What’s the purpose of your business?

What do your customers really want?

Are your employees satisfied?

The sole reason your business exists is to fulfill needs.

Your product or service fulfills your customers’ needs. Their purchases fulfill your business’ needs (and in turn, yours). Your business fulfills your employees’ needs, and so on.

Fortunately, systems can be put in place to support this end result. One important system is to gather data to better understand how to serve your prospects, customers and employees - rather than just assume you’re already doing it. This is good marketing: understanding how your customers think and make decisions.

A common, and often overlooked, way to gather this data is by conducting surveys.

One client told me his demographic was males between 35 and 45 years old. After just sitting in his retail store for 3 hours, I didn’t see one person that matched his demographics. I saw women between the ages of 30 to 50 years old. When I asked him about this he was shocked! We then pulled his client sales records and he had 1 male client in the last 300 sales. Once we confirm this, he changed the focus of his business and his revenue went through the roof.

Today there are so many options for a business of any size to conduct numerous surveys. If you are going to do a survey, remember every survey has a different purpose and goal. You need to know what you want to know from conducting a survey.

Here are just a few common surveys:

1. Net Promoter Score (Customer Satisfaction)

While there is a large range of customer satisfaction surveys to choose from, one of the best researched and proven formats is Net Promoter Score (NPS), a methodology created by Bain Consultant Fred Reichheld. In his book, “The Ultimate Question”, he details how one simple question -- How likely is it that you would recommend [company] to a friend or colleague? -- has been shown to be the single best measure of whether or not a customer will become a repeat customer and refer business in the future. This survey has become a norm in almost industry today.

2. Gallup Q12 (Employee Satisfaction)

There are as many formats for employee satisfaction surveys as there are for customer satisfaction survey. The Gallup Q12 (brief 12-question survey) is easy to deliver and comes based on massive amounts of research into what factors lead to engaged employees. Gallup went through thousands of employee surveys to find the twelve that most strongly correlated with employee engagement, which in turn leads to increased employee retention, profitability and revenue growth. 

3. One Question Survey (Headline Testing)

A little bit of effort researching headlines can pay big dividends in creating messaging that persuades your prospects to take action. My favorite format comes from Joe McVoy of Profitable Marketing Enterprises, who advocates a very simple format. Brainstorm your ten favorite headlines with your team; strive to make them as different as possible since meek headlines rarely win. Next, send an email to at least one hundred of your target prospects titled “One-question survey” (or buy advertising on a website your prospects use) and offer a chance to win a small incentive such as a $50 gift card for completing your survey. Once they click on your survey, ask them to rank the ten headlines from most to least compelling. Make sure to have your survey tool randomize the order of the headlines so that the results are not biased.  

4. Educational Customer Research

One of the best ways to engage your market can be to create original research they can use to improve their businesses. This original research provides valuable content to staffing companies that want to learn more about current best practices in their industry to improve their service and financial performance. Naturally, companies that engage with the original research you create are often interested in learning more about how you can help them with paid services.  

5. Online Quizzes

Last but not least, online quizzes can be a good way to engage your prospects. These are typically more casual in nature, but they can spark a positive conversation and engagement. Quizzes can be featured in one newsletter and then the results can be shared in a blog post, social media and the next newsletter to keep visitors coming back.

If you are going to you a survey, know what information you are looking to get. Don’t just put out surveys because they are fun to do. Have a purpose of the survey. Develop a plan of action on what to do with that information to enhance your business.

About the Author(s)

 Steve   Feld

Steve Feld is a Certified SCORE Mentor and a business coach.

Business Coach, Feld Business Growth
5 Popular Business Surveys to Find What You Need to Know