How Online Surveys Can Empower Small Businesses
Whether you’re selling millions of dollars of computer software, running a repair shop or selling cupcakes on Main Street, you always have to be aware of your customer’s needs, feelings, likes and dislikes. This principle holds true for small and medium sized businesses as much as it does for large corporations. Staying on top of, and quickly reacting to, your customers’ pulse is one of the biggest keys for long term success.
The first step is to constantly engage your customers. Talk to them in person, on the phone or online, and ask them what they like and don’t like about your offering. Ask them if they’d like to see any changes, or if they have any ideas that could improve their experience. Observe how they interact with your products and services, and take note of any complaints they have. Also, stay on top of what the competition is doing, and what your customers may be saying about them. Such an approach of continual vigilance is a great way to gather valuable feedback, but it can’t always stand alone.
For one, it can be hard to get a large amount of people to weigh in. It takes time to talk to customers one on one, and with all the other things a small business owner has to deal with every day (often being the CEO, CFO, Customer Service Rep, Head of Marketing, etc), it’s not always realistic to devote too much time to calling and surveying customers. Secondly, it’s very difficult to keep track of and quantify the results. While you get a sense of the overarching feeling, it’s hard to determine what the consensus among customers really is.
A more quantitative method should be used in conjunction with ongoing customer engagement, and the perfect solution is a survey. Surveys allow businesses to ask specific questions to large samples of customers and then analyze the results to uncover profitable patterns and trends.
Unfortunately, many small business owners often avoid carrying out surveys because they perceive that they’ll be time consuming and costly to create, distribute and analyze. Luckily, these perceptions are incorrect if online survey software is used. Online surveys can drastically decrease the costs and time required to conduct a survey while greatly increasing the number and quality of responses.
An online survey can be created and distributed in the matter of minutes. All it takes is a few clicks, and it can be sent out via email or social media, be it through Twitter, Facebook, etc. Results then begin coming in instantaneously, and there’s no paper or collection to worry about.
The subsequent analysis can also be done easily by any individual, whether they have market research experience or not. There’s no need for expensive consultants. The results are tabulated online, and you can generate charts, graphs and reports. You can view responses by respondent, by question, by age, by location, etc, and you can quickly calculate numerous statistics. You can see how people who answered one question in a certain way responded to another question, or you can compare the responses of several question. A huge amount of analytical possibilities exist, and all of it can be done quickly online.
With online surveys, there’s also no need to install any software. All of your data is hosted online and can be accessed from anywhere in the world. No matter where you are, you’ll be able to create/modify surveys or analyze your results.
With such a tool, small businesses can keep up with their customer’s desires and stay on the cutting edge. By effectively utilizing customer engagement and customer surveys, they’ll set out on the road towards long term success.
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