On today’s hyper-competitive business landscape, gleaning the voice of your customers isn’t just a best practice: it’s an essential priority. However, trying to glean actionable intelligence through intermittent, ad hoc social media feedback, happy customer testimonials or unhappy ex-customer complaints isn’t robust market research. Yes, you may get some useful insights, but it’s certainly not a systematic or strategic approach that helps you understand where your business is today — and even more importantly, what you need to do (or not do) to get where you need to be down the road.
Fortunately, there’s an effective online solution that your business can use to reach former, current and future customers, regardless of where they are: online surveys. Below are four key reasons why your business should be using this increasingly popular market research method:
- Low Cost
Market research methods such as in-depth interviews and focus groups can be extremely insightful, but based on the scope and timing, they can be quite costly as well. Online surveys are relatively much more affordable, and scaling costs are non-existent (i.e. it costs as much to send out 100 online surveys as it does 1000).
- Widespread Accessibility
Whereas a couple of decades ago online surveys would typically engage a smaller segment of the population (i.e. technophiles and early adopters), today virtually everyone has access to the internet and email through a variety of devices at home, work, public spaces, and more.
Online surveys can be conveniently completed when the participant wants vs. when they’re scheduled to provide feedback (such as is the case with a focus group, etc.). This convenience factor helps boost engagement and completion rates.
Key online surveys functions such as input, handling, analysis and reporting can be automated, which speeds up the process, lowers costs, and reduces (or eliminates) human error.
A Word of Caution
While there are plenty of impressive advantages when it comes to online surveys, it’s also important to keep in mind that they must be supported by a professional market research process, which includes: identifying the right research problem to solve, and establishing whether there is enough in-house expertise and resources to handle some or all of the project.
For support in either (but probably both) of these areas, work with an experienced market research agency that specializes in online surveys, and that will also bring in other methods and tactics to help you generate practical and profitable business intelligence.