Are On-Line Surveys Effective?

23 May

Ways to improve survey results

Take this survey and find out

Are you getting on-line survey fatigue? More and more companies are wanting your opinion and it is not because you have become more interesting. On-line surveys are cheap to administer and the more they know about you, the more effectively they can sell to you and others like you.

When I returned from my California/Mexico vacation, I was greeted by an inbox full of on-line surveys from the cruise company, airline, car rental service and the hotel, even before I finished unpacking.

The right and wrong way of doing on-line surveys.

Only Carnival Cruise Lines rewarded me for completing their survey. They promised my name would be entered for a chance to win a 7 day cruise to Alaska (which is probably in December).

Though the chances of Carnival hitting a reef off of Italy are higher than me winning that cruise trip, I appreciated that they recognized my opinion was important enough to offer me remuneration for my time. I will gladly fill out another survey from them, if asked.

They did it right!

The hotel survey, that I did not complete, had over 30 questions on it, some of which were so detailed I couldn’t imagine anyone answering it correctly. What was the name of the person who checked me in and did they greet me with a smile? Really?

They did it wrong.

So, are on-line surveys more accurate than phone surveys, if done right?

Well, yes and no.

The way a survey is conducted is not as important as how the questions are asked and how it is polled.  The way a question is asked can alter an answer and if polling doesn’t properly represent the population group your probability of error is greater.

Do it yourself…

If you want to know how your company is doing, a do-it yourself survey may be sufficient. If you are a small company and have not done a customer survey yet, do one.  Companies like Survey Monkey or Constant Contact offer on-line survey software which is terrific for small businesses.

…or leave it to the pros.

If, however, you want opinions on benefits to a new product feature or want to know the community sentiment on a political issue, leave it to the professionals. The wrong data is like a bad map. It will lead you to nowhere.

Consider having a research company do a phone survey while you use their same questions for an on-line survey. Both techniques are complementary to each other, and their weaknesses and strengths are often mutually exclusive, which is why, conducting both simultaneously, yields the most precise and reliable results.

The following are a few simple rules that will help your on-line survey be successful:

1. Tell the respondent how long the survey will take or how many questions you are going to ask them.

2. Reward the respondent with a product or service discount, free drawing etc. and tell them before hand what is in it for them!

2. Keep the survey short.

3. Only ask relevant questions

4. Timing is everything. Send out the survey immediately after a purchase has been made.

5. If doing a survey from someone other than a recent customer, ask permission before sending out the survey.

6. People like to know their opinion makes a difference. If the survey involves current customers, let them know what you are trying to accomplish or better yet, send them a thank you note if a policy or service change has been made based on their feedback.

Was this post helpful?   Take this one question survey, by making a comment, below.  It will only take a moment and by doing so, will automatically  enter you into a drawing for that 7 day Alaska cruise (that I’m hoping to win)!  


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6 Responses to “Are On-Line Surveys Effective?”

  1. Ron Martin May 24, 2013 at 9:07 am #

    When it doubt about ANYTHING that’s not your strong suit; leave it to a pro. In addition to having it done better, you can devote your time to what you do best.

  2. Wendi Ichinose May 27, 2013 at 11:23 am #

    Great tips and suggestions. There are many times that we may actually want to complete a survey because we were wowed by the company or have strong suggestions to make but its all about recency and convenience.

    Making it easy to respond to and as close to the transaction if not part of the transaction seems to garner the most response.

    So whether you leave it to a pro or DIY keep it short and relevent, and make it easy for customers to participate. My 2cts

    • Alan Pollock May 29, 2013 at 2:54 pm #

      Thanks for your tips, too, Wendi. That gotta be worth more than 2cts 🙂

  3. Jerry Mueller May 31, 2013 at 3:09 pm #

    Hey Alan,

    Great to see the blog back in action. I liked it. Hope to see more and hope I win.


    • Alan Pollock June 7, 2013 at 1:26 pm #

      Thanks Jerry. Its comments like these that motivate me to keep it going.

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