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Surveys: How to Grow Your Company Via Customer Data

Remember when you were in grade school or high school?

You attended school and participated in certain activities for a designated period of time. After periodic intervals, you received a report card from your teacher.

For some kids, the report card served as a means to generate financial and emotional rewards from their family, and for some kids, the report card served as proof that it was time to be placed on social or personal restriction.

No matter what the outcome was, you and your schoolmates received report cards throughout the year as a means of letting your parents know how well you were learning your studies, how well you followed assignment instructions, and how well you were progressing as a student.

After you graduated school, you either went to college or a tech school where you received a final grade. And when you started working for your current company, you probably were (and still are) subject to at least an annual review of your employment status.

I think you can see the trend here: there’s always a need to keep score, and for retailers who are concerned about their revenues, their progress and their brand perception, customer-generated surveys provide benchmark and milestone data that a retailer needs to continue on the right course, or correct their course if need be.

While there’s all sorts of ways for retailers to measure their success (or failures), there’s nothing quite like the power of the survey.

Why Customer Surveying Should Be Part of Your Company’s Performance Program

There’s an old an axiom that states that it’s hard for a person to honestly judge themselves when they’re too emotionally close to a scenario. This is true for any human-managed retail brand.

It’s hard for management to judge their efforts accurately when they’ve invested so much hard work, and this is why management and their teams need the objective input and data that customer-generated surveys can provide.

But if you need solid evidence as to why creating periodic surveys for your customers will inspire a boost of revenue generation while solidifying your brand, check out the 18 point checklist the folks at Small Business Trends created.

Here’s an overview of reasons that you should consider:

1. Customers Want To Share Their Input With You! 

It’s ridiculously easy to start believing that all of the functions you perform for your company are the sole reason for your employment, but the reality is, your company exists to serve its customers! That means that it only makes sense to solicit their opinions from time to time.

Don’t you want to know if they’re happy doing business with you?

This also means that your customers probably have a host of opinions and suggestions that they’re dying to share with you…if only someone from your organization would simply ask!

2. Know Better – Then Do Better! 

There will inevitably be times when customer feedback isn’t going to be positive. Some of the feedback will even feel painful or embarrassing at times. But the only way to heal these festering wounds within your organization is to ask your end users (your customers) what they’re unhappy with.

Hiding from the answers only stifles your company’s growth, and hiding can kill your brand’s credibility, and its revenues.

3. Targeted Customer Satisfaction at Your Fingertips

Can you imagine not having to waste human and financial resources trying to figure out how to continue to please your customer base? It’s possible by conducting surveys!

Again, your customers are dying to let you know how they feel, good or bad. Pay attention to what they’re saying, and you’ll never have to play guessing games again!

How To Start Implementing Your Brand New Growth Tool

Now that you have a working idea as to why customer surveying should be part of your regular operational strategy, here’s a few tips on how to create the type of surveys that will spur your company’s growth:

1. Consider Your End-Game

What goals are your company trying to accomplish? Has your company set annual, monthly, or quarterly benchmarks to reach? Think about the milestones you’d like to surpass, and at what type of frequency.

Then with all of these in mind, start working with your marketing team to conceptualize targeted survey questions.

2. Don’t Over-Burden Your Survey Participants

Although it’s true that you can extract lots of information from your customers, remember that they are simply end-users and brand loyalists.

Your customers are retail marketing civilians – it’s not their job to get in the trenches with your team, so don’t expect them to care about the minutia and the nuances of your data collection requirements.

To be plain, don’t present them with so many questions that their eyes start to cross, and they start to resent the survey taking process. Present your questions as succinctly as possible.

3. Reward Survey Participants for Their Time

Don’t be stingy in this area. Again, it’s not your customer’s job to provide your marketing and research teams with data. They’re assisting you on a voluntary basis, so it’s reasonable that they should be rewarded for their time. offers suggestions regarding the benefits of the customer survey reward:

Studies show that emails requesting the completion of online surveys that are accompanied by incentives typically enjoy much higher response rates and yield more useful information. Some examples of incentives that work well are gift cards, movie tickets and special promotional offers, e.g. ‘Fill out this short survey and receive 10% off your next order.’

If you are offering a product sample or coupon, you can direct your customers to a survey that they’ll need to fill out in order to receive your offer.

The answers you could be looking for to increase your revenue generation and strengthen brand loyalty might be waiting for you…within a customer-generated survey!

What about you? Have you tried surveys before – share your experiences with us in the comments!

Terri is a content marketing storyteller and strategist. She teaches marketing and entrepreneurship through stories for marketers of all stripes. Her specialty is creating narrative and she writes essays and memoir in her spare time.

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