The Survey Says3 Aug, 2015
Online surveys offer a reliable and science-based way to measure customer perceptions about your service and product selection:
According to results of a study conducted by the independent market research firm Dimensional Research, customer service is the leading factor driving customer satisfaction and loyalty. To successfully make customer service a companywide top priority, a business owner must objectively evaluate strategic and tactical decisions from the customer’s perspective. Today’s most popular and cost-efficient way to conduct this research is through an online survey, an approach that allows businesses to collect data that lines up with customer interests and positively impacts your business.
Essendant, the leading supplier of workplace essentials previously known as United Stationers and Azerty, has assembled the following tips for making your survey successful and ensuring you get actionable results.
In-line with online preferences
The online survey is the public’s preference. According to Survey Monkey, one of several online platforms for do-it-yourselfers seeking a free, albeit limited survey resource, 91 percent of people prefer answering surveys online versus responding to surveys on the phone or via mail.
To help independent resellers tap into this key resource, Essendant created Ask!, a complete marketing research service that provides a wide range of survey options to support smaller businesses with limited budgets as well as larger businesses looking to outsource the entire survey process. Ask! projects include survey software, question development, data analysis, and a final survey report from the aggregated responses.
Measuring the options
The starting point for every customer survey, whether executing the survey yourself or enlisting assistance from an external vendor, is deciding what you want to measure, says Andre Brown, Marketing Analyst, Essendant.
Relationship surveys, most common in the B2B world, measure broader topics, such as customer satisfaction and loyalty, customer perception of your business, and growth opportunities. A relationship survey is best conducted at least annually.
Transactional surveys, on the other hand, key into single business transactions and are a good way to gather feedback while an interaction is fresh in the customer’s mind. For example, an automatic transactional survey might go to every customer who completes an online order, asking the purchaser to rate the website’s navigation, search capabilities, and checkout process.
To achieve optimal response rates and meaningful data analyses, resellers need to consider three key points when designing and conducting a survey.
1. Have a well-defined objective. A clear objective, such as measuring customer satisfaction, drives well-framed survey questions and subsequent data that points to distinct actions.
2. Develop qualitative and quantitative questions that produce hard data rather than anecdotal stories. Use questions that are formatted as yes/no, multiple choice, and ratings. Avoid using a lot of open-ended questions asking the respondent to comment.
3. Analyze and act. Survey analyses can range from simple charts and graphs to cross tabulations and complex reports. Regardless of the analytic method chosen, some sort of evaluation is vital. “You have to boil down the data to identify specific actions so you can move forward with improvements, which is ultimately the point of any survey,” Brown says.
Online surveys measure customer satisfaction—or dissatisfaction—with your products and service. While this type of research means investing time and resources, the effort enables independent resellers to stay in tune with their customers’ changing needs and preferences.
To view the full version of this article please visit OfficeLine and for additional information about online surveys, from DIY best practices to partnering with Essendant’s Ask! Team, Email MyConcierge@essendant.com.