For many organisations the term "customer survey" is associated with quality assurance and customer satisfaction processes: important but something of a chore. Our experience is that your customers are a key source of information about your business and can help you to determine where the best opportunities for growth lie.
The most fundamental question that a survey can answer is ‘What do your customers think about you?', but a survey can tell you a lot more. Do you know what share of your customer's spend you are getting and what opportunities there are to increase it? If you set up your survey correctly it can give customers an opportunity to tell you what else they would like to buy from you or what changes they would like to see in the services you offer - new sales opportunities right on your door-step.
Surveys can also help you in a number of other ways such as understanding the effectiveness of different marketing messages and campaigns.
Telephone or postal surveys were the standard approach until quite recently but postal surveys are rarely used these days. Telephone surveys mean that you can target specific individuals but in a world of voice-mail they rely on your ability to get through to customers.
Nowadays on-line surveys have become an increasingly popular because they allow respondents to submit their responses at a time convenient to them with minimal effort required. Online surveys give you the flexibility to target specific groups of customers, choose different question sets and chose the frequency you ask the questions.
If you have the skills in-house to develop your survey questionnaire and to analyse the results then there may be no reason to call in external help. However, there are good reasons to consider bringing in external expertise:
If you are looking for opportunities to build business from new and existing customers then do consider using a specialist provider to implement a customer survey as the best method of ensuring actionable recommendations and new business opportunity.
John Savage is a Director of 4sight Business Development, a strategic marketing consultancy which specialises in customer surveys for B2B organisations. www.4sightsurveys.co.uk .
John can be contacted on 01384 444899 or by email at email@example.com