How You Can Use Surveys to Enhance Your Company's Data Game

Published August 23, 2015

What's one solid way to collect valuable data from your customers? Ask them with surveys.

Stefan Debois, CEO of Survey Anyplace, recommends using surveys to ask your customers more about their needs. Though, he also recommends not calling them by that term ("surveys") when they're being offered them to potential respondents.

ReachForce recently spoke with Stefan about how you can use surveys to enhance your company's data game.

What pro tips can you offer to make sure survey questions are the right questions - ones that will be effective in getting quality data?

1. Don't use the word "survey" in your intro. Instead, you can say, "We'd like to ask you a couple of questions."

2. Make it conversational. You can easily return some information before asking the next question.

3. Limit the number of questions. After question #5, the respondent has only one goal: reaching the end as quickly as possible.

4. State clearly what you will do with the results and share them if possible. Or use another kind of incentive (like a coupon).

5. Use open questions in addition to multiple choice questions. Follow up with people giving long answers to open questions as they are potential brand ambassadors.

What are some of the most effective ways you've seen B2B marketers use surveys to meet their goals?

We see that the best campaigns are the ones that return something valuable to the audience. They are far more effective than the traditional "do you have 5 minutes to answer this 25 question surveys?" e-mail survey.

Some examples:

1. Conducting a mobile quiz about a topic related to your business at a trade show for prospects. Quizzes are a good way to engage people because there is something in it for them: they learn something. In addition, you collect valuable leads.

2. Using an assessment survey as a part of your content marketing, e.g. "Take this assessment to check your maturity level in ... " (domain related to your business).

Some marketers use surveys to get data for their businesses; but once they've gotten the results, they don't know what to do with them. What advice can you give someone in terms of setting up a post-results strategy?

In general, the following should be done:

1. Positive feedback needs to be used for marketing purposes to attract new customers.

2. Negative feedback should be communicated to the Customer Service or Product department so they can contact the customer. In parallel, a long term solution for the problem needs to be agreed upon.

We see that corrective action is mostly taken in the case of complaints (negative feedback). But when the feedback is positive, often companies do not leverage this. One simple way of doing this is to ask the customer to re-use positive quotes that he or she has left in the survey for the company's website, social media, or other communications.

How will having a post-results strategy in advance affect the questions that will be asked during the survey process?

If you demonstrate that you have a clear process for handling the results for the respondent, he or she will be more engaged and give better feedback.

How does real-time feedback enhance survey marketing practices?

Thanks to mobile technology, we can now capture feedback during or immediately after the customer's experience. This produces higher responses and fresh-in-memory feedback. Moreover, it allows people to capture previously inaccessible insights, e.g. by using the sensors of the mobile device (Camera, GPS). We expect this to evolve further as the technological capabilities of the devices expand at a high rate.


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