Business owners create their own surveys or questionnaires to discover opportunities in the marketplace and to assess customer needs. The first step in creating your own survey is deciding whom you will target. You can target both current customers and non-customer consumers who may have an interest in your products. Include non-customer consumers if you are marketing a new product and want an outsider's opinion. You also need to determine how many surveys to conduct. The more surveys you do, the more accurately you can project the opinions of all customers or consumers.
Write the objectives for your survey, according to the Small Business Administration website. For example, write that you are "evaluating customer satisfaction among customers" if this is your goal. Use your market research survey to better understand what product features your customers want.
Decide what type of survey you want to conduct, such as a phone, mail or Internet survey. Word your survey according to the method you use. For example, use "select one of the following responses" as an instruction if you are using a mail or Internet survey.
Create a qualifying question at the beginning of your survey or questionnaire. Use the qualifying question to ensure that your are speaking to the decision maker of the household. For example, if you are calling customers about consumer products purchases, write a qualifying question such as: "Are you the one who does the grocery shopping?"
Start drafting the questions for your survey. Arrange your questions in a logical order. Ask people where they typically shop for groceries, for example, before inquiring what they buy. Write down a question that asks consumers whether they purchase your company's products or services. "Use a "yes/no" response for this particular question, which will help you distinguish between customers and non-customers.
Divide the body of your questionnaire into different sections. Ask customers to evaluate product features, for example, in one section and customer service in the next section. Use closed-ended or multiple choice responses throughout 80 percent to 90 percent of your questionnaire. Write responses such as "very satisfied," "somewhat satisfied," "neither," "somewhat unsatisfied" and "very unsatisfied" if you ask customers how satisfied they are with your products. Use open-ended or "fill-in-the-blank" questions to further probe customers about their opinions. Ask "why do you feel that way?" if a customer is unhappy with your products or services.
End your survey with demographic questions, such as the age, income and household size of respondents.
Keep your survey or questionnaire limited to about five minutes. Time your survey by calling several customers in a test run. Also, you can use demographic information to help you develop customer profiles. Customer profiles are people who are most likely to use your products or services. For example, your best customers may be 25- to 34-year-old men with incomes under $50,000. These people may also rate you the highest on quality and service, too. Speaking of ratings, include a few in your questionnaire. For example, ask customers to rate your customer service department on a scale of one to five.
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