I have mentioned in some of my other posts, a good looking site is not necessarily enough. Every important page should lead your website visitors towards a clearly defined Call To Action.
In addition to offering site visitors a chance to subscribe to an email newsletter, share your site, leave a message on a forum, or contact a customer representative, online surveys represent a great way of keeping customers engaged and so ensuring you leverage their site visit to your advantage.
Online surveys offer you a chance to get detailed feedback from your customers about everything from their thoughts on your products and services, to, their thoughts about current trends in your sector, helping you understand their purchase decision making process.
Web statistic company, Nielsen Net Ratings, suggest that online surveys are a far more effective way of getting an objective view from customers, compared to web site feed back forms which tend to attract people who only want to complain.
However, while online surveys such as SurveyMonkey and SurveyGizmo, can be easily integrated into most websites, with little or no knowledge of HTML, creating a successful online survey does require a little more foresight.
First things first, people will not start, let alone finish an online survey unless it’s been designed and clearly defined around a compelling subject.
Be really clear, therefore, what kind of information you want to gather. The best way to access the validity of any survey you want to create is to ask how you will use the data you collect? What decision will the survey help you make? Will you use it to improve or redesign a product or service? Will you use it to measure the success of your customer service department, or even your website?
If you can’t answer questions like these easily then you will need to return to the planning stage again. Once you do have a clear idea of the outcome you want to achieve however, you can begin scripting your online survey.
The questions you ask should follow some kind of sequence that takes the participant deeper into the subject, in a compelling way. For example if you want them to rate your customer service staff, you may want to start off with a question which asks them to rate how courteous they were, followed with a more specific question focused on their ability to answer and or solve your query.
However, please make sure you do not ask too many questions. The shorter the survey the better. As a rule of thumb up to 15 questions or 3-4 minutes is more than tolerable, but any longer and you risk the participant ditching the survey before they have completed it.
When you formulate your questions, avoid too, jargon and acronyms. Keep questions simple and ‘closed ended’, i.e. the response can only be answered by Yes or No. Using rating scales, sometimes called a Likert scale – such as very satisfied, satisfied, fairly satisfied, not satisfied – can help here, but make sure they too, offer no more than 4-6 choices. Equally don’t change the rating scale halfway through, which can confuse the survey participant.
How you encourage people to take your online surveys are important to think about also. You may want to offer them an incentive such as a discount on their next purchase, or use the survey as a requisite for downloading a white paper, e-book or other key content.
A useful way to gain more value from your online survey is to invite only a select group of your customers to participate. If you ask 50 of your most trusted customers (identified by either purchase frequency or total spend), then potentially they are going to offer you more honest data, than having 500 responses from people who’ve never brought anything from you.
Most survey providers like SurveyMonkey offer a free version, which allows up to 10 questions and 100 responses per survey, allowing you to at the very least, road test your survey before committing to any form of investment. Even then, online surveys typically cost 10 per cent of conducting the same survey by phone, making them by far the easiest way of soliciting detailed customer feedback in an efficient way.
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