The two most common reasons companies send out surveys are to measure customer satisfaction and to uncover market research insights. But if you asked questions in a methodical way, they could serve a third purpose – to help customers understand your organization better.

It’s an ideal time to send out a customer survey. With the COVID-19 pandemic far from over, quarantined professionals are consuming more information than ever before, and are responsive to engaging in a meaningful dialogue as they work from home. At the same time, companies need to take stock of their customer base so they can attempt to navigate an uncertain future.

In this final post in our series sharing top insights from 10 years in business, I encourage business owners to revamp the traditional customer survey so it can be used as a powerful tool for customer – and company – growth.

An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure

A customer survey can be the least expensive way to help customers understand your organization better, your company understand your clients better, and for you to position your value proposition to keep customers engaged. You can use survey responses to tackle isolated customer issues, identify companywide opportunities for improvement, and to pinpoint customers who aren’t buying everything they could from you.

First, think through the types of questions you are asking. Sure, you may be looking for insight into customer expectations and quality feedback, but what about their perceptions of your product offering overall? Or the way their company is changing as it pertains to the solutions you provide?

Even the most loyal, long-term customers can exist in a silo, completely unaware of other offerings in your portfolio that are a good fit. It’s not just about the products they are buying from you, but the products they aren’t buying from you. On the flip side, the more you know firsthand how industry segments are evolving, the easier it will be to leverage your expertise in ways that meet those needs.

Second, don’t ask customers to tell you the answer. The way questions are worded and answers are formatted can allow you to take a stab at proving or disproving trends you see within your customer base or in the broader marketplace.

This can be accomplished through avoiding yes/no answers and providing clear and concise multiple choice options. There are also tactics to consider that remove the potential for a natural bias and screen for audience segmentation purposes.

Survey software companies have put together many helpful online resources to educate businesses in the science of surveys. Here are a few best practice guides the Gravity Marketing team recommends:

You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

Surveys are easy to design these days, and with unlimited free templates, they can be created and deployed within a few hours. What businesses often miss is that taking the time to design a survey based on specific objectives can simultaneously provide you with answers and prompt the survey taker to think more broadly about your company.

Customer retention is a critical concern for every business as we endure this pandemic together. If you don’t know what your customers are going through, but are willing to ask in a meaningful way, I’m betting they will be eager to share.

Gravity Marketing is celebrating 10 years in the business. That’s 10 years of growing client businesses alongside our own. It’s also 10 years of trial and error, risk and reward, lessons learned, and problems solved. In this series, Gravity Marketing’s president and founder, Mike Kuharske, shares the top insights he’s gained over 10 years as an entrepreneurial marketer.