is fewer interviewers are required in order to conduct telephone interviews than face-to-face interviews.

Tips and Precautions

Survey data is typically captured in a database so that the authorities conducting it can later retrieve and analyse it. The questions must range from structured questions such as simple polls (yes / no), multiple choice, rating and ranking, to unstructured ones like open-ended free-response questions. Well-constructed surveys are among the most scalable ways to gather structured customer feedback.
  • The survey should not be too long. It should have between one and ten questions.
  • Administering customer pulse survey once a week or once in two weeks will suffice. On the other hand a half yearly or quarterly overall satisfaction survey should supplement the former.
  • The administrators of the surveys must target people who are already familiar with their brand. This will result in better response rate. Some studies reveal its success rates can be as high as 65%.
  • Use targeted media like newsletters, personal emails, or point-of-sale reminders to spread the word to your customers.
  • Any company should not cease to administer surveys after implementing these changes once. This activity has to be recurring in nature in order to achieve structured growth.
  • The authorities should make sure that both themselves and their clients have an easy access to customer feedback.

Posted in Analytics, Customer Feedback, Customer Satisfaction, Surveys, Uncategorized

Tagged customer data collection, customer experience, customer feedback, customer pulse survey, customer satisfaction, customer survey, data collection