As a customer survey firm in Upstate NY, we've worked with a lot of clients to design, manage, and execute market research projects. Customer surveys and Voice of Customer (VoC) studies are some of the most commonly requested market research projects from prospects. True in Upstate New York and across the country.
Organizations want to execute a customer survey for a number of reasons.
Their goals and objectives usually mimic one or more of the following:
(1) We want to learn more about our customer profiles
(2) We want to learn why they choose our organization
(3) We want to learn what differentiates us from our competition
(4) We want to know what needs to be improved about our product or service
(5) We want to understand where there is room for growth
(6) We want to understand how to improve our marketing ROI
This list can go on and on, but the point is, customer surveys are extremely actionable. They provide our clients with feedback and data for fact-based and evidence-based strategy. All decisions on operations, marketing, and strategy are aligned with what customers want.
How well do you really know your customers? A customer survey can uncover a mountain of data and information which can be leveraged for operations, marketing, and business strategy.
Online surveys were recently reported as the most effective tool used by companies according to the Q Report. It's no surprise. We've long been a fan because they are cost-effective, offer a quick turnaround, and can be structured in a way to make the data extremely reliable and credible.
Another underutilized benefit of online surveys is the ability to tie your CRM customer database information to the new survey feedback. If you have a CRM tool like a Salesforce or Oracle, you're likely sitting on a mountain of data on your customers. Much of which you may have never analyzed to understand the analytics and potential insights of it all.
One of the most common mistakes amateur survey writers make is asking questions that their company already has data for. They'll utilize a survey question to ask things like company name, title, business revenue, and how long the respondent has been a customer? Chances are this data already exists in your CRM, you just have to pull it out and tie it to your new survey data. These questions add unnecessary time to an already long survey.
What is Seeding?
This process is called seeding. Seeding is integrating in-house data from your Salesforce, Oracle, or other CRM tool into your custom survey data. It saves you from having to re-ask questions your already have the answers to and gives you more flexibility to focus your survey script on questions you don't have the answer to.
Keep this process in mind when you embark on your next customer survey with or without a market research firm. It's easier than you think and most analytics tools and survey software allow you to tie CRM data to the fresh survey data collected. This is done through a Customer Record or Unique Identifier. Think a fingerprint of code (TM-140256, or DP-935466).
So although you don't ask about company revenue, if you have that in your CRM database you can see how your NPS rating compares between those who spend more than $100,000 with your organization versus those who spend less than $100,000. All without having to ask the revenue question in the survey.
Here are 6 examples of CRM data you can integrate into your next customer survey.
Include a unique identifier so all customer survey feedback can be tied to CRM data.
Data Point 1: Sales Revenue
This is a basic and commonly seeded variable. Companies always want to understand how feedback and satisfaction compares between low volume and high volume spending customers. Integrating this or several levels of sales revenue data gives the customer survey firm the opportunity to compare these findings.
Data Point 2: Geography
Rather than asking for a State, County, or ZIP Code, you likely have this already as part of their contact or billing information in your CRM tool. Some clients even have their customers segmented into sales regions across the United States or the world (Northeast, Midwest, etc.). This makes it easier on the customer survey company to run these geographical breaks and it saves you a question or 4 in your market research script.
Data Point 3: Role or Title
This is a tough question to ask in a survey because it can vary so much. What is one title at one organization is a different title at another. Providing an aided list is nearly impossible here so when we ask these in our customer survey they often have to be open-ended comment boxes. This adds additional time to the survey. If you have these in your database, pull them into the survey using your unique identifier. It will save the customer survey firm time and the respondent some time.
Data Point 4: Department
Similar to title and role, department is another difficult question to ask in a survey because it varies so greatly. Hopefully you already have this broken down in your database. Some common breaks here may include comparing marketing to operations or sales to management. If you have it, seed it into the survey for future use.
Data Point 5: Customer Classification
This is dependent on your line of business. We've worked with several clients who classify their customers. Some classify based on spend (Class A, Class B, Class C, etc.) Some classify based on potential (Strategic versus Base customers). Some manufacturers even have further classifications like Distributor, End-User, or OEM. Regardless pull this data for your customer survey firm so they can utilize it in analysis.
Data Point 6: Contact Information
Yes, even contact information. This is essential. It gives you the opportunity to go back and conduct further research on the survey responses. Market research often leads to more questions than answers and it's a bit like peeling back the onion to arrive at root causes and motivations. Having contact information gives the customer survey firm an opportunity to conduct follow-up focus groups or follow-up in-depth interviews (IDIs) in-person or by telephone if warranted.
Contact Our Customer Survey Firm
Drive Research is a Voice of Customer (VoC) company located in Upstate NY. Our customer survey project experience covers several industries and spans across all geographies of the United States.
Interested in learning more about a customer survey? We're ready. Use our contact form here.
You can also reach our team at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 315-303-2040.