Last year I may have told more clients not to do a survey than I helped them to do one. I know it sounds crazy coming from someone who’s company makes roughly half of their revenue from market research, but it’s true. As someone who leads a firm of professionals that write, field, and analyze survey data I’m here to tell you don’t waste your time or money. At least until you’ve answered a few questions.
- Do you have the money to afford hiring a professional company to write, conduct and analyze the survey results? In many cases outside firms charge a significant amount of money. On the opposite side, if you try a free service with premade templates a few things could happen. First, your customers may be irritated because they realize you’re treating them like second class citizens by monkeying around with a free survey. Second, you could make unsound business decisions based off of bad or incomplete data.
- Do you have the time and resources to act on the survey results? This means once the results are analyzed and strategies are clear, do you have the resources (money, manpower, time) to act on these strategies? If not, don’t even think about fielding a survey. Can you imagine being a customer of a company that thinks enough to survey you, but then doesn’t think enough of you to do anything about your answers? That’s exactly how your customers will feel and guess what, they’ll leave in droves.
- Is the question or questions you’re trying to answer “it would be nice to know” instead of “it’s vital we understand…” Then don’t waste your time. These days, because the thought every company has of feeling pressured to survey their customers consumers are experiencing survey fatigue. Speaking of survey fatigue, if you’ve recently launched a survey, find a different approach to getting your answers. In-depth interviews or focus groups may be your best friend in this case.
I love surveys when they’re done right, at the right time and for the right reasons. Surveys are incredibly rewarding when deep insights are found within the results and those insights can be acted upon. I’m just asking please consider these questions before you decide to go ahead and send a survey to the customers you value so much.
There’s probably 10 more reasons not to launch a survey and if you need help answering these questions or want to be told not to do a survey (or maybe it’s a good idea!) shoot me an email or pick up the phone. I’d love to help your organization out.
Ryan Royal runs the day to day operations at Big Buck Research & Analytics, a full service market research and database analytics firm that levels the playing field for small and mid sized businesses. He enjoys living life as a husband, father and business owner. You can follow Ryan on LinkedIn, and Big Buck on Twitter, and Facebook or subscribe to the monthly digest!