The ABC’s of Client Surveys for Small Business

The ABC’s of Client Surveys for Small Business

With the low cost of developing and delivering surveys through companies such as Survey Monkey, Survey Gizmo, Question Pro, and others, small business owners and solo-preneurs can now have access to market research options that used to be only affordable for larger organizations.

Surveys can be used by anyone to get feedback about needed workplace improvements, client preferences, how your business is perceived, and just about anything else that can affect the success of a business.  Follow these steps to make the most of your survey marketing tools:

Start with the end in mind.  Before brainstorming a list of questions to ask, think about what kind of information you are looking for.  Working backwards helps address questions more directly, provides more focus, and helps minimize time-wasting questions.

Prepare questions.  Only ask the minimum number of questions required to gain the information sought.  Word the questions so that there is no confusion about how they should be answered.  Ensure that they are unbiased and that they are not leading someone to a desired conclusion.  This will only result in unreliable data.

Closed and Open Ended Questions. Depending on the information you are seeking, closed-ended questions (e.g. yes/no questions), such as, “Does your organization struggle to retain high-performing employees?” may be appropriate.  Even multiple choice can be used (e.g. “On a scale of 5, how would you rate …). But, although they are more difficult to tabulate, open ended questions, such as, “What are the most challenging human resources problems you are facing today?” provide insights into client needs that have much greater value to your decision-making process.  They also satisfy the respondent’s need to express themselves. Organize the questions into a logical order and select your delivery method (e.g. Survey Monkey).

Decide who will receive the survey.  Depending on the information being sought, some target markets may be more appropriate than others.  Testing a small market with the survey could provide information about improving the survey prior to sending it out to a larger audience.

Analyze and implement.  Once the data is received, look for patterns in the answers. Don’t put too much emphasis on the outliers, but look for commonalities.

Once the data has been analyzed, take action toward implementing items that are most likely to improve the condition of your business.  Don’t let all of that hard work in developing and delivering the survey go to waste. Then announce the “new, improved” strategy as a marketing strategy to attract more clients, better employees and the kind of connections to make you want to grow your business.


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