Find Out What Customers and Prospects Really Want!
Developing Your Survey: What to Ask and How to Ask It
In general, if you ask people for their opinions, you'll get them. However, asking: "What brand of coffee maker do you use? Please tell us how many cups it makes, where you bought it, etc." just won't grab them.
Try instead: "How do you like your coffee, with milk and sugar, straight up, etc." You can lead into the coffee maker question later if that's what you care about.
It helps if you offer some kind of incentive for responding. The incentive should be inexpensive with a high-perceived value, unique and valuable all by itself. Anything on paper (such as the Ford book) is great. A follow-up incentive such as the $200 certificate doesn't really cost anything because people have to buy something to use it.
Note: The math is interesting in this kind of offer. One Ford executive said the $200 was a waste if she was going to buy a Ford without the incentive.
That's not true for a number of reasons: The $200 might lead to a more expensive option package; it makes the customer feel good about Ford; it moves the purchase date up … in this case we learned how to move the date up nine months; and, of course, many of these women wouldn't have bought a Ford without the certificate.
Does it matter how you design the survey? Certainly. Questions must be relevant and easy to answer. (As soon as I have to look up something or wonder what the question means, they lose me.) The questions have to be clear and not open to several interpretations. Most importantly, the questions have to be about the customer (or prospect) and not just about products or the company.
How long should a survey be? No longer than necessary. That doesn't mean it has to be short. It just has to be constantly relevant to the person completing it.