Perfect Survey Series: Planning & Executing

November 3, 2008
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To round out last week’s Perfect Survey Series we’re offering a structured approach to help you get started, make sure you have covered all the bases and are on your way to create an enriching dialogue with your recipients.

The Time Has Come
You know you have to, your management team is nudging you, your product and service folks are begging you – even your customers and prospects are hinting that you should ask for their opinions… here’s your saf


To round out last week’s Perfect Survey Series we’re offering a structured approach to help you get started, make sure you have covered all the bases and are on your way to create an enriching dialogue with your recipients.

The Time Has Come
You know you have to, your management team is nudging you, your product and service folks are begging you – even your customers and prospects are hinting that you should ask for their opinions… here’s your safety net:

Step I) Define Objectives – You’ll probably have three to five objectives for conducting your survey… some of the more popular include 1) learning about recipient behavior and their opinions of your program/ offers; 2) gaining perspective on customer satisfaction or site usability; 3) finding ways to break through the clutter and grab the recipient’s attention; 4) gathering opinions for future investments or campaigns; 5) showing your boss what a good job you are doing. Regardless of the reason, state your objectives and engage the groups involved by having them validate the objectives.

Step II) Define Recipients – You could ask everybody but its better to focus your questions to certain segments – the more targeted you are, the better your responses. Some of the best populations to target are those who had to wait at your store/ branch or on the phone, another group could be those that timed out while doing something online. Post-order surveys are excellent places to start as are non-responder surveys.

Step III) Define the Channel(s) – How are you deploying the survey? Will it be the same across all channels? Multi-channel deployment is great for longer surveys (when broken up into smaller sections), the multi-channel strategy reinforces the importance, helps determine respondent patterns and is an attention getter.

Step IV) Determine Incentive – Are you planning to offer something to inspire response – a coupon, free shipping or simply access to the results of the survey. Never forget the value of better service or sincere thanks.

Step V) Define the Timeframe – Determine your survey end date and periodically remind people to take the survey before the expiration.

Step VI) Define Questions – Any writer knows that you start with your base, then edit and polish to strengthen. Beginning with twelve ideas is a great start, just prune response options and tighten your questions to facilitate honest responses.

Step VII): Define Success Criteria – Document the number of respondents you need to feel comfortable with your results and set aside a team of folks to review the results.

Flash forward to your deployment phase, responses are being submitted – now what? The best strategy is to have a couple versions of thank you emails ready to fire off based on the type of responses received.
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